One of my projects came to an end this past weekend and my heart is kind of sad about it. Earlier this month we went to the orphanage to meet the orphans the units in Area 1 adopted. This past Sunday, we got to spend the afternoon as a big group on post with our orphans. Here is how the day went in photos:
|The whole gang from B Co that showed up to show Ae Jin some love.|
|Before we got to spend time with the orphans, they put on a little talent show for us!|
|When Ae Jin came out, we got first hugs!|
She spotted us from the stage before we saw her. I noticed her because she was wearing a red jacket (surprise, surprise... the red), and she was waving with all of her might at us. My heart jumped for joy at her excitement!
|Before they opened the buffet line, two orphans were asked to cut the cake. Ae Jin was one of them!|
|After dinner, we had to wait for everybody else to finish their food.|
|We finally got a half decent (at it's best) cup of coffee.|
|We taught Ae Jin about hand slaps...|
|...because nothing breaks down cultural differences like hitting each other.|
|She understood it was a game, and loved playing it!|
|There was a magic show... and The Elder levitated!|
|Lots of selfies were taken|
|And lots of photos from "back home" were shared.|
|We gathered around Santa for a photo op!|
|Presents were opened!|
|She got gifts she wasn't expecting, and she loved it!|
|More group photos were taken.|
|More presents were opened (and appreciated)...|
|She didn't even have the slightest hint of disappointment. She had all hugs for The Elder.|
|We snuck in a quick family photo with Santa|
|Speaking of boy bands, we decided that the guys who joined us were forming one...|
|And they snuck in a group photo with Santa as well.|
The following day, I bumped into one of the Soldiers who also attended the lunch with us. He said that some of the guys in the barracks saw the framed photo that we got to take home, and were bummed that they didn't get to go. They were asking if I could set up more time to go to the orphanage so they could give time and talent as well.
The whole situation warmed my heart and made me feel like I am already making a difference here. First, I know that the Soldiers who are here without their families are going home to a very quiet room. They are missing the giggles (or cries) of their children, they lack the routine of having to provide by day and getting to participate in family life by night. Many of them spend their spare time drinking and partying; that just has to get old at some point... right?
Some of the single Soldiers have approached me and asked if the FRG can include them, and my answer is "of course!" They have excitedly pointed out some service projects that they would love to participate in (serving food at the soup kitchen, handing out jackets to children in foster homes, gathering stuff for unwed mothers who have been ousted by their families, etc.). Their desire to serve this area beyond their call of duty in the uniform gets me all choked up and ready to hug each of them. I hear some in leadership positions complaining that these very Soldiers are lacking motivation and desire to do more than the bare minimum, I kind of wonder if living beyond the next "night out on the town" may be just what they need. I intend to find out!