Saturday, January 16, 2010


Yesterday, with a friend, I went to see an orphanage on the outskirts of the city. It is truly horrible, full of children with sores and without love. A pastor runs the orphanage. His church is next door. He won’t let the children attend his church because they are dirty. At least one is a former child soldier. I heard stories.

Horror, as it were – I have seen this before, and violence. This is not my first time meeting people damaged by the brutality of society. Switch on switch off – that’s what you do to go back to your day-to-day life.

But it isn’t always easy like a light switch.

This orphanage, these children, their stories, wormed under my skin and I haven’t been able to dig out and shake off my sadness.

Sometimes I clutch sadness to my heart like a stuffed animal.


So what helps? Forcing yourself to socialize. Today was Saturday so I went to teach at the school where I volunteer.

Seeing these kids – my kids – helped.

They are poor, yes, but they are clean and loved. They are untaught but brilliant and hopeful. They are our future doctors, lawyers, farmers, politicians, businessmen, aid workers, teachers. They welcome me into their community for two hours a week.

One of the boys drew this. The head teacher taped it on our classroom wall.

How can you stay depressed when you live in the same world as a child who draws that?

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