We wrapped up last night with a fireworks show. It is amazing how cheap you can get fireworks here. They were actually very nice.
This morning was the last few hours for camp. After breakfast, Jamie and I broke out some face paint that we brought while we were waiting for the closing session.
I am a terrible face painter so after playing a little I handed off the brush and let the kids take over. I was surprised at how creative they were. It was a great way to get our minds off of what was ahead of us.There is an Australian family here that moved to China for 8 months after working with Bring Me Hope the last 2 years. Their children are precious and their family is an inspiration. He is a physical therapist and sold his practice in Australia so they could afford to come here for 8 months. He works in the orphanage that this group of kids came from. They also manage a group of foster homes who take care of children who are HIV positive. Did you know that the orphanages are so afraid of HIV here that they will leave the children in rooms by themselves and just pass food to them with no interaction or stimulation? The children with HIV also don't get the drugs they need to suppress the virus so many of them are left to die.
This family is educating the orphanages on the ways HIV is transmitted and they are raising funds to get the meds that the children need. They also said that most of these children contracted HIV from their birth mother and if they are treated early enough the virus can sometimes be completely suppressed or is only transferred through a transfusion. I think it is amazing what this family has done and what they are continuing to do.
So back to the morning...
After face painting, we had our last assembly. In this assembly the translator read letters that we wrote to the children and that the children wrote to us. They were so sweet and most of the children were crying very hard because they understood that it was time to go home. My younger one was fine with going home and was still enjoying every minute of camp, but Yuan Yuan started to pull away from me during this time and did not want to come up to hear her letter.
As the translator read the letter I wrote to Yuan Yuan, she looked up from her tears and stared at me as if to say, "you believe that about me".
When it was time to go, I loaded each girl up with bags of goodies. They came with the clothes on their backs and maybe one other outfit and then left with bags of clothes, toys, and other presents. Yuan Yuan organized all her things and wouldn't let anyone touch them. She wouldn't even let me be the one to put them on the van.
Some of the kids cried while others were okay with returning home. It seemed that the kids who were in foster homes were more comfortable with leaving. I think it really spoke to the importance of having a family environment.
Camp was very quiet when we stepped back in. I guess I didn't realize how loud all the little voices and feet were. It was a pretty solemn afternoon. We did some shopping, debriefed on our time, and got lost with a Chinese cab driver. That was interesting.
Tomorrow morning we will leave to return home. I look forward to seeing what comes out of this trip. I was amazed with all that came from trip to Haiti one year ago so I am trusting that this will be just as powerful. Thanks for following along.