DR: Smile Big!
” Today our team was given the chance to visit an orphanage. I however, have never been to an orphanage before so I had no idea what to expect. While on the bus I was completely calm and didn’t really think much of it. But once we got to the orphanage, this one boy came running up to our bus and started saying hello. At that point, I was starting to get nervous because as I looked outside I saw many different kids in wheelchairs and through the window I could see children standing in their beds. I was nervous because I have never really worked with children who are disabled and I know it was going to be a different environment, but I was not ready for what I was about to experience.The first room we went into had eight beds and each one had a child that was bone thin and not smiling. It was totally unexpected and overwhelming for not only myself but for my whole group as well. No one really knew what to do, except cry and let everything out. Surprisingly, I did not cry right away because I was more in shock then anything else, but seeing those children bed-ridden for their entire life completely hit the heart.After visiting that room, everyone went and explored the orphanage and went to meet the other children. I went into one room upstairs and I was immediately drawn to this one boy. I was really scared to touch him because he was bed-ridden and looked so fragile. I gently stroked his hand and before I knew it he grabbed my hand with so much force, but with so much compassion. A smile just appeared on my face and when I looked at him he had the same expression as me. I lost all control at that point because even though there was the language barrier we were still able to understand one another. Just sitting on the floor and holding his hand through his crib, all the fear and sadness that I had felt disappeared. That connection that we created was nothing but love and laughter.Our group was also fortunate to work with an amazing woman, Allyson Grant. She is a clown doctor that works with children and we were lucky enough to bring clowning around to the orphanage. One again, I did not know what to expect and how the children would react to us wearing a red nose. But the moment we all put them on you could hear laughter pouring at almost every child that we played with. Each child extended a smile from ear to ear. Even those who could not laugh, you could see the sparkle in their eyes and that was enough to change anyone’s day.It’s hard to believe that even the smallest mask in the world can make a difference but it can and I have witnessed it. Yes, there may be a language barrier, but that should never stop us from putting a smile on a child’s face. The simplest thing in the world that any human can do is smile. Today at the orphanage smiling was my only way of communication and I was able to communicate with every child and staff member. It didn’t matter whether I spoke Spanish because every single human being can understand the language of a smile.”Kayla Lim- Student