Today was our last day with the kids at the school. To say it was bittersweet is an understatement. I knew going in that it was going to be hard to hug and kiss some of those little ones goodbye but knowing what was coming for them would help just a little.
Pastor Joseph was at the school when we arrived. The kids are always excited to see him and he always gets them singing and dancing and learning new songs.
Over the last few days many of the kids remembered our trips to parks and they were asking; “when are we going on a trip”. Because all schools were closed on Oct. 29 students are not allowed to wear their uniforms in groups and we could not get transport unless it was a school group. Thus, no trip this year. Wei got the idea that perhaps a special lunch would help a little, so he and Nick came up with the idea of Burger King kids’ meals. That was an adventure. It’s not like there is a Burger King on every corner. They had to arrange with a Burger King in a nearby mall to make 80 kids’ meals and special orders for all the teachers and team. Wei and Nick arranged with our driver to go to the mall and wait for the burgers and then bring them back. It took 3 carts to bring out all the meals, drinks, napkins and ketchup. They came back smelling like they had been in the French fryer.
All those meals filled the back of the little van. The kids had no idea what was coming so when the van was backed up to the gate they were told to line up. WOW! Burgers and chips and their own bottle of Fanta pop. Plus, they got a little toy prize too. The smiles on their faces would not stop. I sat down with little Sheila to eat and shared some of my chips. She was only eating half of her meal so that she could take the rest home to have for a later meal. Wei, that was one GREAT idea.
Prior to the Big Hamburger Feast, the rest of the team helped the kids make Christmas cards for all their sponsors in each classroom. These kids love anything to do with art and crafts. They were so careful to write their little Christmas greeting and glue on the little strips of red paper. I told them that the sponsors would get a card with their picture inside and they were excited to know the someone in America would have their card and picture just like they had a card of a child in America and card.
After the card making and Hamburger Feast, we took the annual group school picture with teachers and team. Then came ANOTHER surprise. Each class lined up and then their names were called to receive a tote that was filled with 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear, dress (girl) or shorts (boys) and a Christmas treat bag of candy. Also, inside was a Christmas card from their sponsor. The smiles and excitement were too much fun to watch. We especially laughed when the boys pulled out the underwear and held it up. One little girl said; “Oh, these are such beautiful underwear”. Thank you to the North Albany Comm. Church VBS kids who brought their offerings to buy the underwear and socks along with 6 months supply of vitamins and much more.
At this point a big shout out to Costco Employees who donated $500 worth of books for the future library. It was our desire to get the library set-up while we were here, but because of some retro fitting to the large building we could not install shelves because the room was being used for storage till the construction was done. We brought some books for the kids to see and they were so thrilled with them. Now they have new books that they will be able to read on their own and in classroom.
Then came the good-bye hugs as they slowly left the school compound. Next year they will all be in the next grade and will have grown a bit more. I remember little Tabitha crawling up on my lap when she was in Baby Class (3 yrs. old) and now will be going into Grade 3 full of confidence but has never lost that smile and sparkling eyes. They each reach in and grab a little of our hearts each time we come. God has been so good to bless this little school with wonderful committed teachers and He has grown this school to become what it is today. We will continue to return to see their progress and know God has a special plan for each of their lives that is beyond any of our imaginations.