Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All Because of a 6 Year Old

I could not wait to tell you this story.  My mind is just whirling from our day.

How do I even begin to tell how this story of how sweet the heart of a child can be?  

When we went to Bali in April of this year, we saw the poverty that existed in Indonesia.  Nothing can prepare you for the fierce reality of it until you experience it yourself.  No amount of cameras or tv shows can prepare you.  No description is graphic enough to move you the way standing right in the midst of Indonesia does.

And so that was how this story began.  I told Raelee about the children that had no toys.  And she thought long and hard about it and approached her mommy and they decided a lemonade stand might make a bit of money for toys for the children.  And she told her friends, and mommy told her friends... and so on and so on.  She had sweets donated to the cause, made signs to advertise and got prepared.  Raelee and 2 friends went about taking care of business.  They invited everyone they saw to come to their lemonade stand.  Friends came from 10 miles away to drink the lemonade.  And they earned nearly $80 US dollars!

They went to the dollar store and bought toys.  They bought lots of girl toys and mommy and Ms Jenny had to convince them to buy boy toys, too.  So they bought boy toys.  

And they had a lot of toys  :-)

Do you know how many toys $80 buys at the dollar store?  80!!  

There was also a little girl named Amanda in Washington who made some finger necklaces to share in the cause.  She had a bit of help from her sister Nicole and brother Nathan, but she was the main person making her colorful necklaces.  She shipped them halfway across America to put in the pile of goodies to be taken to Indonesia.

After the sale, the girls packaged everything up and gave it to 'granny and papa' to take back to Singapore - never imagining that Raelee would soon be here.  They were just super excited that someone was taking those children toys! 

Granny and papa brought an entire suitcase full of toys back to Singapore with the intention of handing the toys out soon.  Before that happened though, they got a call that Raelee and her mommy were coming to Singapore for a visit.  Granny had a friend named Leone that knew some people in Indonesia and soon plans were made to take the toys to an orphanage to give to the children.  Raelee and mommy came over to Singapore, and rested a bit.  Then they dug out the suitcase, loaded all of the loot in bags and took a ferry to Indonesia, a bus to Nongsupra and then a van to the Restu Ilahi orphanage.

What happened next was the most amazing 2 hours of my life.  Raelee was introduced to the children in grand fashion.  Their caretaker told the children the story about how a 6 year old, with the help of two friends, raised money to buy them gifts.  He told of how she flew to Indonesia from AMERICA to bring them the gifts.  And he let her introduce herself and finally give her gifts to the children. 

What.  A.  Feeling. 

They taught Raelee how to play a game of Mancala:

Please go back to the picture above.  Look at the man's feet.  Do you see the red curly thing there?  That is a jump rope made out of rubber bands the children use to jump 'rope' at school!  I am so glad Raelee brought them a new jump rope!

Steph played ball with them:

I honestly think the children had no idea how to play it.  When she finally took the balls out of the package, you could see a light bulb go off in their eyes.

And they taught her how to jump rope with the rubber band rope!

This young lady took her gifts and put them in the house so no one else could get them.

Raelee had made some new friends.  Even though they could not speak English, and she could not speak Indonesian, they communicated.  Smiles are the same in all languages, and children are the same in all nations. They play, they see no color and they laugh.

Soon, all too soon, it was time to say goodbye.  It was with sadness that we left, but with a feeling of doing something wonderful.  The children were smiling from ear to ear - toys in hand.

The children were very well cared for.  Their home was clean, spotless even, and they were all happy and beautiful.    However, there were no toys present, except the ones that were given to them today.  It was obvious, painfully obvious, they had probably never received a toy in their life.  They had no idea how to play with them, but Raelee took time to show them and mommy took time to help.  

Granny stood back in awe of her little grand daughter.  

And how do you replace the pride shown in this little face?

All because of a 6 year old, these children now have toys in their lives.  
And all because of a 6 year old, I will always cherish this day. 
And because of this 6 year old, my life will never be the same again.

Thank you Raelee, and thank you friends of Raelee.
And thank you Leone for finding our little friends.


surprisetriplets said...

It kind of puts the little things that happen to us everyday in perspective doesn't it? I spend hours picking up the toys that are in this house, while those children only have them because Raelee brought them. I showed Amanda, Nate, and Nicole the pictures and they were amazed that the children were wearing their finger knittings. In Indonesia. Wow! Tell Raelee we are proud of her:)

Anonymous said...

I am very proud of Raelee and her mom, you know that she did an excellent job with this young lady. Great things are in store for her. What a wonderful Thanksgiving story.
Jennifer Hart

Noelle Reese said...

That is one amazing kiddo you guys have! What a fantastic thing to do.

Tonya W said...

Such an awesome & wonderful story. We always do several boxes for Operation Christmas Shoebox and put together boxes of goodies to be shipped to poverty stricken countries. We love doing this but to be able to see their faces would be an even more 'magical' moment. Thanks for sharing.

Rycon Payne said...

Woah, seriously, that's amazing. I'm super proud of Raelee, and these pictures are awesome. Go Raelee :D

BLJ Graves Studio said...

Such an amazing little girl. I know you are proud of her. :-)

mom2triplets04 said...

What a generous thing for her to do. Thanks for sharing her story.

JYJiggy4JC said...

Oh my gracious. Words can not describe! I am so proud of Miss Raelee. That is AWESOME! Give that girl a squeeze for me.

Anonymous said...

This gave me chills in my spine and tears came to my eyes. What a wonderful experience for Princess R. I am so glad you shared this very special story the day before we all will be giving thanks for all we have in our country. It makes you think of just how lucky some of us are and that we should always take the time to share our love with others who are not as lucky. I am very proud of all of you and very proud to be able to share this story tomorrow when we are all sitting around the table eating our family Thanksgiving dinner.

Elizabeth said...

How awesome! I am so proud of the kids and so glad pR got to see the end result and resulting smiles of their hard work!

Dawn said...

What a special young woman you have in your life. Raelee and her friends are learning what the true meaning of giving from your heart is all about.
Thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

just beautiful...what an amazing experience for all of that in a single action, changed so many lives. I'm gonna be listening for the name Railee....she is gonna be a mover and a shaker!

Leone said...

I am sitting here crying .... all this brings back the memories of yesterday so vividly.

It was truly a wonderful day that I shared with Raelee, Stephenie, Euvah and everyone else involved...

on Facebook this morning - in part - I have written....

She did a wonderful thing for a little girl on her own. She was the star of the show yesterday .... she met each child and shook their hands ....

She played games with them and they showed her how to play their games.......

There is no racism, no animosity, no hatred, no war, when you see TWO CHILDREN of different race, different religion, different beliefs HOLDING HANDS.

it is a powerful message my friends ....

Caity Sue said...

WOW!! I am SO jazzed about this experience. I only wish I could have been there to experience it firsthand with you. What an extraordinary young lady your precious pRaelee is - and what an adventure she's had! She will have amazing stories to tell, and memories that will last a lifetime....for her AND those Indonesian children as well. The kindness of strangers never fails to leave a lasting impression.

Anonymous said...

So glad that you had an opportunity like that. Having been fortunate to travel a fair bit, I've also seen too much poverty. I think those Indonesian kids will have a nice memory for a long time to come, thanks to you.


Anonymous said...

Well done Raelee. So proud of you. I am sure that you are definitely an angel. A beautiful Angel.
Love ya

Anonymous said...

It gave me chills to read this. I know you are so proud that Ralee did this and it only shows what can happen with the faith of a chid

Kim's Life said...

My hat goes off to Raelee!!! You too Grandma!!!

Anonymous said...

What a beatuful and touching story! All of the children involved will have such wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing it with us. I know you are proud of your Raelee and you have a GREAT reason to be!! Carmen C/FL

Joy said...

How very sweet! Love your beautiful pictures. Like something out of National Geographic!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, EB, this is absolutely stunning! I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. What a little Princess indeed this little girl is! Her mommy has definitely raised her right, and I'll bet Granny and Papa had a lot to do with it also! Thanks you so much for sharing this - just beautiful and the faces of those children are beyond fabulous.

Singapore Memory Project