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.