We started at the special needs baby home to deliver donations and wheel chairs. We met a man named Peyton who has been in Kaz 14 years working with disadvantaged people. 2 years ago he began his work with the special needs home. This man is seriously Jesus in the flesh. His heart is incredible and he touches everyone he meets, especially the children.
The doctor wanted to give us a proper "reception" for the wheel chairs so during the Victory Day celebration the kids were having they introduced Stacy and I. We then moved the children from their old chair to their new one. It was a perfect start to the day. While we were there we learned that it is the goal of the workers to teach people to be more understanding and open to children with special needs. These kids live at this orphanage until they are 14 and then move to a mental institution. It truly was a wonderful baby home and we could certainly tell they do care.
Next we to a foster home and met with Andre. Andre is a man that works with orphans who are about to age out of the system. The house they were living in burned down about a month ago and now the kids are constructing a new one. It is Andre's goal to teach them life skills before they are on their own.
The ribbon cutting for the ceremony was at 2 pm. Otto from R.E.A.C.H made a speech, the orphanage assistant director spoke, and I spoke. We then cut a red ribbon and took pictures. Two Hearts was presented with a certificate that says:
"Public Fund REACH would like to express our sincere appreciation to "Two Hearts for Hope" for their dedication to the orphans of Kazakhstan. They have given their time and energy and have shared their love and resources with many children. As a result of their commitment, 350 orphans at the Zhanuya Orphanage in Almaty have received a long-awaited playground; many other children were clothed; and literally thousands have received gifts. Their dedication is to be commended. We would like to wish them and their families' good health, prosperity, and success in all of their endeavors."
The best part of the ceremony was when we were cutting the ribbon and the children were chanting "Spa-ci-ba" (thank you) over and over again. The tears were certainly flowing. When the ceremony was over we handed out ice cream to all the children.
To put into words what it felt like to stand back and watch the children playing is difficult. This year has been full of so many different emotions and trials to overcome. There were times when we thought this playground would not happen and to see this dream complete was overwhelming.
After the ceremony Stacy and I went to bring a beggar a wheel chair. We were asked to bring one for this man that Otto at Reach passes each day and has become friendly with. The man has leprosy and can't walk. His mother in law carries him to the street corner each morning and brings him back each night. He told Otto a few times that his dream was to have his own wheel chair. The look on his face when he pulled himself up and sat in the chair was amazing. He looked so proud and kept asking us to take his picture so he could see what he looked like. People on the street came up to us and wanted to know what we were doing. They could not understand why Americans would care about 1 Kazakh beggar and come all the way to Kaz to help him. One step at a time we hope to change the world.
The night ended when we had the Reach team and their families over for a backyard BBQ. We sat around and told stories of the week and just cried for about an hour. Lives were changed this week. Friendships that will last a lifetime were made.
I wish I could find the emotions right now to sit down and truly express all that we are feeling but we are so exhausted it is hard. When we get back home we will sit down and write more.
Tomorrow is our last day in Kazakhstan. Boy did this week fly by!