There was so much my heart could behold today.
In the midst of all the excitements, the dancing, the cutting of cakes and the show of so much love.
My heart was heavy, my eyes blurred with tears.
I pretended to be part of the euphoria around me.
But my mind wondered away, far into the past, present and future
It was children’s day celebration,
so a friend invited me to go spend it at an orphanage.
Then I thought it was a good idea, there was no better way to spend such beautiful day.
I did not know what was ahead of me.
Truth is I have been to several orphanages to spend time with them, maybe because I love kids.
But today was different.
As we journeyed into this remote environment characterized with rocks here and there.
I asked again, “did you say it was an orphanage we are going to?”
The place was obviously remote and not safe.
It was a place where I would never go to on my own, not to talk of a place like Jos where there have been so many crises.
To some extent, the Plateau atmosphere is still charged with fear.
I can still smell the unrest and consciousness in the minds of the city dwellers.
Not to talk of having an orphanage of little children in such an unprotected environment.
My mind wondered as we kept driving in.
On getting there, I saw close to about a hundred kids dancing.
Then I said ok, here we are, maybe we will have some fun today.
On lifting my eyes to see the building they were “packed” into, then and there my mood changed.
My melancholic nature rose up like a bird that was set free from a cage after a very long time.
I suddenly became quiet and lost in thoughts.
My imaginations started soaring higher and higher.
Like a wild beast without the limitations of a cage, I danced crazily in the jungle of my mind.
Are people really living here? Kids for that matter!
As my mind wondered, I took a little walk round the house.
The building was uncompleted, no doors and windows at some parts of it.
The roof was a wide channel for the merciless rainfall that has not speared one day without falling.
Then I thought to myself, how do these kids survive here?
Oh my God! I could feel the cold that would send shivers down their spine at night.
I could sense the fear of knowing that the sun will soon give way for that horrible night loaded with cold to come.
I know they would always pray for rain not to fall so that they could at least sleep and deal with the cold alone.
Not to talk of the mosquitoes that would be singing the usual choruses in their ears.
If only the songs were sonorous and pleasant to hear, but they are not. Horrible!
I know of some people who would prefer just the bite of these little blood sucking creatures and not the singing part.
How on earth do they feed? Their clothes and faces would tell that they wish things were better.
While we were still there, the cloud started changing.
The colours of the sky became darker, and the heavens gave way for a heavy down pour.
We all had to run into the uncompleted building known as their home.
Then I understood what it meant to have such rainfall at night when everyone is sleeping.
But this could not stop the fun these kids were having, they were obviously still happy. They had adapted.
They cried out for the Disk Jockey (DJ) to play them more songs.
Then I knew to some extent that they were used to the leaking roof.
I later found out they had a better accommodation before now.
Their landlady told them to leave because she felt the founder of the orphanage was making money and paying her little.
When she saw they were not leaving any soon, she removed the roof of the building. She never considered the over hundred orphans and where they will be staying.
So they were forced to leave.
What a mentality. Very heartless I must say.
A little girl caught my attention, maybe about 2 years old or less.
I tried to make her smile as an expert in such, all to no avail.
They told me she had been crying all day.
I could see the hot dry tears still making a white mark on her pretty innocent face.
She had rashes and ringworm infection all over her skin.
Then a friend said, “Maybe she is uncomfortable.”
She was actually itching; her skin was reacting to the fungal organism that has ravaged her skin.
So she obviously was not part of the fun happening around her.
On another thought, we looked for a snack (bons) and gave to her to eat.
She rushed it, ripped it apart, and in less than 3minutes the snack was settled at the bottom of her stomach.
Then it dawned on me that she was both itching and hungry. Wow! And she just could not say anything.
Nobody heard her little words that couldn’t come out clean from her mouth.
After eating I could see the faint little smile on her face, her countenance became brighter.
My heart sank in the more. I carried her for a while until her little older friend came to take her away.
As I walked around, I was lost in thoughts.
I pretended to be looking at the activities going on, but my mind was far, my eyes were open but were not seeing.
My ears were wide open, but the thoughts in mind were louder than the sounds that came out of the speakers.
As my imaginations went wild; I wondered…what if there is another crises in Jos?
I tell you those heartless butchers who say they fight because of their belief will not spear these kids.
What could be going on in their minds as they lie down on those dry old foams I saw packed by the side of the room?
No parents, no security, no hope of where the next meal would probably come from, the clothes available are already wearing out, no good school to attend, no normal life, no hope for the future…so many thoughts kept flying into my mind all at the same time.
My mind kept asking questions.
Later I was forced to ask… how did these kids become orphans?
Then I was told that most of them were victims of the religious crises that has been eating deep into the fabrics of the Plateau.
Some of them literarily saw their parents murdered.
They saw the blood of their parents pour like water in front of their houses and on the floor of their sitting rooms.
Some men came in at night to slaughter them and burn their houses in the name of religion.
They only watched helplessly, crying and pulling their dead parents to come back to life.
Now you see why I was moved to tears.
I figured out these kids have a lot to contend with.
Is it the internal battles that go on in their minds?
Or the nightmares of their dead parents that wake them up most of the nights?
Or the unfriendly, partial, harsh and wicked society they have found themselves in?
So many things they have to overcome to remain sane.
As I look into their eyes, I could see fear, pain, anguish, vengeance, and wrath all in one.
Thank God for the love some well meaning Nigerians like us shower on them.
Such pains and wrath would have been worse.
That is the beauty of love; it dispels the darkness of fear and vengeance.
Love has taught them to forgive and love no matter the pains inflicted on them.
Love has taught them to see God through a better perspective.
That He is not a wicked God who had allowed some people to kill their parents all in His name of “religion.”
Thank goodness love is renewing their minds.
But in the midst of all these, they were the happiest people on earth I saw living.
I can still see the dazzling smiles that erupted from their angelic faces.
My God! Never seen any one as gifted and talented as they are.
Without electricity, and when there is, they are allowed to watch few things on television under supervision, they still beat my imagination.
How on earth did they learn and develop those talents and gifts with little exposure?
They all have magnetic intelligent minds.
Then it came to my understanding that God watches over His own.
He never sleeps nor slumber, He is the one that has been keeping them over these years.
Now let me ask you, do you have any reason to praise this God?
A lot of the times we focus on that little problem we have and make God look like someone that never answers prayers.
In our deepest thoughts we show an attitude of ingratitude to God for that little issue in our lives.
Think about it…have you seen half of what these orphans have experienced?
In the midst of all their trials; they still have the most powerful smile on earth.
So excited and happy, you could see the beauty that emanated from their hearts.
This beam of light within them increased when we began to bring in all the goodies we brought for them.
I could see the “thank you very much smiles” on their tender faces.
I figured out there is nothing you give to them to improve their lives that will be too much.
They needed more than we could give them.
Most importantly I found out love is the greatest gift we will ever give them.
That little smile, hug and kindness to let them know they are special would always go a long way to heal their wounded hearts.
They need so much love from us who are privileged not to be in such conditions.
There are so many people like that around you.
Show them a little love; this little love could be all they need to stay sane and happy.
You can heal someone in pain today.
Open your eyes wide; such people are all around you.
Finally I saw a deep-seated passion to serve and to heal humanity rise within me.
It reminded me of that voice that has always whispered to my ears in my most quiet moments.
Then I reaffirmed the dream of having my own orphanage someday.
Friends the needs here on earth are so much.
You have been designed to solve a particular problem.
Discover your own unique problem in your world and solve it.
By Chris Inpire