Yesterday we paid a return visit to Hope orphanage, partly to take some of the toys, books etc, bought with donations from St Mary’s church, Eastham and other benefactors, and partly as a venue for Sharon (Funmi’s wife) to celebrate her birthday. She had expressed a wish to visit Hope and to have a small party there for the kids which was a really nice thought.
Caroline booked the cake which duly arrived – beautifully decorated and sufficiently weighty to suggest it would amply feed the 20 or so kids and their carers. In the car as we set off I held it on my lap. Within minutes I could feel the blood supply to my legs being cut off . If I had known, I would have worn my green and pink ‘First Choice’ flight socks – perhaps not! I was rescued from an almost certain attack of DVT by Sharon herself who wanted to look after her own cake; I was mightily relieved -she has much more substantial knees than me anyway!
So the cake made it intact, in spite of frequent swerves to avoid other road users and potholes, to be greeted by the wondrous eyes of the children who were well up for devouring the lot.
We spent a couple of hours with them, showing them how to play with their new toys, trying to sort out squabbles and then attempting to mend the toys once they got broken! They got as much enjoyment out of being bounced, twizzed, tickled, thrown and generally man-handled as by playing with the toys.
It is some months since I last saw them and they were thriving - clearly being well cared for by Mrs O and her staff. Sadly, there have been new admissions – two new babies had arrived – rescued from desperate situations. Baby Gift is almost crawling and the good news is that her young mother has visited her and expressed her wish to have Gift restored to her – such a beautiful, alert little girl – the daughter that is – possibly the mother too!
Mrs O’s dream of having a mini-bus to take the children out has come true, thanks to the donation of a bank, and they have been to school and on visits in it. Hopefully the orphanage will continue to go from strength to strength and we will get the chance to visit again before we go.
As we left Grace, aged 6 was singing a hymn; what a beautiful voice she has – a voice that might never have been heard had it not been for the dream (literally), the vision and the commitment of Mr and Mrs Omolehin.