Friday, May 19, 2017

The Most Beautiful Sounds

What are the two most beautiful sounds to wake up to in the morning?

The creaking of a water well pump and the laughter of children. 

I woke bright and early. I had spent the night in a cot at the guestroom of Tarakwa Orphanage, and now sounds echoed all around me, trailing in the room through the my window pane.

A child's shriek was what woke me. It was a shriek of laughter - the pure, uninhibited joy that only children can have. The stomping of footsteps running beneath my window. Shoes against dirt. Giggles. Ever-constant creaking as a water well was pumped again and again. The rush of fresh water against metal dishes and plastic jugs.

Tarakwa Children's Village is a rarity of a CRF program because CRF doesn't really do orphanages. We like to promote and encourage family structures. It is typically healthier for a child to be raised in a family than by an institution, so if there is any living relative or foster family who is willing to take in a child and raise him, we support that environment through sponsorship.

But sometimes there isn't a living relative. Sometimes there isn't a guardian family who is willing to take a child not their own. Sometimes a child is entirely, completely alone. These children go to live at Tarakwa.

The children of Tarakwa have harrowing stories. Jennifer was sold into marriage at age fourteen to get her out of her uncle's care as soon as possible. Susan wandered into a director's home at three in the morning, barefoot, cold, malnourished, and alone in the world. Ronnie and Roonie were found locked in a dark room where they had lived for so long that they had created their own language that only the two of them knew. Fillary has Down Syndrome. Nicholas and Vincent were abandoned and went three weeks without eating anything at all.

The stories are powerful and astonishing. These children are survivors. They've gone from enduring the worst living conditions imaginable to living in an environment that is love-based and Christ-based. They eat three meals a day. They sleep in beds. They have shoes to wear. For the first time, they are drinking clean water instead of roadside water. For the first time, they are running and playing in the morning before school because they have the strength and the freedom to do so.

Staying at Tarakwa, surrounded by children who have been through the worst and now live in beauty, I woke up to the most beautiful sound in the world. I heard sounds that confirmed that those who were forgotten are now known. Those who were unwanted are now chosen and sponsored. Those who were neglected and abused are now nourished and loved.

The creaking of a water well pump and the hysterical laughter of these 120 playing children, right outside my window. There is no sound more beautiful than these.

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