The kids seemed really excited to see me. They’re really sweet. The things they kept saying to me when I first arrived were really funny. So many of the girls kept saying, “You’re so beautiful.” And, a couple of them kept telling me I look like a Barbie. One girl said, “I like your eyes and your ears and your nose.” And, another girl said I had a straight nose. I felt like I looked pretty bad because my eyes were baggy, I wasn’t wearing any make-up, and I had been sweating like crazy. But, it’s really impossible not to sweat 24/7 here, so I’m not too concerned about that anymore.
Many of them also kept saying that they like English. At first it seemed like they didn’t know any English at all, but I think they were mostly shy. Some of them understand a good bit, but they’re all still learning. Many people in the Philippines speak English, but most of these kids were taken off the streets and only know Cebuano. Last night I read a bunch of picture books to them like Pinocchio, The Rescuers, and Dumbo. I was surprised they wanted me to go on for so long because the vocabulary used in those books would be hard for even little native English speakers to understand. I think they just liked the sound of it, and some of them got the gist of what was going on.
When I first got here, they all gathered around me on their beds and the floor while I sat on a stool. They asked me lots of questions about America and my family and also the orphanage in Mexico where I met Matthew and Lee. They are especially interested in snow.
They also asked me if I am born again and if I know any Christian songs. They love to sing and listen to Christian music a lot.
They call me Ate (Ah-teh) Ariel out of respect since I’m older. And, they also do this really cute thing where every time they come home or leave for school they take my hand and touch it to their foreheads. It’s like getting my blessing. Just minutes after I got here they kept telling me how much they’ll miss me when I go back to America. And, they miss the other two interns who were here before me, David and Andrew, a lot.
There are 25 kids but we may be getting more. And, only Matthew and Lee are on staff. Pray for them!