– by Serene Chiang
shouted the kids loudly, lining up near the entrance of the orphanage ‘Joint Disabled Unity Awaz Center’ situated in Kathmandu. I was one of the few in the group who arrived at the orphanage first. The kids are of ages between 5 and 17 years old. Curiosity, anticipation and BIG SMILEs were written clearly on their faces, not forgetting these were accompanied by the shrill of their voices as they stood near the entrance to welcome us in.
As soon as we greeted each other, a wave of feeling hit me hard and I started to choke with emotions. In that instant, I was overwhelmed with indescribable emotions. Something that I hardly ever felt before. If words could plainly describe how I feel, it was the pureness, innocence and unconditional love that I felt. Being a logical person, it didn’t make sense to me to travel all the way to Nepal to visit an orphanage to feel this way. There are many orphanages in Singapore too. But somehow, this orphanage is different… it stirred a weird feeling inside me. For an instant, I suspected that perhaps this was the prequel to the retreat that was to be conducted in a few days’ time.
The orphanage children have nothing to their name, surviving only on donations of food, old clothes, and stationery made by The Golden Space or by students who attended the Nepal retreat. But they were contented with whatever they had. It could be seen from their faces as my course mates were giving out the food items and new stationery that we brought along to the orphanage. They held on to it tightly as though as it was something so precious. As a conscientious observer, at such a place in time, in that environment setting, the items that were given out stood out strongly, as though it is echoing out to me that it does not belong there. To the kids, these items were extravagant, luxury items that could not be found in Nepal. It was as though when IIao llao first came to Singapore and everyone was rushing to queue to get a taste of it except in this situation, the kids were patiently waiting for their turn to receive the items. It was a scene, an experience that would be etched in my heart deeply.
It was mid-afternoon as we moved out to the open space outside for dance cultural exchange activities. Traditional Nepalese songs and dance filled the air. Despite the language barrier, we imitated the dance moves of the younger children. It was as though the children were on auto-pilot as they synchronized to the music. As if time was on a standstill, regardless whether one is a director, manager or boss of a company, how rich and poor one is, in that moment of time, prestige and status didn’t matter and did not stand between oneself and the children as I saw everyone’s inner child of my course mates radiating out. Laughter and joy filled the air.
As the sun is setting and before saying our goodbyes, the orphanage founder gathered everyone around and shared with us the stories of the children, how did the children become orphans. It was disheartening to hear. Tears and sadness overwhelmed the atmosphere and the faces of the children, especially the older ones as they are more aware of why they are in the situation which they do not wish to be in, but man proposes, God disposes.
Comparing with whatever we have to our name, we are so much more fortunate. There are things in life where it may not mean anything to us, but it may mean a lot to others and WE obviously are not contented with what we have. WE are always constantly pursuing after prestige and status, branded material goods, etc, treating things as though it has no life to begin with – opening/closing the doors loudly, wastage of food. As we are being slowly consumed by these things, we have not taken time to realise that one needs to do our own inner work and the importance of it. Of course, to express gratefulness for whatever we have regardless how small a time might be. We have parents who brought us up, provided us our education, give us pocket money, shower us with unconditional love, siblings for us to bicker with etc, where these kids have nothing. Basically NOTHING. Except for each other whom they are not related by blood and the donated money for their monthly food supply and old clothes and the land space they are living on. Not forgetting that these kids including Uncle (founder of the Orphanage) who may be kicked out of the land space any time as the land is on rental basis.
Just a short 3-hour interaction at the orphanage, the children showed me that even without having the material items, they still have something to offer; pure love and joy…
Above story is written by one of our student sharing her “Awaken~the Divine You” journey in Nepal Retreat with Master Umesh H. Nandwani. This program will change your life in 7-days, click here for more details.