Thursday, November 19, 2009
No Bake Cookies - so much fun!
The week before I left for the UAE because of my eye emergency, our team here took Tim and Walter (here from Virginia visiting their sponsored children) to Saramoldiva Orphanage to do an activity with the youngest children. After I came back from the UAE, our team here went to Ulan Orphanage. At both orphanages we did the same activity - making no bake cookies. It was such fun each time! It was also a little chaotic because this was a new activity for the children, but all in all it went well. We have started introducing themes with the activities planned around the day's lesson. The no bake cookies activity was to introduce basic cooking along with the idea of taking turns, sharing, identifying what the children have to be thankful for and learning to give to others. So, the children ate some of the sweet treats they made and they also gave some of the treats to their teachers and caregivers.
They took turns dumping the sugar, butter, vanilla, and evaporated milk into a pot and then stirring it until it melted. Once melted, the heat was turn off. Then the children helped mix in peanut butter, rolled oats and cocoa. They then spooned out dollops of the mixture onto wax paper. The children had never had this kind of opportunity. Their faces showed their excitement. My heart loved seeing them experiencing this simple activity. I wish they each could be in a loving home getting to do these kinds of things on a regular basis.
While the cookies hardened, we had the children decorate two paper bags. One was for them to keep and one to give to one of their caregivers. We spent time talking about all their caregivers do for them. It is always easy to see what we each don't have in our lives. Learning to be thankful for the things we do have helps us develop an ability to enjoy life more fully no matter what storms roll through. We wanted to start showing the children what they do have to be thankful for. It is easy to see all their lives lack, but they could be in far worse places. Many of them have come from very bad situations and are in a much better place now, even though I wish for them so much more.
Everyone enjoyed the sweet treat when all was finished. It was fun to see their joy and excitement doing something my children grew up doing all the time. Helping me in the kitchen and learning life skills are treasured memories for us. My desire is for activities like this to build life skills into the children here, life skills they will need once they are out of the orphanage. Hopefully, these activities will also give them some treasured memories to store in their hearts. It is fun to hear other groups at the orphanages ask when they get to make cookies.
Though the time was a little chaotic, it was fun and the staff were pleased to receive their little bags of cookies. The staff also expressed their thanks for our focus on what they do for the children. Oftentimes the staff is not acknowledged for all the hard work they do.
If you ever want to come join us in our fun here, you are most welcome. There are usually two trips a year for those who sponsor children through us. If you don't sponsor a child yet and just want to come see what we do here, you can still join one of the trips. Go to Interlink's web link on the right side of this blog to find more information. If you are interested in coming to work full time, you can also find more information there or you can contact us here in Taraz.
It is almost Thanksgiving, a time when we focus more on what we have to be thankful for. I am incredibly thankful that I have the privilege to work with these precious children here in Kazakhstan. I will miss Marc and Sarah terribly this first Thanksgiving and Christmas that we will spend apart, but I am comforted by the fact that I know being here is the call on my life.
Thank you, each one, for joining me on this incredible journey.