There is so much I could talk about. I thought today I’d provide a breakdown of what a typical day looks like for the River Stone China Team:
7:30 a.m. Devotions in our team leaders room (Nikki from International China Concern) Devotions are led by a different team member each morning. Everyone signed up on our first day. I was sitting in the back of the bus, so by the time the sheet got to me it was full, darn. 🙂
8:00 a.m. Breakfast at the same local Chinese cantina. All meals are served family style and include at least five to seven different dishes. It’s pretty exciting to see what delicacies arrive. The food is carried in one bowl at a time, so we never know if there will be more, or that’s all. Breakfast staples include a rice porridge served with either sugar or salt and pickled veggies, hard boiled eggs and hot tea. The other dishes vary from day to day. This morning we had dumplings with a side dipping sauce that tasted like soy sauce, along with a noodle type soup. This morning a real treat arrived in the form of an icing less cupcake. We all ate two of those, a tasty sweet treat.
8:30 a.m. On the bus headed for the orphanage. The trip takes about 25 minutes.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Disembark, pray together and head to our assigned areas. The orphans range from infants to teenagers. There are two to four team members assigned to each area. I am part of the team working at the Welfare Center. This area is not operated by International China Concern and thus is quite different from the other areas. Some of the children in care there are very sick. Sadly, a new baby arrived Tuesday and today is no longer with us. We knew how sick she was and that she probably wouldn’t make it, but the reality of that empty crib this morning was heart wrenching. All the children have fun names like Ling Ling, Chow Chow, Dow Dow which we Americans find rather amusing.
12:30 p.m. Lunch at the same Cantina. The dishes are difficult to describe. Most of them are a mixture of meat and veggies, all very tasty. Since there are so many different dishes, even if you don’t like one, chances of leaving hungry are very slim.
2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Back at the orphanage. Afternoons are a little easier because we get to take the children outside, provided it isn’t raining. It’s amazing to see some of the more disabled ones smile and laugh in the fresh air. In our area, one boy in particular will lift his arms and point outside each time we arrive. Communication with the “carers” is usually a game of gestures since we neither speak Chinese nor do they speak English.
6:00 p.m. Dinner at a different restaurant. Last night’s dinner included a spicy but cold chicken dish complete with the chicken’s head displayed on the plate. Pictures will soon be in circulation of the one team member who attempted to eat the chicken head. That soul shall remain nameless for now.
8:00 p.m. Worship/team meeting.
9:30 p.m. Bedtime, seriously, most of us are so exhausted that we shower and turn in before 10:00 p.m.