Friday, April 30, 2010

No Matter Where You Are in the World, Boys Will Be Boys

I started a donation program for a local orphanage here in Libreville.  The orphanage, Arc en Ceil, takes care of young boys and girls, many of whom are victims of human trafficking, which is a major concern here in Western and Central Africa.

The donation program was successful because of its simplicity:  a few pictures, facebook, simple instructions, generous friends and a US address (fortunately, we can receive some US mail here).

After waiting several weeks for the mail to arrive, we finally got to deliver some goods to the boys camp yesterday; several boxes of clothing, some toys and a lot of “US” snacks.  The kids were very happy and helped us bring in the boxes, which we left with Sister Cova.  But they were much more excited just because we were there.  They like the company, they enjoy visitors coming to see them and play with them.  It can be a bit overwhelming; you are surrounded, everyone is hanging on to you and everybody wants your attention at the same time, but even in a different language, I really enjoy all of the smiles.

It's amazing to me that wherever you are in the world, the actions of boys are noticeably similar.  Once you take out anything electronic (camera, phone, the car keys), everyone wants a chance to touch it and hold it.  Once you start taking pictures, everybody wants to take one with their “tough guy” pose (all of the different  flashing finger signs come from American movies).  Once they notice that two of you have a car, everyone wants to know whose is better/faster/stronger, the Colonel’s or mine.  Boys will be boys.  The only major difference is soccer, everyone plays here, even the girls.

The difficult part of the visit was seeing Jean Christian who I remember from our last visit.  Apparently he kept running away and now he is no longer allowed in the orphanage (he is outside the fence). He is a local boy and his parents couldn’t afford to keep him.  Now he lives on the beach.  He waited by my car to ask if I could take him home for the night.  I can’t do that.  Ugh.

The program will continue and I have to get donors to focus on sneakers, too many bare-feet running around.

Many thanks to Commander ‘Sarah’ and Lt. Colonel ‘Jack’ for helping me make the deliveries, and of course Sister Covedonga Orejas for everything that she does.


  1. What beautiful children. Thanks for sharing the story!

  2. thanks! Sneakers is a great idea because they can use at least 4 pairs each in a year!!!!
    It is true ,we love visitors!!
    thanks again and keep in touch
    sorry, what's wrong with the pictures.