Last night, after dinner, we had a special guest. Her name was Jan, and she is 73 years old. She looked amazing for a lady that age. She works with ORI, and has a lifetime of personal experience of extremely hard times. She shared her life story with us. She grew up being mistreated, sexually abused, raped, moved from extended family member’s house to extended family member’s house. Parents divorcing. Nobody really protecting her. Being blamed for being raped by her mother-in-law. And much more. She shared all of this with us because over eighty percent of the kids in the orphanages here have been sexually abused and have had similar experiences of being left behind or passed around. One of the things she shared about with the kids around here is that often a woman would get pregnant with her boyfriend, and after a month or two, the boyfriend would leave. But then the woman would find another boyfriend, and he wouldn’t have any interest in supporting a baby that wasn’t his. So that baby would be left in the street, hopefully found and dropped off at an orphanage. Then the woman wold have a baby with the next boyfriend. The weirdest part is that the law here allows families to go to orphanages once a month to visit the kids that the family has left behind. So, the mother, her boyfriend and her kid, would all come to the orphanage to have a meal with the mother’s kid, but then after the meal, they would leave the kid behind. The kid would be left very confused – why can’t he go home with his mom? Often, it would take several days to calm the kid down from that. A very disturbing experience for the kid.

Jan explained that when we visit orphanages, we should be sure to play with the kids in groups of three kids and not to play with them one-on-one. She said that by working with them in groups, it takes away their ability to manipulate people into giving kids what they want. It is also important to be sure make a special effort to find the kids who are of on their own and to include them, too. Makes sense.

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