Sports Day and Children’s Day
The end of one year and the start of the next brings the orphanages two annual events which need much preparation. First is the New Year’s Sports Day. It starts with a parade down the drive of the two teams in their colours, with cheerleaders (a group of children and a group of staff), a band, and many following dancing and cheering. This year was Pink v Green. I was on the Green Team and an umbrella spinner. We walked up to the playing field and for the opening ceremony and speeches.
In the two weeks leading up to the New Year’s celebrations at work, I had been learning and doing and redoing three dances: two a bit like Zumba style and one Thai styled. These were to be performed at the New Year’s Sports Day in rows with about twelve ladies in pink and eleven others wearing green. These were challenging dances to learn and strangely like full exercises, even though they were not in a lively jumping style. We performed and I didn’t do too bad. The points when you turned to face a different direction and the others were a beat ahead of you or a beat behind confused me slightly, but I was luckier than my friend whose skirt came loose (not too embarrassing for her, as she had leggings on as we all did) but she did well to stay in formation while dealing with it.
After this I went back and got my children: Miss N and Mr C. They enjoyed the time. Miss A and Mr B were on the Pink Team. Then the cheerleader groups competed and the races began, as did the food and drink. Alas Mr B was sent back by ward mums before I could make it fun for him, but Miss A crossed over and joined us. Mr C loved the drum sounds and sudden cheers. He then fell asleep in his chair. Half way through I switched the children and brought Mr G and Miss K over.
Sports day photos…
This event was followed by the New Year’s staff party: a meal, singing and dancing and a raffle for a gift. It was a nice night, but a tiring day, so I was able to get a taxi and head back to the expat community to the friend’s house where I was staying and see to the dog.
The next big event was Children’s Day in the first week of January. It is always held on a Saturday and is a full day. The ward mums took some chairs and mats over to the open-air event room where the party was to be held and then transported about ten to fifteen of our children to the event. There was food and rides: a train, a carousel and a bouncy castle. Mr B, Mr G and Miss A had been taken over already, so I got Mr C and Miss N. They had some snacks and watched the dancers and played with balloons.
I was over the moon when I saw the superintendent actually riding the mini train with a child. Some years the vendor has let me do this and other years not. The fact that the boss did it gave me the freedom to do so too. Mr B rides it by himself, but the others sit on my lap as we go round and round. I think I took eight or so children from my ward on it. All of them loved it. Miss N had a go at some of the carnival games and won prizes. At one point, the bouncy castle was quiet, so I took the chance to have Mr B, Mr C and Miss K play on it. It was hot, so I had to sit or lie them on the patches which were shaded. Mr B and I even climbed the ladder and went on the slide. He was entertained and also enjoyed being bounced and rolled off the caterpillar. All enjoyed the motions and Miss K did well to keep a good leg/hip position in the ridge between two lumpy parts.
Miss ND came with her mum too and had great fun winning prizes and eating the food. She joined us on the bouncy castle too and was very sweet remembering Miss K from the hospital day when she was there and came to say hi at the ward.
I believe Mr C had the best day of all, because his father made the four-hour plus journey by himself on four buses and walking from the bus stop just to see him. The reunion was a sweet one. It’s been a year and a half since they were last together, when we took Mr C to his dad’s accommodation in the community of Petchaburi. Dad sat and loved his son and told him repeatedly how much he missed him. Dad has been ill in recent years and his mobility is a challenge, so it was a really big deal that he made it to see him. Dad had some food and drink and then it was time for Mr C to have a tube feed, so we went back to the ward to the swing and they sat and relaxed away from the busy event. After Mr C’s feed, they lay down to relax on the mat together, like they used to in the good days before. I fed Miss A and Mr B took the opportunity while I was busy to try and get interaction and share in Mr C’s pleasant moment, wanting to hold hands with his dad. It was so sweet to see Mr C so happy and Mr B connecting so sweetly.
I deemed it appropriate that at this point to tell Dad that 1Step2Step would pay for him to get a taxi home instead of him travelling on the buses. This was a gesture that our treasurer felt was a right and fitting use for our funds and meant Dad could really relax and not worry about the travel home. Mr C and I went on the train after we had taken Dad to the gate to say goodbye. Mr C was so content when I brought him back to the ward that he fell asleep really quickly.
Really it was quite an exhausting day for a Saturday. The ward had expected a VIP too, so all my equipment had to be removed the night before and brought back up before I left, so it didn’t get rained on. Sunday was confusing, because it felt like Saturday and Monday came by so soon, it was a big effort this week.
Please pray that the memories of the fun will stay with the children for ages.