Day 3: A Line of Bikes at the House of Love

By Sandra Lee

I have never visited an orphanage before. This place completely surprised me.

The building was small but efficient. Dorms were separated by boys and girls. There was a clean kitchen and open common room for the children to maybe nap on the couch, colour, or share music.
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Before the contingent entered the home, Mr. Joseph offered an introduction while we were in formation. He wanted us to understand his mission in opening the doors to his kids. He spoke of three things:

1. We are all here to help.

Most of the children come from complicated families. Mr. Joseph and his staff are a group of dedicated social workers who welcome these kids that apply to be here. Their capacity has been reached with 35 kids, and the staff don’t want to apologize and say “try the next one” to others who come to them. Instead, they have a food bank that operate in the afternoon. Click here for Scouter Stephanie’s blog post about our experience volunteering at the food bank.

When a child is accepted into the home, they are greeted with the reassurance that they are now part of a family.

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2. The children should live wholesome lives.

Everyone here takes on a role with family titles to create an authentic family atmosphere. They made us all feel that way when we were their guests. They gave us a tour of their building and told us about how the kids use each room. In their common areas, we saw that music was made an important aspect of their lives. On top of a stand up piano, there were Polaroids and print outs of the kids hung above on the walls and framed atop the piano. As you can see in Cecilia’s daily vlog, many of the children learned to sing and play the ukulele together! Outside is an open field and toys they can play with and ride. All the kids have hobbies and interests they can practice. It also looks like imagination is well fed too!
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3. Culture is everything.

For two reasons:

Firstly, The staff ensures that when these kids mature into functioning adults, they are aware of the social protocols. They are taught traditions from all the different cultures prevalent in Malaysia.

Secondly, the culture in the House of Love is happy and supportive. This never becomes irrelevant to a child from this home. The kids are welcome to ask for dating advice, and the staff will continue to support them until they are off to college, and will continue to care for them even when they get married, just like a regular family.

Every kid should have long lasting friendships and they should all have someone who looks after them and loves them; just like how every kid should learn to ride a bike.

The House of Love is a genuinely good place, and we sense that they share our values of support, trying our best, and being a good person. We are so grateful to share the day with them.

 

Mostafa Nejati

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