Week Two

I’ve been wanting to update my blog (really) – and I wish I have an excuse for not doing so… but in truth, I’ve just been a lazy bum spending my lonely nights vegetating in front of the TV. Even though work has been fairly chilled, I still feel exhausted when I get home – and I haven’t even clocked any over time yet!

I’m only starting on my first client next week so I’ve been “idling” at the office – which is a pretty bad reflection on my efficiency. They’ve been keeping me (and the rest of the idlers) busy with WBLs (web-based learning – pronounced “weebles”) and visits to the Beautiful Gates orphanage where we help the children with reading and homework (part of EY’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme).

I must admit, when I first found out about the orphanage, I immediately thought of Annie – the Musical. I’m not great with children so the idea of spending the afternoons at the orphanage was less than appealing, especially if there was going to be vomit and poop involvement. Getting there should have been fairly straight-forward if it wasn’t for the detour. We wanted to buy Fizzers for the kids but nobody knew where the supermarket was. We ended up driving on the narrow, windey streets of the townships, and painfully realized: people from townships cannot give directions – much like Asians. You’d think that being a township and all there would be very little traffic so we could stop and ask – But noooo. The minute we stopped, cars would come from all directions and even the donkeys looked less than happy to see the pile of congestion. We were tempted to buy 50 lollipops from one of many “Spaza Cash Shops” in the area but a hand-written receipt probably wouldn’t suffice.

The orphanage itself was surprisingly nice. The facilities were spacious and well run, with 24 children aged 3 upwards. Three of them were living with HIV and were given ARVs every day from the medicine dispensary. Some had TB and it was exceptionally sad to witness a little girl trying to read and having to stop after every few words due to going into a coughing fit. The following afternoon, they had a birthday celebration for two of the boys, one of whom was deaf. It truly was heart breaking because he couldn’t participate in any of the singing and dancing.

The two afternoons at the orphanage have given me a sense of appreciativeness that I never would have gotten if I were at a client. I wish I had my camera with me so I could take pictures of all the kids who were *beyond* adorable. I *know* I am lucky in a lot of ways but it’s nice to be reminded once in a while of just *how* lucky I am. Even though they’re being cared for by wonderful facilitators, their level of educational knowledge is still underpar. Those kids at the orphange will never have the same opportunities and luxuries that I got growing up. In a way, I’m glad I got to visit them before I start with client work, because now I’m more motivated to do the best I can and not let my circumstances bog me down.