There are moments when you know you have come a long way (and that there is so much further to go…Amen?!) I had one of those moments as I talked to one of the teachers at the orphanage. They had planned a pizza party for our last Friday class together as a way to say good-bye for the summer. My heart was so warmed!
I have been hoping for deep life-giving relationships with the workers at the children’s home. I volunteered at the orphanage for a year in the past and never really was able to build relationships with fellow workers. I still am in awe over the open doors and how favored my time at the children’s home has been since our return almost a year ago.
They bought all the ingredients for the pizza and set it up in the orphanage “apartment.” One of the classrooms is set up like a home, full kitchen, living room and bedroom, to teach the kids what a home is like. Both of my classes crammed into the tiny apartment and with remarkable attention watched as I mixed the dough and made pizza for them. I looked up from kneading the dough to their sweet faces starring at me – it felt like we were a family. I love them all so much, at times I feel like I could just burst.
We were using the common oven you can find in these parts; they are the size of a toaster oven. There was a lot of waiting as we baked the dough, put on the toppings, baked again. The pizzas were very small so we went through this process four times. The kids waited patiently and entertained themselves by looking at photos of themselves as I took them.
One Chinese teacher carried the first pizza over her head and exclaimed to the kids – “Your American pizza party!” It made me laugh as I took in our small square treat. They had decided to top the pizzas with Chinese hotdog (it is like spam in my opinion) mutton, carrot, onion and tomato. I did put my foot down and told them I would bring the pizza sauce. “No, ketchup is not what we use in the States as Pizza sauce!” HaHa. So “American pizza” is a term I would use loosely when describing what we ate…but the kids sure did enjoy it. The beauty of these kids, they are honest. So I know they weren’t pretending to like it!
The second pizza was cut into tiny squares and carried up and down the hallway of the orphanage to be shared by the kids who are not in my classes. It was so fun to hear the excited exclamations over eating pizza…and in between meal time at that! We also had a steady stream of nannies coming to take a peek at the recipe which led to us planning a shopping trip over the weekend so I could introduce them to the import store where you can buy mozzarella cheese. Relationship building at its best and I think I might just have started to become a part-time cheese supplier. Who knew?
What a great way to end the semester. I hate to see it come to an end; it feels like we just got things rolling. I have high hopes that the 6 weeks we have off won’t set us back, but I will be able to pick up the relationships right where we left off come the fall.
Hmmm….maybe we will have to start the fall semester with me planning a cookie party for them at my apartment? Already planning and dreaming for next semester!