New Tackies

When I was younger and I needed new shoes we went to the store. I got to pick out the shoes with my favorite colors, or the ones that lit up when you walked. At the orphanage things are different, the majority of the clothes and shoes are donated. If someone out grows a piece of clothing or shoes then it may be handed to another child if it is still in good condition. We are now entering into the fall season, the South Africans are freaking out because it’s a little cold. With the season changing, the beds have thick blankets neatly folded across them. The kids are wearing long sleeves, sweaters, and long pants. Some of the clothes may not fit perfectly, some are a little too short or a little too big, but the kids stay warm.12939322_1134153516625517_1561254263_n

Yesterday “new” shoes were given out to each child, instead of measuring their foot to see what size they were, we had the children try on each pair of shoes until we found one that almost fit just right. The kids on the other hand loved their new pair of tackies (shoes). The kids were so excited to get a new pair of shoes and they only wanted to show off their pair. The reality that many of their toes were touching the top, many of the shoes probably were too small, but because that is what’s available no one can complain. One of my kids put on a shoe that was entirely too small, but because they were his favorite color and he liked the design he made his foot fit. Not until the next day could we give him different shoes that fit a little better.12939345_1134153733292162_978880902_n.jpg

Sometimes I reflect and truly realize how blessed I was
growing up. The last few months I have been walking around barefoot for majority of the day unless we go to the mall. One day, a staff member came up to me and pointed to her feet, they were slightly wider than usually, but nothing too bad. She then proceeded to tell me that when she was younger she never had shoes, because they couldn’t afford them. I never realized what I took for granted. Being in South Africa has made me appreciative of the little things in life. Everyone needs shoes that fit properly; that’s a necessity. Yes, some people take it for granted and have 50 pairs of shoes, but in reality some kids do not have any. Through this journey I am growing and changing. I cannot save everyone, but I can inform others. Maybe, someone with 50 pairs of shoes sees these blogs and donates a pair of shoes to a
kid with no shoes.

Until next time

Stay awesome12919163_1134154139958788_300617164_n

Saw a llama in the car being pretty awesome.

Jill Bundy

Easter Joy

This will just be a picture blog.

Something Amazing was invited to provide Easter eggs for a kindergarten class in a township. It was a great experience and I enjoyed playing with all the kids. Along with providing chocolate eggs we gave slime to the kids. Many of the kids had never toughed or seen slime before, their facial expressions were priceless. In South Africa they do not teach the kids English until about the 3rd grade, there was a large language barrier, but regardless of language barrier kids know when they are loved.

Regardless of the image perceived from a township, I felt the community and love through out the streets. The kids were adorable and completely lovable. The teacher was extremely thankful and welcomed us to come back any time.

The rest of the pictures I will post to Facebook follow the Something Amazing page, or add me as a friend Jillian Marie Bundy.

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Stay Awesome,

Until Next time

Jill

Don’t lose a kid

Today was a good day. After arriving, I heard the screams and cries of my kid’s in the background. I thought to myself today will be a great day.  Christine Revell relies heavily on volunteers in order to help the staff members with the daily activities of the kids.  In the winter months, the numbers of volunteer begin to decrease and ultimately zero out, which requires staff to make adjustments.  This is starting to happen now.  Last Friday three volunteers left to go back to their home country. This leaves me and eleven kids (3 and under) alone for lots of fun. Here is how a relatively good day usually goes.

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“AHHH!!!” screamed by six happy toddlers running towards me with open arms for hugs. I make a point to hug and kiss every child so that they fill just a hint of love and affection in the morning.   On a wonderful day, there is no fighting, biting or crying, but because we do not live in a magical world after five minutes of being in the room, I have broken up five fights and comforted three kids.  Now its time to play, whether it is blocks, puzzles, cars, or buttons there is always something for the kids.  Four kids truly enjoy the activity, three are crying for only God knows what, two that are fighting and two are just staring into space.  Already two kids have pooped in their diaper and three are running back and forth to the bathroom trying to play with the water. The trick is always trying to figure out which kid is the culprit.12516119_1119484481425754_484888323_n

The typical toy time though each kid; Sinclair (the Girl with Autism) sometimes is crying constantly.  There are days that nothing can calm her down. She will try to escape or climb all over the room and I always have to keep a close eye on her for her safety.  I must make sure she does not hurt any of the other kids because she is older and does not communicate so she is unable to articulate her feelings.  I must also watch out for Tyrese.  If there is a crying kid near him, he bites their arm to get the toy they are playing with.  Aiden and Asher are my troublesome two. The twins are constantly fighting and rough housing with each other causing one to cry.  Caleb and Bradley are screaming from excitement while playing.  Tatum and Pearle are usually having temper tantrums because they did not get their way. Kyle and Immunati are my quiet ones, but if they are crying, it is because one of the older ones was picking on them.  Lastly Karen (the youngest one), although she is the smallest she causes the biggest problems with swearing and hitting.

Lunchtime can be a struggle with only two people assisting. We always begin with folded hands and a prayer, “God is great and God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. AMEN”.  In about 5 minutes, food has been thrown all over the room.  Food is covering some of the kids from head to toe and some are crying because they do not want to eat.  I never realized how big of a difference fifteen minutes could be until I came here. 12834867_1119486858092183_604151860_n.jpg In fifteen minutes about eleven kids are fed, I have chased three around in order to get them to sit down and two have thrown food on the ground.  I also have placed five kids in their cots to sleep and chased the other five around in order to use the toilet.  Most days my prayer is just to not lose a kid, because the transition from eating to sleeping is extremely hard.  Luckily, I have not lost any kids, so my prayers are working.

After everyone is in their cot sleeping it is finally my break time.  It is only 12 pm and I had one eventful morning.  Even after all the running, screaming, crying, bathroom accidents, and different personalities I love all my kids.  My kids bring joy into my heart each day. I wouldn’t change my morning even if I could. I will say that after being at the orphanage for a few months I do not want to have my own kids for a very long long time.

Until next time.

Stay awesome

Jill

This is How Faith Works

Two months ago I came to Cape Town with big dreams and aspirations. I had no idea on how to accomplish them, but I was ready for anything. I wanted to impact a group of people through my words and actions. During these 2 months, I have had many opportunities to give the children all the love and emotional support that I was able to give.  I comforted them when they were sad, gave them big hugs and kissed them on their foreheads to feel better.  No matter what, I realize that no love is greater than the love of God. I pray every day for strength to give these children exactly what they need.12842545_1110284799012389_1256227138_o

Although love can help to patch many years of emotional damage, hugs alone are not enough.  The orphanage cannot survive off of just love; it needs donations to help with the expense of caring for 49 children.  After being at the orphanage for a few weeks, I observed that it needed many many things; even more than I could count. I spoke with the Director of the center about the greatest needs.  She gave me a list of items that was so great it blew my mind.  The list never seemed to end.  I knew Something Amazing or I could afford to provide all of the items on the list.

Here is the list:

·                     52 water proofs

·                     (Goes over diapers for baby to stay dry)

·                     6 laundry baskets
·                     50 packet nappy liners

·                     (liner for cloth diapers)

·                     52 plastic dinner plates
·                     10 serving spoons ·                     6 dust pans,
·                     Spatula ·                     2 feather dusters
·                     2 pots ·                     6 brooms
·                     Copy paper ·                     Material to make aprons for the kids
·                     2 Large Juice jugs ·                     3 Mini Juice Jugs
·                     4 bowls with utensils ·                     2 bowls with lids

 

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My faith was lacking. I had no idea that half way around the world a pastor, whom I’ve never met, was being inspired by what I am doing and was collecting donations to give to Something Amazing.  As I was counting my pennies to see what I could pull together, the donation was presented to me in order address the need. Excited beyond measure, I proudly told the Director that we could go shopping for everything on her list. It was shopping time! Four stores and two and half hours later, everything on the list was purchased along with a couple extra things.  The smiles on the faces of the staff made everything worthwhile.

I am human. I do not know how things will play out. I cannot read the future, but through faith great things get accomplished.  I am in awe realizing this cause; this company is bigger than just me.  The fact that I am inspiring people in different parts of the world to go explore, travel, and help others is astonishing.  Although my faith is becoming stronger as the days go on; I am forever thankful for everyone that prays for me daily.  Please continue to pray as there is so much to be done and so many to help.

Until Next time Stay Awesome Jill

Let’s Go Out

On my first day at the orphanage I was given a crash course of exactly what could happen if  anything goes wrong. I was also told that many children have HIV and that I must always take major precautions while dealing with each child because everyone should be treated the same. At the same time I was told the volunteers are allowed to take the children out on day outings to have some fun. Due to the importance of everything else told to me I completely did not pay attention to the day outing information.  About two weeks ago, I become aware that at any moment the volunteers can take a child out as long as its cleared by management.

Here are the pictures from my two outings, one to the beach and the other to a big play house. The children I chose to go on these trips were not the  “ideal” choice. Because of their disabilities they can be considered “hard to handle” quiet at times, unresponsive, and somewhat whinny. To my surprise, both of these trips were absolutely amazing. The reason I chose these two children was to give them an opportunity to see the world outside of the orphanage. Even with their perceived difficulties, they needed a chance to go out.

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Beach Time

Outing #2 Bugz Big Play Park

 

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the covered playground area outside

The attachment that has grown in my heart for these kids is unbelievable. Every time someone stares while we are out in public causes me to protect their little hearts. Due to their age, they do not understand some of the looks they receive because of the tantrums and behaviors they show in public. I know cannot protect them from everything, but I will definitely try my best.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome,

Jill

I’m Uncomfortable

 

hospitalTwo crying babies, 2 high fevers, 5 babies just got admitted in the middle of the night, 6 roaches keep coming up to me saying “hi” and I’m uncomfortable. This may be my “first world problems” kicking in, but I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because an eight year old girl across the way, who is a regular here by herself for days at a time. Her teeth are incredibly skinny and missing because she lacks calcium in her diet. I’m uncomfortable because it’s 30 C (80ish degrees) and the nurses say they aren’t turning on the air conditioner even though that’s their job. I’m uncomfortable because I don’t want to wake up with a roach on my face, nor my child crying because something is wrong and I’m too asleep to realize it.
It’s feeding time now for the babies so now everyone is awake. Luckily my baby girl isn’t bottle feeding and can continue to stay asleep. It took 45 minutes to put her back to sleep last time after she was awaken for her temperature to be taken. It’s time tohospitla 2 feed the babies milk, no worries, bottle or breastfeeding isn’t allowed here. A cup is provided with warm milk and the babies must drink up. It’s 3:30 a.m. now “mommy wash the babies.” As every one scrambles to wake up, and find soap as I walk to get the silver bin to start washing my baby girl. At 3:30 in the morning no one is too happy to be up, I still haven’t been to sleep, going on 18 hours of being awake. Luckily baby girl woke up in a cheerful mood regardless of the time; smiling and brightening up my day. Now it’s back to sleep the babies go, at 4:30 my eyes become heavy and I can no longer stay awake, I sleep for 45 minutes. The doctors wake me to take her temperature one more time it’s 36 degrees C, due to my lack of knowledge of celcisus I ask is she running a temperature what are we going to do. The doctor looked at me like, “calm down she is normal.”
6 o clock came around fast, now it’s feeding time for the older ones.hospital 3 The nurse came around handing porridge and yelling Afrikaans to me to take the sugar. I was alarmed and confused until she realized I didn’t speak Afrikaans. It is difficult at times looking like a native because everyone just assumes I speak the language.
Many doctors asked “Are you her mommy?
Me: “No I’m the guardian”
Doctor: “Where is her mommy call her here.”
Me: “Um I can’t she lives in a orphanage.”
Everyone assumed baby girl was really my baby, that conversation became more and more awkward every time for me. The last few hours crept up on me slowly. The mothers began conversing with each other and the nursing staff stayed. Although, I was only there for 18 hours; there were many mothers that had been there for as long as five days straight.
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In no way am I saying the hospital doing a great job taking care are of these babies. I am simply outlining the differences between an American hospital and this particular hospital in Cape Town. The nurses were pleasant and once they found out I was American enjoyed talking to me and helping me out. Yes, I was uncomfortable the entire day, but knowing I was there to comfort baby girl it was all worth it. After being up for 30 hours semi-straight I could lay my head with out worrying about roaches.
(None of these pictures are of my baby girl, I can not say her name)
 Until next Time,
Stay Awesome
Jill

Plans Change

4 months in South Africa is not enough time in this beautiful country. Although I’m in Cape Town for such a long period of time it is also very short time to see the country. As usual my fellow house sisters and I planned every second of our upcoming weekend. Happy and excited for the weekend to come, those plans had to change. One of the younger kids in group A, Nadine (one and a half years old), is in the hospital and has been in for about a week now. She was scheduled to stay in the hospital alone to receive treatment for 10 days. The orphanage did not have the funds nor ability to have a staff member on duty the entire time while she was there. Once the volunteers from that group found out they immediately took action and developed a schedule so Nadine would not be alone at the hospital. This schedule included 17 to 24 hour shifts, day and night in order to accompany her. Due to sickness or weekend plans there are not enough people to split the shifts any other way.

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Immediately my thoughts started racing. First, no one no matter what age likes to be in the hospital alone. Once I was in the hospital for two hours by myself and I felt like crying. I  can only imagination what a baby who doesn’t fully understand feels. She only wants to be comforted and loved through the entire experience. Secondly, I commend the volunteers for taking it upon themselves to do something about the issue. On the other hand, they shouldn’t over extend themselves and need a helping hand; therefore no matter what I had planned this weekend could be cancelled. My heart yearns to be there for Nadine just as I like to be there for my kids at the medical clinics. It doesn’t matter if I am sitting there for hours to see the doctor, but for the child to know someone is there for them is more important.

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I am learning the art of sacrifice, dedication, and consistency that some of these kids need in their life. Their entire life has been made of disappointments and being alone. Now is the time that disappointment to end and help them gain the trust back. When the definition of being spoiled equals 10 minutes of one on one attention, my heart is saddened.  I have so much love for these kids and I want each and every one of them to feel that love.  Today a staff member said to me, “I do not want to be at this place the day you leave, because you have touched so many kids in different ways that it’s going to be heart breaking.” It’s going to tough, but luckily we don’t have to think about that right now.

(Pictures were from my second trip to the clinic.)

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome,

Jill

 

To the Doctors We Go

As I sat in the hospital clinic for three hours waiting to see a nurse, there were many different types of people around me.  I was in the clinic with one of my kids, Pearle, who was born extremely underweight.  Every month she is required to see the nurse to get vitamin tablets and to have her weight monitored.  Pearle is a petite young girl.  I never suspected that she was underweight. Due to complications from her birth, she has significant developmental delays.  She is about two and a half years old.  She has verbal delays and is not potty trained.  Many of the children at the home have similar difficulties due to the volatile nature of their short lives.  They have speech delays, milestone delays with motor skills and emotional immaturity.  The emotional impact of their situation takes a toll.

As I sat and waited for the nurse, I watched others in the room.  Cute children kept staring at me.  Here are some pictures: (None of these pictures are of my little Pearle)

Siblings sitting next two each other.

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This baby had the most adorable smile I have ever seen.

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This little girl was modeling for me.

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The doctor’s visit was long and tiresome, but Pearle is slowly gaining weight.  I was happy for some good news.

Until Next Time,

Stay Awesome.

Jill

 

 

My dreams are now my Reality

I am living my dreams out. For years I imagined what it would be like to travel abroad and to help other while I am there. Exploring Cape Town is amazing.  I am enjoying meeting all the different people from different walks of life.  I have been in South Africa for about a month now and things couldn’t be any  better.  I have wondered if people think I am having too much fun, and not doing enough volunteer work.  Here are my thoughts on that; I came to South Africa to help, develop, love and care for my kids.  I also came to South Africa to be immersed  in the culture, to learn about what makes this country amazing, and to appreciate life in my motherland.  Therefore, I am taking an opportunity to do all of this.  South Africa has taught me several things that I can implement into my everyday life.12735720_1096635057044030_814386520_n

  1. I can play hard, but work harder.  Working in an emotionally draining environment can affect your emotional health and the quality of work.  I have fallen completely head over heels in love with my kids. When I am out of sorts, they can pick me up and brighten up my day in an instant. They can make my troubled heart melt with a smile.  I have found my calling in life. Yes, this is not a job that pays a lot, nor a job that is always rewarding with happy endings, but this is a job that I absolutely love.
  1. Asking for help is okay.  Although South Africa is an English speaking country, the simplest tasks have become difficult.  People do not always understand my dialect of English or my accent is too strange; therefore I have to explain things a bit more. Whether it was to help me with my kids or help me pick out a product; I have found that asking for help from people is necessary.
  1. Americans are privileged.  In South Africa there is such a large gap between the “middle class” and the “poor.” There are people living in a small four wall house made out of tin metal with at least 8 people residing inside ( below is a picture those are houses).  Many people are begging on the street asking for food and money.  There are areas in town where I must be extremely careful because people will mug me just for my cell phone.  I have learned that I would never travel with an IPhone again to a country that majority of the people cannot afford one.  American Privilege, allows you to take advantage of things that make life easier such as a washer and dryer, 3 day mail service, air conditioning and unlimited WiFi.  My experience volunteering here has made me more sensitive to the luxuries that many people around the world do not have.12714342_1097584710282398_965429818_n
  1. Exploring is a must. Getting lost in Cape Town for hours, seeing an amazing view at Lion’s Head or trying sandboarding with new friends are all a part of what makes this trip awesome.  I find it very important to explore where I am volunteering to understand and experience the culture more.  While I build the structure for Something Amazing, I will always have activities and outings for the participants to see other parts of the country in which they are volunteering.

 

My list of things I have learned could go on for miles (or kilometers, something else I had to learn). I will continue to add to this list as my trip progresses. I am extremely proud of how Something Amazing and I have grown since the beginning of this trip.  I cannot wait to experience more.

Something Amazing has been extremely busy with mapping out ways to help Christine Revel Orphanage and details on ways to help will be available shortly.

Stay awesome.

In the presence of greatness

The kids here are very clever.  They know the difference between a volunteer and a staff member.  Granted we do have different accents, but the respect level is completely different.  They will test and try every single volunteer, but wouldn’t dare try a staff member.  This effects doing the simplest task, such as going to the toilet.12722091_1096634943710708_1395377967_n  They will kick, scream, hit, cuss and all sorts of things before simply going to the toilet.  Lately the older kids have influenced my group into saying cuss words.  I cannot say this word, because I do not know what it means and I cannot spell it.  It is extremely difficult trying to accomplish activities when three kids are crying, two kids are running around not listening, two kids are just staring and just four kids are actually trying to do the planned activity.

Now I know I am working with a difficult age group, anywhere between the ages of two and three and a half years old.  Most two to four year olds will not listen to anything someone tells them, but there are more factors that contribute here.  The difficulty lies between the language barrier (Afrikaans and English) and the large mental delays that many of these children face.  They spend the majority of their important developmental years in a place where they do not get the average parental contact, love, and discipline. Along with many other things effect the way the children act.  The staff 12735720_1096635057044030_814386520_nmembers do the best they can in order to give the children the correct discipline, love and everything that they need, but it is hard.  For example, one staff member in the morning is in charge of bathing, dressing and feeding 15 kids in about a two hours’ time.  Even for a super mom this would be hard.  The other obstacle is the mental delays.  Many of my kids act as though they are one and a half years old.   I’ve found out that one of my kids, Kyle, a 3-year-old boy that doesn’t talk.  He only says “no” and cries a lot.  His developmental struggles come from his mother drinking alcohol when she was pregnant.

These children have so many obstacles and barriers.   They must fight to get over their challenges and still find the ways to smile, laugh and play.  They do not know the battle in which lies ahead, but I know they will overcome them. Every day I hug each kid very tight.  I play with them while they sit on my lap and I think to myself;

“You are strong,12746287_1096634683710734_380511176_n

You are brave,

You can overcome anything,

You can do whatever you put your mind to”

If no one else believes in them, I know that I believe in them.  Each day I hug:  doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, nurses, soccer players, and astronauts. The road in front of them is not easy, but it is just one step closer to greatness for them.

Until next time, stay awesome! Jill Bundy