Reflections from an orphanage trip
On January 19, 2013, I had the pleasure of accompanying a group of our community members and other volunteers in a bus trip to Casa Hogar Sion Orphanage.
There were a total of 12 members from our community on this visit, and by God’s Grace we had an enjoyable experience during the entire trip. Once in the orphanage, there were craft and game activities arranged by some of the volunteers that created a fun atmosphere for volunteers and kids to mingle: there was face painting, fake jewelry making, origami and jenga games as well as one on one quality time between kids and volunteers. Some volunteers also helped with preparing and serving lunch.
Everybody had a great time, and we learned about the history of Corazon de Vida Foundation. Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, the founder accompanied us in the bus and shared her life story. She had been in an orphanage in Baja, Mexico as a child. Later in life, she decided to give back by helping orphans in similar establishments. It was a touching and heartwarming story.
These children showed a lot of generosity, sharing, caring and love towards one another and everyone around them. Thank God for providing us the opportunity to see this up close and to experience the practical application of some of His beautiful commandments.
This was a community effort. Many individuals supported this event in one or more ways: coming on the trip, participating in the fundraising car wash, donating money and giving input regarding how best to use the donations gathered to benefit the orphans. By God’s grace, we were able to raise more than $1,500 for this cause. After consultation, part of this money was provided to Corazon de Vida foundation and the remainder was used to buy food and supplies for the orphanages.
I am grateful to everyone who was a part of this effort and to God, the Most Gracious, for His support and for
making this possible. May He help our community engage in ways that would help us grow our souls together and strengthen our bonds of unity.
The trip to the orphanage was a moving experience for me as well. I could see evidence of the human condition and struggle in some. Yet, it was amazing to see the apparent open hearts, curiosity, willingness to help and eagerness to learn of other children and to hear about their dreams. One girl shared that she wants to be a doctor. Another wants to study criminology. We also saw 5 young adults who are still living at the orphanage who are either University or medical students (3 University students and 2 medical students). In return for the support, they work at the orphanage. It seems that it is a very busy life for them as they juggle school and work. It was inspiring to see them reach this level of accomplishment and strive for a better life with meager means and support.
It was also touching to see how they embraced life and cared for each other and to hear about their generosity despite how little they have. One girl was keeping another girl who was not feeling well company upstairs in the dormitory room for part of the day while the rest were downstairs engaged in activities and playing. During our tour, we also heard the story that sometimes orphan children were dropped off at night and found themselves in the middle of the dormitory room as there was not enough space in the orphanage. Some of the children that were already there would come to them and bring them their doll (perhaps their only belonging) in an effort to welcome and comfort them. They may have been received in this way when they arrived at the orphanage.
In addition, it was fun to interact with the kids including participating in face painting and jewelry making (made a bracelet for the girl that wants to be a doctor) and talking to them and encouraging them.
It was also heartwarming to see God's signs on this trip. A sister shared that the bus pulled into the parking lot to
pick us up at 8:19 a.m. A brother shared this regarding the date of our trip: 1/19/13: 1+19+2013 = 2033 = 19 x 107. Praise and glory be to God.
Thank God for this special experience and opportunity to put some of the verses in the Quran about orphans into practice. Also, thanks to our brother who organized this trip and to the sisters and brothers who came and helped make it a positive, good experience.
For anyone interested in attending a trip arranged by Corazon de Vida Foundation, their website is: trip and events
Corazon de Vida is a non-profit organization that supports multiple orphanages in Baja. More information is at: www.corazondevida.org
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[4:36] You shall worship GOD alone―do not associate anything with Him. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the traveling alien, and your servants. GOD does not like the arrogant showoffs.
[2:215] They ask you about giving: say, "The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien." Any good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.
[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.
[3:104] Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners.