St-Francis of Sales

Last night we went to the mission in Ivato near the airport, where I was first brought when I came last Friday.

It was around 6PM when we got there and as soon as i got out of the car, 20 or so of the little interns (orphans) i had met the week before came running towards me.

"Andria!!!! Bonjour Andria!!!!"

I had met them for no longer than 10 mins last time but they remebered my name ( i almost cried). They almost knocked me down when they got to me. After a few hugs and kisses i had to direct them to a classroom for a play/singing rehearsal. I sat there with 3kids on each arm, 2 on each lap, in complete chaos!!! Everyone running around screaming..... one of the other volunteers leaned over and said this is what the next 4 months of my life we're going to be like.... what have I gotten myself into?

Then the bells rang and everyone started running towards the chapel. Once inside the chapel, the children all genuflex, crossed themselves and quietly took their seats. Were these the same kids as 5 minutes ago?

The service is given by a salesian priest in malagasy. He gives his sermon down from the alter. He looks at the children in the eyes and calls them by name. He tells the story of St-Francis and of how Jesus loves each and everyone one of them.

As the service went on, one of the little girls fell asleep...she must have been 4. As one of the older kids went to wake her up, the priest said: "Mais non laissez-la dormir, elle est toute petite et Dieu est heureux qu?'elle est si confortable dans sa maison!".

Then like flies, one by one they all fell asleep until it came time to sing. The children joined hands and sang with all their heart. They sang soooo well, i couldn't get over it (i almost cried).

Once the service was over, the kids went to hug the priest and the sisters from visiting schools. They all kissed me goodnight and went to their dorms.

Some of these children were found by the sisters in the worst of conditions, some were left by the parents in garbage bins when they were no older than 3.

The salesian school of thought is to teach through love as St-Francis of sales preached. Furthermore, the sisters here are sisters of Don Bosco who preached that children should never be handled with harshness or violence but always with love. In fact at the schools they cannot, unless under extreme circumstaces, even punish children.

The idea is that we are all born good and then we become what out environment dictates and aside from the obvious needs, the children here need to feel loved.


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