After I got some editing done and the kids were up from their naps, Courtney and I decided to surprise them with the art kits that Arterro generously donated. The kits were each very different, but mainly consisted of papers, beads and sequins, string, felt shaped objects and wire. They're meant for the kids to get as creative as they want - they can make little books, key chains, bracelets, origami, whatever. It was really cute, because at first they didn't really understand what to do with the kits - they were a little lost, but as soon as Courtney and I showed them the different possibilities, they got super into it! I showed a couple of boys how to make those brazilian bracelets by wrapping the string around your toe and everyone went nuts making bracelets. Communicating with the children is pretty difficult because only a couple speak a little English. Sign language comes in handy, but is never really 100% reliable.
I traded my makings with one of my favorite little boys and knotted his onto my prayer beads to keep forever. It was really well done! They all got amazingly creative and the objects they made were actually quite beautiful, their artistic sense was very impressive for children so young. Sidenote - a lot of the kids don't know their own birthdays or exact ages and were usually assigned one when they got to the orphanage...
After that it was time for the photo shoot. As Ream got the kids into their finest and cleanest attire, Courtney and I set up a mini studio on the back of the wall and used a reflector to pick up the remaining sunlight. The shoot was so much fun - all of the kids huddled around watching each model come up and make their moves. Most of the kids were really shy and sometimes awkward but we managed to tickle them and say funny things to make them more comfortable. I think they were a little nervous that everyone was watching them, but they were all having so much fun and giggling like mad. Overall, we accomplished about 20 portraits (the rest we will finish tomorrow). While I was editing them earlier, I was smiling the whole time and my heart got so warm and fuzzy, I am very happy with the work and I'm hoping to make a book with all the portraits next to a bio of each kid. Here are a few of my favorites as teasers. If you want to see the rest, you'll either have to buy a book when it's produced (all profits will go straight to the Greater Hope Orphanage) or come to the exhibit! :-)
Before dinner we played in the grass and did some monkey yoga moves. The kids are natural gymnasts and a bunch of them were going nuts doing headstands and chin balances - it was really impressive. They love to get physical with each other, but in a loving way - I haven't once seem them actually fight or be mean to each other, they're always hugging or helping each other, which is truly enlightening.
Dinner was delicious: a rice dish with greenbeans and some chicken soup, followed by fresh pineapple. Courtney and I PASSED OUT at 8:30. It's now 4am, and I've been awake since 2. Yep, talk about jetlag/screwed up schedule!