Location: China

Last night the first of many night shifts at the Little Flower baby home commenced. Bella, Sami, Keno, Jamie and I volunteered to work this shift and arrived at 8:30. We started work straight away, splitting our group between the toddlers and the babies, helping the Ayis to prepare them for bed and attempt to put them to sleep. Through the night we stayed with the babies upstairs; comforting them when they awoke in the early hours, feeding them and helping and bonding with the Ayis that worked there. Although we had a lack of sleep, it became irrelevant as we were able to learn and understand the amount of effort and care that is required, and put in by those that work at the orphanage during only one night with the babies. I was able to understand just how much the Ayis work for the children, and the fact that we were all falling asleep on the way back to the hotel this morning shows how much they put in every day and night. The ability to have this experience allowed us to understand the babies needs, become closer with them and to meet other children in the orphanage whose rooms we were not allowed in during the day.

In the morning those that had gone to the night shift were allowed time to sleep and shower, while the rest of the group went to the school and worked and played with the older kids. After lunch, we headed to the Art District in the city. The Art District was comprised of old weaponry warehouses that had been converted into exhibition halls to display the art. Not only was the art in the larger exhibit hall fascinating and unique to China, but there were also smaller exhibition rooms hidden down the side streets, with varying pieces of art.

After our game of charades at dinner, we celebrated Sami’s Birthday. Blindfolding her and leading her to a Karaoke room was an amazing surprise for all of us, and we all had a great time singing and dancing together for hours. We all greatly appreciated this surprise the counselors organized for us and made sure everyone had a chance to sing and have fun. Tomorrow we all look forward to heading to Xi’an.