Location: Baotou

Today we arrived at Baotou at 7 am; we woke up to the children laughing and clapping in the next cabin over. After a long train ride, we were all super tired and were ready to reach the hotel. We met the ayis at the exit of the train station to take Jiang Jiang and Mungyi back to the orphanage where we would be serving at later in the day. After saying bye to the kiddos, we took to taxi back to the hotel to shower and get ready for a day of service. Taylor and I were lucky and got our room early and were able to have extra time to relax. After our break, we headed down to the orphanage to meet all the new children that we would be playing with for the next few days. Once we arrived, we were so happy that the orphanage had an extremely friendly atmosphere. After a short orientation from the director, who was excited to have a volunteer group come and help out for the first time, we headed to the dining room for lunch while the children were napping. Since the kids nap until about two, we had some spare time to explore the grounds or take a nap in the conference room. Since the weather was so nice Taylor, Drew, and I chose to walk around to find a place to relax. After talking for about an hour, we were called back in as the kids started waking up. We split into two different groups: one went with the younger kids and the other with the three and four-year-olds. I chose to start with the babies, and I got to hold a little girl who was entertained by almost anything. She never stopped smiling. After about an hour passed, it was time to switch, and I headed downstairs to join the toddlers. Once I entered the room, I was surprised by how many kids were there but they all seemed to be happy and playing well with each other. Although many of them were not very strong and could not walk or talk yet, they were all overjoyed to have new playmates and those that couldn’t get up loved to just sit in our laps and be tickled or talked to. One little girl was especially fun to play with; she would plop down in anyone’s lap and start laughing or trying to get them to help her walk around the room to find her rocking horse, which she proceeded to fall asleep on twenty minutes later. At about 4:30 pm we headed back to the hotel with the takeout dinner that the orphanage gave us. We all met in the dining room and ate and talked about the day before having some free time to relax and take it easy since the other days have been tiring — some of stayed at the hotel and relaxed in our rooms while others went and explored a nearby park.