I write this today as I write so many of these – with tears in my eyes. I’ve been readying myself for my impending trip to Indonesia. It’s not about suitcases and passports, although clearly these are on the list to do. In my preparation I’ve found the need to attempt to harden my heart just slightly so the human face of what we need to do doesn’t destroy me.
I’ve been aware right from the very first day that when I am faced with 100 starving children I have no idea how I will be able to choose 10. And I know that when my 10 beds are full and someone comes to me beaten and starving I won’t know how to say no.
We’ve always managed our family with the principal that there is always room for one more. I am done with having children physically but I still have the emotional capacity for more. I knew that, even though when Charlie was born, I would never have the “joy” of being pregnant, giving birth or breastfeeding again. I was equally as adamant however that I would certainly be a mother again, in some form. Whilst I won’t be directly responsible for raising the orphanage children, the responsibility for ensuring they survive financially and spiritually rests firmly with me.
Just as a side note – this is as surreal and incomprehensible for me as it probably is to you. If you’d told me 5 years ago I’d be getting on a plane in 2010 to pick which children to save, I wouldn’t have believed you. Heck, if you had told me 1 year ago I’d be building an orphanage I probably still would have backed away slowly. And it’s not because I wouldn’t have wanted to, I just wouldn’t have believed it was possible.
What changed? Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like I wasted 10 years of my life, but what ever it did, it gave me enough strength to believe in myself and humanity to be standing here today.
So in my preparation I’ve been reading, researching, watching documentaries and films, and trying to visualise to understand what these children go through. So the impact doesn’t kill me on the spot, so I can still breathe when the night falls and I know the faces I’ve seen are still out there. And what I’ve seen is hell. What I’ve seen has given me nightmares from which I can’t awake. What I’ve seen has made me so sad…as sad and as desperate as I’ve needed to be to do what I have to do.
Having children of my own, in nearly every age bracket, makes quantifying things so much easier for me. I can read about a child of 10 and look at my 10 year old and imagine. I can look at my 3 year old, or my 14 year old. And ironically, each of these ages represents a child I have read about sold into the Indonesian child sex trade.
Boys, girls, adolescents, babies, teens – this grotesque and heinous industry doesn’t discriminate. It’s an inconceivable nightmare which I can’t begin to comprehend, and for those not bought and sold, there’s still no safety with children being raped as they sleep on the streets at night.
When I started this blog, I asked you to visualise your child. I asked you to visualise taking your child into a crowded place and walking away from them in the desperate hope that someone would save them. I asked you to imagine the desperation that must consume you, the knowledge that if they stay with you, they will surely die of starvation, and the faith that you must have to possess in humanity to believe that they will be saved. I’m not going to ask you to visualise the unthinkable because it’s exactly that.
All I’m going to do is ask you… no, beg you…I still haven’t worked out how I will cope with the guilt of leaving behind those I can’t afford to save. All I can think to do is focus on those that I can and be thankful for whatever changed in my life to allow me to be here.
I have no money but I give to these children my heart, my soul…my me. Every single ounce of compassion and love I possess.
A lovely friend of mine recently lost someone very dear to her, as a result of her loss she is contributing financially to help save these children. Project 18 has recently added sponsorship packs to the website to allow you to purchase some of the many items we need to keep these children fed, safe and educated for 12 months. For every one of these packs we sell, this beautiful lady will buy 2 more of the same value. She doesn’t seek recognition, she just wants the loss of this person to have meaning.
So my plea is simple, honest and straight forward. It’s a plea as much for me as it is for these children. Please buy a pack and give me the ability to say no to one less child. Packs start at just $10AU and can be found here.
PS: Project 18 prides itself in the fact that none of the money we have raised to date has been consumed by administration and my trip to Indonesia in June will be entirely self-funded. We guarantee that every dollar you spend is going directly to these children.