An Inside Look at Orphanage Heartbreak from Samoa - by Michelle Jordan

So, I’m sitting here in the bus on my lonesome.  Contemplating where we have just been and where we are now. Feeling very emotional – very angry, very sad, very teary.  And I’ll tell you why.

This morning we made a visit to an orphanage where children of sexual abuse are calling home.  To say this was confronting is an understatement.  A MASSIVE understatement.

These beautiful children “look” normal in every way.  But they each have a very dark story.  An intolerable story of sexual abuse.  Something that we all back in Australia would feel so angered at that we would want to hurt the people that do this to these beautiful children.

Because, in Samoa, it’s not the perpetrators fault – it’s these kids.  These kids are disowned by their families and sent from their homes.  It’s their fault.  Because them speaking out brings so called shame upon the family.  These poor little children from babies – yes babies – to 20 years old are vilified and outcast.  For me, this goes against everything that I have been brought up to believed.

These are babies that don’t even know how to sexually abuse someone let alone that it’s actually called sexual abuse.

The fathers, the grandfathers, the uncles, the brothers – these are the so-called victims of these children.  My head can’t get around this.  It cannot accept that these people think it’s okay to play the victim.

In Australia, these people would be in prison.  The kids would be receiving help from our communities to rebuild their lives and move forwards. To be able to stay with their other family members, to be nurtured, to be loved.  This is how it should be.

But in Samoa, these kids are sent away.  Outcast.  Nowhere to go.  No family.  Sometimes impregnated.  No support.

They are lucky if the police and government step in and prosecute the (insert whatever word you choose to describe these monsters cause I can’t put on paper what I really want them to be called).  If they are prosecuted, the kids can never return to their family as they have bought them shame.

This is where Mumma and her beautiful helpers step in.  She gives them a safe place, a loving place, hope.  She teaches them the basics like a, b, c and 1, 2, 3 cause most of them have never been to school. She empowers them to pick themselves up and move forward. To stick together, to love again, to live life because there is always hope.  Always a dream.  No matter what.

We met a beautiful young lady who has been in the orphanage for a few years now.  She is around 20 years old now.  And a Commonwealth Games champion.  She won gold in the clean and jerk at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this year.  

She lifts with this mantra going through her head – 

Each time I lift, I am raising each and every one of my   family at the orphanage up.
Each time I drop, I am ridding us of the bad

She has Mumma as her vision, as her saviour.  And dedicates every lift to her “family”.

This beautiful young lady got herself to the Games with the support of the Orphanage.  No government help or funding.  Nothing.  To say she is inspirational is very much an understatement.

The beautiful people that we met sang and danced and gave 500% of their hearts to us when performing.  Our slack old culture could only come up with singing the national anthem.  A bit pathetic given the fact that they gave us everything they had.  

Our young people got to play and talk with the kids.  Each and every one of us embraced their need for love, for cuddles, for touching and feeling.  Something we all take for granted and don’t show very much at home.  

Another dark side of when some girls are brought into the orphanage is that they are pregnant.  12 years old.  13 years old.  Going to give birth.  They’re not going to be a Mum.  Cause they don’t want the child.  They give birth and that’s it.  So mentally and emotionally tortured. No breastfeeding. No cuddles. No love.  Because half the time they don’t even know they are pregnant.  They are babies themselves, exposed to adult acts and responsibilities at a way too young age.

We met a young lady – 13 years old – who gave birth to a beautiful baby boy at the orphanage 2 weeks ago. I was drawn to this little fellow instantly.  So precious. So perfect. So alone. A child born out of something so vile, yet he is the innocent party.  Needless to say I was ready to strap him to me and bring him home.  To give him a taste of life so different to what is the norm in Samoa.  

Mia and Billy had beautiful cuddles.  With lots of requests to bring him home as the brother that Billy so desperately needs.  Lots of tears from Billy when we were leaving.  So distraught and upset and wanting to love and to give to this precious little bundle. It ripped my heart in two and brings me a river of tears each time I look at Billy’s little face with the pleading eyes.  He has so much love to give.  Hold onto this love son and you will be able to give it when your time comes.

There are 4 babies at the orphanage at the moment from our little 2 week old bundle to an approximately 3 month old little boy who was left on the doorstep of the orphanage not that long age.  A 4 month old boy with the biggest, wide open brown eyes I have ever seen. And a 9 month old little spunk of a boy that will be a smoocher when he grows up.  All 4 babies with a story.  All ready to go to a loving home.

I must say that my heart feels very torn, very broken, weeping like I’ve never experienced before.  A ray of hope for these kids is the fact that they have Mumma.  Without her and her passion, I know where these kids would be and that’s not a place I’m going to write down.  Call it denial.  I call it self-protection from the nightmares. The horror.

Reflecting on this morning’s visit has impacted me more than I would have thought.  What can I do? What can we all do? The answer to these questions I am not sure.  I know that the work that Mumma is doing is helping.  I’ve seen it. But what can I do? I don’t know exactly but the answer will come to me when I least expect it to.

But I’m going to start with purring more time into my family.  Show them the raw and emotional side of love. Teach them to be loved and to love with all their heart. Teach them that family is good and not to be feared. Always there to be relied upon no matter what age and stage of life you are at.

Then I thought I might like to gather some basics, some essentials for these young kids and bubs, and send them over to Samoa.  Give them somethings that we take for granted. That’s a start.  Then I’ll figure some other things out from there.  But I definitely know these beautiful young people are forever grateful. Forever appreciative for our gifts to them.

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Brian Kerle Basketball