SMILING CHILDREN AMONG THE MOUNTAINS
I’ve been thinking about the point of it all, lately…
What is the point of going to the mountains, in the end?
Ed Hillary once said “you really climb for the hell of it.”
But do we? For the second time in my life, I had the feeling like I wasn’t climbing just for the hell of it.
Over the last weekend, I had the privilege and pleasure to spend time in the mountains with 23 children. Ordinary kids, wild kids, kids that run and laugh and play…kids full of joy and LIFE. If I didn’t know they come form orphanages, foster families or from parents who barely make ends meet, I’d have never made the difference. When I was their age, I was just the same…
The better term would probably be young men and women though…Some of them might have been barely 10, but most were aged 14 to 17. They held each other quite close and were always proactive, initiative, and had an unquenchable thirst for the mountains and life.
For most of these children, it was their first time ever, going into the outdoors. To them, it was the first time they had traveled or been on vacation…think about it…how old were you when your parents took you on a vacation to the seaside or mountains?
I tried to imagine what they must be feeling, I tried to put myself in their shoes but truth is, I just couldn’t and I will never be able to. I was blessed with a happy and easy childhood. But when I look into their eyes and smiles, I see how life should be lived – with laughter and a smile in the face of any challenge imaginable.
These kids, they don’t have a happy life by default. They make it so! They are doing their best with whatever they are given.
What comes to my mind is a very popular saying here at home for just such cases – “Making paint out of farts.”
For three days we kept the kids busy with outdoor activities, we talked about dreams and showed them a world where their everyday problems simply didn’t exist. However, when I talked to the guys at the NGO that helped us find the children, I kept asking myself – is there really any point to all of this? Is there any point in kidnapping them from reality for a few days, only to toss them back right into the lion’s den?
I may be a dreamer, but the practicalities of the reality these children live in are no stranger to me. Despite our efforts, the institutions and administration responsible for the life of these children cause a vast number of setbacks, delays, false adoptions, great emotional stress…you name it! A big fuck-off slap in the face! All of this was pounding on my head with a huge sign reading “IT’S BLOODY POINTLESS!”
So I asked myself again – is there any point, really!?
The answer however, came not from within, but from the children.
All of them were asking “When are we seeing each other again?”, “We want to be in the mountains again”, “Can we come again anytime soon?”, “And when are we going to climb to that big summit over there?”…
In just three short days, their fearful look before a challenge turned into determination. There was no need of words when the little ones needed help overcoming fear. The older boys turned into men and seized any change to help the younger kids overcome obstacles. And the young ladies became ever more confident whether jumping rivers or climbing the steeps.
So I ask, once more. Is there a point?
When you see the energy in their eyes, the joy in their smiles and when you see them pulling a cart loaded with kids across the meadow, all giggling and falling over, when you see them run and laugh and when you see them playing in the tent…when you see each and every one of them just want to LIVE…then there can be no other answer different from YES!
There is a point! And there always will be!
We opened a gate for these children. One they never really suspected of existing. And from here on, god help anybody who stands in their way when they decide to pass on through!
We laid the foundations of something very interesting and genuinely good. And we will continue, ever better!
See you soon, kids!
If you want to help the cause of ensuring children in poor families stay with their parents, go over to chilipepperscause.eu!