Waking the Senses

As you walk through the front door of Shining Light Children’s Home, your five senses are instantly awakened. You hear the cheerful sound of laughter and catch the gaze of curious eyes watching from every direction. As you step inside a little farther, you see a group of girls, around thirteen years old, drawing pictures, laughing, singing, and having fun. The clamor of banging pans echoes from the kitchen. Turning right, in the direction of the sound, several girls are cutting and cooking food in preparation for the next tasty meal. Before long, the delightful smell of rice and beans wafts down the hallway and into the room.

Through the window, you see children playing outside on the slides. One little girl, about seven years old, pushes her younger brother in a car around the playground. They have a little squabble, and a lady steps in to settle it. She's holding a baby boy, and he's trying to wiggle out of her arms. She bounces him a bit and readjusts him on her hip. Once the baby is calm and settled nicely in her arm, she proceeds to pick up the basket of laundry she was hanging out to dry and continue working with her one, free hand.

About a half hour goes by and people start to gather from every direction. The steaming food is set out on the counter, and the tables and chairs are pushed into place. It is quite loud while everyone is gathering, and you may even see a few of us seeking a quick moment of quiet and calm outside.

Once the tables and chairs are set in place, everyone takes a seat, and the house dad quiets everyone. He then selects a child to choose a prayer song to be sung together. Table by table, the line forms and everyone fills their plates with the delicious food set out before them. The volume in the room temporarily increases again as hungry babies begin to fuss while waiting for their caregivers to bring their plates of food. Soon, a soft hum of chatter fills the room as the children and caregivers dine together and satisfy their hunger after a busy day.

After the meal, everyone joins together to sing a song and to thank the cooks for the delicious meal. Chairs start to shuffle, and plates clatter as two caregivers and two girls begin washing dishes. In the background, you hear excited squeals of two, toddler best friends finding each other to play.

As the day winds down, you reflect on the many senses experienced throughout the day; including the peaceful sights, joyful sounds, delightful aromas, delicious tastes, and warm touches, and give thanks for the tremendous responsibility and reward of being part of Shining Light Children’s Home.