We are proud to announce that the Teen Volunteer Service Camp at the Wulanchabu Children's Welfare Institute in Inner Mongolia, China was a success!!! Two group of CAWLI adoptees traveled to China this summer and lived in the orphanage for 3 weeks. The girls helped with child care, gardening, cooking, and teaching English. They installed two water systems at the orphanage, so that children can have a drink of water whenever they want now. They donated new dishes and chop sticks, and bought fresh fruit and eggs for the children to enjoy. They saw Beijing and went on field trips during the weekends. The orphanage was very grateful for the work the girls did! They compiled a couple of videos here:
Here is Lillian's report
Service Camp Report
September 8, 2015 by
July 10 through August 20 of 2015, our agency
organized two groups of adoptees to work in the Wulanchabu Children’s Welfare
Institute. Twenty-three CAWLI teens participated in total, and both groups each
spent three weeks in China. They climbed the Great Wall and visited the
Forbidden City and also visited the grassland and some ancient Buddhist sites.
Most importantly, they worked in the orphanage and spent a lot of time with the
children in the orphanage. It is intense in many ways and I am very proud of
the girls and very thankful to their parents. It is a privilege to have the
chance to know you all! I am also very thankful to our two incredible
chaperones, Dr. Rumberger and Matthew Werth. They made the service camps a
great experience for all of us who had the good luck to get involved.
I have been home for more than two months now but this
experience is still fresh in my mind. A lot of details come to me at midnight.
The worries. The laughter. The food making. The sweat in the potato field. I
miss all the children in the orphanage. I miss all the girls who participated
in the camp.
Before writing this report, I went through the board
meeting minutes. How much our board had put into this project! I went through
all the training and travel meeting minutes in the six months before July 10,
2015. How much Julie had put into this project! We visit the blogs often, just
imagine how much work Ali put into this! I recall all the phone conversations
with the parents and my own struggle back and forth with this undertaking. It
indeed takes all of us to do a project like this! I want to thank all of you
for the success of the project!
We Helped the Orphanage
It is the first time, not just for us but also for the
orphanage, to suddenly have groups of American girls and Chinese orphans living
so closely together in a confined small area for three weeks for each group. We all saw with our own eyes the different
systems and their impact on individual lives. Our girls are all taller,
stronger, better educated, and articulate and purpose oriented. Yes, the daily activities seemed to be
designed for much younger children, but, as Dr. Rumberger said, it was good for
our girls because their childhood was way too short. Our girls are all
American: working hard, playing hard, treating the orphanage children with
respect and love, helping them with English and many other activities. The interesting thing is that by the end of
the service camp, many orphanage children wanted to be adopted into the
“sisters’ families”. We do not know what the term AMERICA means to the
orphanage children but it must be very good now that they met all of these good
The second group of girls had a chance to work in the
potato field. The soil was hard like clay. The weeds were big with thorns. Our
girls had no gloves or tools. They worked so hard! Hands got hurt, no
complaints. It was hot around noon time, no complaints. Even the orphanage
director felt sorry and praised the girls in their meetings. The field was all
clean in seven days!
The three meals each day in the orphanage were quite
plain. We walked to the local supermarket to buy water, diapers, fruits and
eggs for the orphanage children and there was no car to help us. Our girls made
trips every day and carried all the good stuff to the orphanage. The orphanage
children were not allowed to leave but they always greeted us from their windows.
They loved our girl so much that they always put a lot of rice on the plate for
our girls. I still remember how our girls ran and how they carried the heavy
bags. I still remember how Linny and Molly rushed to the supermarket to get candy
in twenty minutes for the birthday party. You are the very best, our girls!
The orphanage was also in great need of more
diapers. We went to every department
store around to buy big batches of diapers. No single store had enough in stock
for us- we cleared out all of their shelves!
The orphanage staff were very appreciative. Same for the utensils. The bowls and
chopsticks were dirty so we cleared up many stores to get a set of stainless
utensil for each child.
It was the shared experience, the shared pain and
appreciation that bonded all of the children in this confined orphanage setting
together. When our girls were leaving,
every child in the orphanage asked me if they would come again. Many children
shouted “YOU COULD NOT LEAVE” to the van as it drove away.
Yes, the most impressive work was the water supply
system we helped instore in two children’s dorm buildings. The water is hard in
the northern part of China and the orphanage children had no drinking water.
The girls in the first group started a donation drive and got more than four
thousand dollars for the water supply project. Our agency donated additional
elven thousands to the funds and together we were able to purchase and to
install two German made industrial level water purifying systems in the boys’
and girls’ dorm buildings. Now the children can get cold and hot water right in
their residence. All of the children and the staff were very appreciative of
this help and the local newspaper and broadcast station all reported this
Grow With Our Experience
It is the first time our girls had an encounter with
their baby experience: What a typical orphanage looks like. What a child’s life
looks like growing up there. They have stared at the “Safety Island” at the
front gate. It was very emotional but also very close to their heart.
Our girls were more appreciative of their parents.
Most girls told me they appreciate being adopted and having their families.
They were excited and played daily with the children our agency was about to
place, and wished other older children would have the same opportunity. Some
girls wished to go to the reunion of the families who adopted from this
orphanage in the future and meet with the children again.
The first thing that touched our girls’ hearts was the
human spirit. In a confined depressing place like an orphanage – more than one
hundred eighty children, mixed age and needs; no personal belongings; not
allowed to leave, the children there still look happy and cheerful. The meals
look quite depressing but I heard no complaints by the children there. The children
and staff there looked positive and always busy with something. Some of our girls
told me that they felt relieved that the children in the orphanage were not
hungry or having other problems.
Our girls had a chance to see China, many of them for the
very first time. The Great Wall, the local temple, the small sandwich place,
the food stands on the street, etc. The wonder and imagination about China met
with some concrete answers and it was actually not that bad. If China somehow
is a small part of our self-esteem in sub-conscience, seeing all with our own
eyes served the purpose in a positive way.
In general, experiencing different lives and cultures
is the best way to build our world view and capability of understanding and
acceptance. To have this happen in mid teenage years is particularly important
as it is the most sensitive period in our lives.
Again, I want to thank all of you who helped and
participated in this project! Please feel free to visit the following