“Being immersed with school, work, and other worldly obligations, I felt that I didn’t have the time to appreciate many of the blessings surrounding me. My daily routine wore me out and made me feel empty inside, and I didn’t know what to do to break away from the mold. Until, I ended up at the GiveLight Orphanage in Indonesia. I had made a commitment to my Uncle Hassen to travel with him on a business trip to Indonesia during this time. My uncle had introduced me to all the wonderful work Dian and GiveLight have been doing so far, so the interest to visit the orphanage was there, but I never thought it would happen, even though we were scheduled to be in Indonesia. But that all changed when my uncle and I ran into Dian during the Friday prayer; it was the perfect opportunity to express our interest in visiting the orphanage.
As I exited the plane, an instant enthusiasm and energy rushed through my soul. Aceh was something different. The magnificent landscape truly left an imprint in my heart. There were miles and miles of beautiful, lush green mountains in the horizon with small puffy clouds perfectly resting below the mountain top. And, the air and its breeze were refreshing. Here is an Image of my first step in Aceh.
Some of the children from the Aceh home greeted us at the airport; the first thing I remember was their smiles. They were truly excited for our arrival.
I was so happy to have received such a warm welcome by the children. We were immediately treated like we were part of their family. Before going to the home, we were invited to explore some of the natural scenery in the area. I knew this trip was going change my life for the better. Laughing away and playing some fun games with the children, we were all having a great time on the way to our destination.
I felt like a child myself, as I was hanging my head out the window of the bus and enjoying the stunning views of one of God’s beautiful gifts to us, nature. We drove uphill for a short period until we arrived to the most amazing view ever!
I stood on top of a cliff, overlooking a magnificent valley with water sitting calmly between. Clouds were scattered throughout, and the village was right in front of me. It took me a good 20 minutes to take it all in because I had rarely seen such a beautiful sight. Every time I looked, I saw something different that made me appreciate the panaromic view even more. Below is a photo that does not due the view any justice, but one I cherish forever.
This view brought a sense of calmness and peace to my heart. We stayed there for as long as we could, but it was time to head out to the home. When the bus first pulled into the housing complex, I was pleasantly surprised. Before I saw what the house looked like, I kept my expectations low and thought it would be a rough stay. I could not have been more wrong. The housing complex was in the shape of a square castle with a prayer room at the center of the complex. The layout of the home was nicely designed and the home itself was kept up. The rooms were cleaner than my own room back at home! All the children and the members of the home rushed to greet and welcome us. I just couldn’t help notice and remember all their beautiful and never-ending smiles. During the first couple of hours of my arrival, we played games, drew pictures, ate a delicious meal, and went out for some shopping. Although we didn’t speak the same language, we understood each other and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.
After shopping, we got to explore the village more. We also went up on top of another mountain that overlooked the entire village. We all stood there admiring the landscape in such awe. I glanced over to the children and pondered about how much pain they had gone through; they have lost their homes, their parents and families, friends, and so much more, yet the magnificence of the view triggered a time of reflection for them. It was at that moment, I got inspired to let them know that “you can be whoever you want to be in this world.” Although they didn’t understand English, I knew they understood what I said. Here is a picture of the view.
Later that day, we all met in the main area of the house for a special presentation. We gathered in a circle while the children went through a program that they created especially for us.
The children performed ceremonial dances and sang songs. I remember the passion and effort these children put into their dances and songs, and it really hit home with me. It was a way to express themselves, and each child’s personality came out in full effect during their performances.
After their performances, it was our turn to speak. I remember holding the microphone and being silent for the first couple seconds. I was stunned by the fact that given the circumstances surrounding these children, they still have managed to give me the best day of my life. I thanked every child and adult individually for giving me a life changing experience. I found my motivation in life, which was to be as happy as these children.
As we departed from the home, tears started flowing from my eyes. I will forever cherish the memories, laughs, beautiful scenery, and friendly environment. The most memorable part of the entire trip was their smiles; even though the children endured so much hardship in their lives, you cannot see it in their faces, they smiled profusely throughout my two-day stay. A friend recently asked me to describe the children’s state at the GiveLight home, the word I used was happy. In our own lives, we are blessed to have our family to come home to every day, a nice home, a car, cell phones, etc, yet, we are not as content as these children are.
My whole outlook on my life has changed, whenever I face a hardship and lose hope, I think about the children’s smiles, and I gain the strength to push throw and move forward. I miss the children. I made a promise to them and to myself that I will visit them again soon.
If you feel that something is missing in your life, need motivation, have lost direction in your life, want to explore a new place, last but not least, if you want to have positive changes in your life, then you need to visit the Givelight home in Aceh, Indonesia. Thank you to everyone that allowed this trip to happen and I look forward to visiting the home again one day.”
~ Jamal Turfe
We thank you Jamal for your time and love that you gave to our children. We hope that your journey inspires others to do the same.