The Circus and a dog named Poofy

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March 22nd 2006
Published: April 2nd 2008
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On February 23, my departure date from Kenya , I got to visit one more orphanage in Nairobi . I was thrilled to see Little Kanini (the 3 yr. old that had been left in the Remand Home- the juvenile detention center in Nakuru). She now sleeps in a room with other children her age instead of a room full of children convicted of various crimes. The staff said she often bangs her head, bites herself and has a lot of emotional problems. The child needs help just like so many of the other babies that lay in their beds with various problems.

More than anything I pray for more volunteers to go work with the kids. There were 96 kids there, no schooling, no therapy and few staff members. The director was very kind and is excited to have made contact with Christine (my colleague) and I. She told us when IAA gets another dorm built they will give us 10 babies. Wow…there is work to be done!
I said my goodbyes to Kenya and the little ones I love. I arrived in Romania to temperatures below zero, a broken heating system, no hot water and a crazy man screaming obscenities at me in my back yard…feels just like my home away from home.

I jumped right into the swing of things including volunteering at the Center, a place for runaway kids, abandoned and street kids, Irina’s family and a plethora of other activities, most of them consisting of little people. No day has ever been boring, or warm for that fact. I will be glad to get to Houston and shed the long underwear that one must wear here to keep warm.

My friends that I work with and I are always looking for fun things to do with the kids. The winters are long and gray here and for those who have no families, often years of their life feel that way. We strive to bring some color to their lives by being vessels for the light of Jesus (who is the Light of the World) to sparkle upon them, brightening their days. So, when we found out the circus was in town we thought that would be fun.
A group of us bundled up and headed to the circus; 18 adults, 22 kids (most that have been abandoned or beaten) and the dog from the Center named Poofy. Wherever the kids go Poofy goes, including the circus. She snuck into the tent and enjoyed the show. Sometimes Poofy thinks she is a cat with nine lives. Even though she has been beaten, had her eye almost poked out and looks as if she went through a car wash, she not only stays alive but keeps her cheerful personality and joins in all the activities.

The kids were filled with anticipation as we filed into the tent and got our seats on the wooden bleachers. They clapped and cheered as the trainer and his bear appeared. Raul, a seven year old smiley boy who has never been to the circus, said, “Look, there is a man dressed up as a bear!”. The goal of the bear (which was very real) was to push all 300 lbs. of himself on a scooter around the small arena on one foot and the goal of the trainer was not to get eaten by the bear. The bear was assisted with treats along the way and the trainer was assisted with a large muzzle on the bear’s snout. It was quite obvious that the bear was very hungry and not much in the mood for being a spectacle. He threw down his scooter and swapped at the trainer, knocking the treats from his hand then proceeded to ravage the treats. I think they forgot to feed the bear for a day or two.
Watching the bear and the man reminded me of the kids in the Center. These kids are told to act a certain way and to behave. However, they are not in their natural environment. Just as the bear should be allowed to live in his natural habitat, roaming the woods, eating, being with other bears the kids should have the right to live in a family, to flourish and to receive plenty of love. It is no surprise that the kids lash out in anger, are aggressive and sometimes run back to the streets and drugs. They can never perform quite right when deprived of love.

Next in line was Iona , the “exotic” dancer. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that here they provide entertainment not only for the kids but for the men. They called this portion of the show “exotic” due to the “exotic” reptiles that Iona danced with. However, I am convinced that they were really referring to Iona as she appeared in what seemed to be an outfit purchased directly from Fredricks of Hollywood. Not only did they forget to feed the bear but they forgot to feed Iona . She was extremely skinny and must have been dizzy from lack of food because she danced with a 4 ft. snake, large lizards, a chameleon, a boa constrictor then to top it off…two tarantulas.
Iona is not one of a kind. Unfortunately this is a culture with so much pornography out in the open and women that find the less clothing the better (this is the only time I am thankful for the cold weather because the ladies have got to dress appropriately). It is hard to explain to the young girls that clothing is good and wearing it is better. The problems are more than skin deep but their promiscuity is a way to get attention for the hunger inside of them for love. The streets are full of abandoned kids having kids and abandoning them. There is a great lack of mothers and fathers. There is no shoulder to cry on and no parent from whom to ask advice.

I have found that even though my time is short here that everyday presents and opportunity to help some of these young women simply by listening. I try to offer advice and help them to get on their feet but that is way easier said than done. I do pray more could come and lend a helping hand from a compassionate heart.

The clowns came out quite chipper. I recognized them because previous to the show I had gone to their trailer to pay our entrance fee. They were sitting around the table downing 40’s. Now I know why clowns are always so happy.

All in all there was a lot of noise and some chaos and here I find it harder and harder to separate circus life and reality.

Lots of Love and Thanks to all who help me help the little ones.

Tax deductible donations for helping the kids can be made out to:
23223 S. Warmstone Way
Katy, Texas 77494R


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