Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friends of Children Orphanage, Sokuluk, Kyrgyzstan

Just one big family!
Boys will be boys...
By pure chance we met a fellow motorcyclist and wonderful man when we were in Bishkek. Allen is an American but lives in Kyrgyzstan. Eight years ago they took over an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan...! How many of us even consider doing that... let alone see it through? Ask the average man or woman if they want to take over an orphanage and totally devote their life to it, and chances are they will come up with all sort of excuses why they can't...! Not Allen and his wife Cheryl though. They want to help others, saw an opportunity and decided to accept the challenge... against the odds. Hats off. Of course they are nice people, have to be to devote their life to kids in need. So we wanted to visit the orphanage and see first hand the good work being done.

Building the cellar and new boys quarter. The pride these kids show in what they have accomplished is heart warming
We weren't quite sure what to expect, to be honest. After all, how many of us have been in an orphanage? We hadn't! The only orphanage we had seen, ever, was on TV... One of those dramatised Hollyweird horror shows. Luckily it wasn't like that in Kyrgyzstan. As you can imagine, kids who arrive in an orphanage have a lot of emotional baggage. They have lost their parents for whatever reason, or have been abandoned by them. Just try to imagine what that alone will do to the minds of those kids. And as if that's not enough; for some it's unfortunately even worse with abusive backgrounds for instance.

One of the many rooms made for them by a local craftsman as the good work Allen and Cheryl are doing is well known in Kyrgyzstan
What can I say?
To complicate matters even further there are language barriers and religious barriers to overcome. With the above in mind it would not have surprised me if we had found kids that were hard to handle... impossible to handle even. What we found though was the total opposite! It was one big family where everyone was seen as a brother or sister and Allen and Cheryl as mum and dad. It was clear to us, right from the beginning, these kids had truly found a happy home.

Of course being such a big family means things have to be done in a well organised manner. As any parent will know, kids can be a handful, try to imagine having 22... of all ages... and yet it all worked amazingly well, not a cross word was said. Kids being kids meant they are inquisitive and keen to learn. No wonder they had a tonne of questions about our trip and the bikes. We showed them photos and videos via the laptop, not to impress them but to give an impression of what we found around the world. The questions they asked showed us they were quite knowledgeable about the world around them. And in case you were wondering: they speak perfect English too as they are brought-up bilingual! Some of them were in college while others keen to follow a trade course. All the buildings which make up the orphanage were built by them and while we were there they were building a new big cellar for food storage. Not only were we impressed by their practical knowledge but even more so by the pride they showed in their work, even at such a young age.

We left with a very good feeling. An orphanage is not a place where kids would turn up with a good background. They have had to deal with some serious problems before arriving there in the first place. Having said that, they couldn't have found a better place than this! Of course all this cost money, try feeding 22 kids... every day! Not to mention clothes, housing, heating etc. On top of that Allen and Cheryl go out of their way to give these kids the best opportunities in life. Which means education, which is not free in Kyrgyzstan either. I hope you can see where I'm going with this: please make a donation! The future possibilities of these lovely kids depend on it and you can't spend you money much better than there. Please do not donate anything via us but contact Allen directly on how to go about it at: or via +996770401116 or +996551500998 They can be found in Sokuluk, Kyrgyzstan at N42.85168° E74.30009°
Allen and Cheryl, doing an unimaginable but very gratifying job!