Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunbeam Orphanage

A few weeks late in writing this up but been a busy old week at the Big D again (when is it not?)

A few months ago an email came out regarding a Supply Chain Christmas Celebration; mindlessly I signed it up for it; basically if it's not in direct relationship with my job or the items I have to do on a daily basis the usual practice is I never have time to read it so I either delete it, archive it (parking it in corporate lingo) or I mindlessly accept / respond and in this case it was the latter.

On Friday 9th December the day was here, the celebration was here and we were booked in the morning for the 2nd Annual Big D Ethics Day - I won't bore you with all the nitty gritty details of this exuberant day but gladly it were only half a day and were scheduled to finish at 12. In the afternoon as part of the Celebrations we were booked to go to a Child’s Orphanage near the Malaysian Border called Sunbeam. I didn’t really do much (any) research on it and when the time came I used the usual excuse of I’ve too much work to take half another half day out but I didn't resist too hard and before I knew it was nearly 1.30pm and we were approaching the location for the day. 

It was a beautiful day in Singapore on Friday 9th December 2011; I jumped off the bus with the others and it was 32 Degrees outside; the sun was bouncing off the pavement and the place we'd been taken too were serene; akin to those really posh Garden Centers you see in the countryside of the UK. The itinerary for the day was basically to help bake cookies with the kids of the orphanage, eat with them, then a balloon artist and a face painting pro were coming in to entertain the kids this was then followed by a Big D only after work drink and mini celebration. Needless to say with my phobia of Children I was dreading it and  running through my head over and over again why I'd accepted the invite as it wasn’t even mandatory.

I was part of Table 5; when we arrived we were all assigned a specific child to sit with for the day. Mine was an 11 year old Indian / Singaporean lad called Gabriel and my first observation with this kid was his energy levels were through the roof and in comparison with some of the other kids close by I felt I was being punished for a conglomeration of past sins by being assigned to this one. He was loud, obnoxious, and rude and oh did I mention energetic? 

We started making the cookies and over time he seemed to rely on me for the complicated things; when I say complicated we had 4 ingredients and it was one of the easiest recipes in the history of mankind but he seemed uneasy with some of the tasks such as rolling out the final mixture for shape cutting etc. We worked together as an epic team and churned out a ridiculous volume of cookies which we sent off for baking to revisit later for the icing competition. I tried to be as friendly as possible so was addressing him as bro to which one particular comment he retorted "I’m not your bro, you're white and I’m brown" I had to struggle not to laugh out loud. So I switched the bro to dude and everything seemed more manageable from them on. The balloon artist came and the face painter and the kids had to queue for both. My kid was desperate for a balloon. So I decided to go queue for him; I asked him what he wanted for a Balloon and as if it was a magic lamp with three wishes these were his requests:

2 x Swords - I Purple and 1 Brown
1 x Train - Red and Blue in Colour with three x passenger cars and a cargo car carrying coal.
1 x Vacuum Cleaner

I managed to get him a train and an awesome one it was...

Thomas the Tank Engine - Or an attempt at it anyway;
this is a basic train and looked more complex that Astro Physics during creation..

On a side note; has anyone recently seen a balloon artist or magician or whatever the sugared job title is for them now? They're AMAZING to watch! It's akin to witchcraft I have to say...

I wanted to get my face painted into something sinister or maybe match the Spider Man T-Shirt I was wearing with some Spidey face paint but the queue was too long and didn't want to take the fun away from the kids.

On the way back from the balloon artists to my table; a few of the girls at the Sunbeam centre wanted me to sit with them and in fact told me I looked like Edward out of Twilight? They complimented me on my handsomeness and also on the fairness of my skin. Then I got very uncomfortable when they started asking me for face book details and to kiss them!! It was strictly communicated by those above beforehand that contact details were not to be given and I would have gone to jail for the kissing! A part of me wanted to say "give me a call in 10 years time" but I thought it wasn't appropriate so kept my mouth closed…I'm learning.

After the balloon artist and face painters it was time for us to decorate the cookies we'd made earlier. We got a selection of M&Ms and coloured Icing and basically just had to go for it to make the craziest shapes and colour combinations possible. Gabriel didn't really like getting his hands dirty so I took care of most of the icing for him (I enjoyed it perhaps a little too much). After the icing was done we gave out gifts to the children and said our goodbyes. 

For me it was a joyous day; a day I've never experienced before and my buddy Gabriel (can officially call him Bro now as by the end of the day there was a definitely a connection) he thanked me for my time and wished me a very merry Christmas and asked me to come back again someday. On my departure he gave me his balloon (pictured above) and one of his cookies.. I had to rush off into a shitty work call with Scotland and missed the actual waving the kids off but I felt extremely touched and in a potentially selfish nutshell felt like I had helped someone and done something worthwhile in my life. Even if it just was for an afternoon.

The epic Christmas Tree Cookie By Gabriel complete with missing M&M

Another lesson I learned this day; was how fortunate I was as a child; never wanting for anything and made me feel a bit ashamed of those tantrums I had thrown when I got the Die Hard Trilogy Game for my Play Station and not the Original Resident Evil game I'd asked for. What a douche I was as a child.

Happy Holidays everyone.