A's words brought me out of my reverie, "We're here. Just look at their faces!!" As I looked up, the children who were playing in front of the house spotted A's car and made their way to the gate. The expression on their faces were of pure joy!
A didn't have a chance to get out of the car properly. The children swarmed her, all vying for her attention. She hugged and kissed every one of them. I stood one side, trying to be inconspicuous and trying very hard not to cry. Yeah, I know, I'm such a wuss! At that moment I felt a soft touch on my leg. As I looked down, I looked into these big, beautiful, fragile brown eyes. With her arms outstretched, the little girl beckoned me to pick her up.
I leaned over and scooped her up. She was as light as a feather, dressed in pink pants and striped pink and white sweater. Her hair was beautifully braided. I hugged her fiercely and pecked her on the cheek. "Hello my darling. What's your name??" I said. "Her name's Whitney," said A. "Say hello to Aunty Shahieda," A coaxed her. Whitney just gave me a shy smile.
I tried putting Whitney down to help MS take the goodies out of the car but she wouldn't let me. The other boys were so eager to help MS so I let them do their thing and walked to the entrance of the house. I was introduced to the foster mom, AP. And the other volunteers who came to lend a hand were busy in the kitchen. Aunty A is a granny who comes in to help AP with the washing of the children's laundry. During the whole time I was there she was busy with laundry! Imagine the amount of school clothes that needs to be washed for 16 children?? Where she got the energy from, God knows!
I was shown to an area where I could conduct the baking session. The children were so excited, all of them were falling over their feet to help set up. I decided to make a double batch of chocolate cuppies seeing that we were celebrating a birthday as well. I asked one of the bigger girls to help me start off and she began breaking the eggs into a bowl. Then a little boy helped measure the sugar. Another measured the flour for me, and another measured the cocoa, then the baking powder and so forth. Until all the ingredients needed for the cuppies were ready to be used.
The Congolese girl enjoyed herself thoroughly!!
The little boy in blue who also wanted to mix!
A younger Congolese girl started beating the eggs and the sugar till it was pale and thick. I explained what she was doing as she went along. The children were enthralled! A little boy touched me on the arm and asked if he could get a chance to mix, hehehehe, I acquiesced his request.
As I added the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, there were squeals of delight! I explained that the dry ingredients were to be added slowly and the mixture was not to be beaten very much. The mixture started changing color at this point and the children shouted with glee! They noted how chocolaty it was, licking their lips at the same time! Clearly, they were enjoying the demonstration. And so was I, so much so, that I had forgotten my apprehension.
I then asked for a few tablespoons and fetched the cupcake holders. I had brought along the silicone ones I had bought in KL and the paper ones I had bought earlier at the supermarket. All the children gathered around the table as I gave each one a cup to fill. There were giggles and squeals as the dough was scooped and how messy it was too!! But that was part of the fun! Even Whitney wanted to get in on the action! MS' helped her onto the table where she helped herself to some dough.
Cousin MS helping Whitney with her cuppie
I retreated to the kitchen to switch on the oven. A had brought along her brother's mini oven because the stove at the home was not working. Ten minutes were spent trying to figure out how it worked, hahahaha. I also realized that my muffin tins were wayyyy too big to place in the oven. I prayed hard that the cuppies didn't flop as I wanted to see the children's faces when they saw the fruits of their labor. I also decided to place some of the cups in the microwave to save some time.
Hmmmm, me can't wait! Messy innit??!
I could hear the commotion from the kitchen still. Apparently some of the kids were already eating of the cuppies because they couldn't wait long enough for it to bake finish, hehehe. AP was scolding at them in a playful way. "If you're going to eat the dough now, there'll be nothing left to bake and we won't be able to have a birthday party," she told them. This revelation was enough to stop the children from finishing the dough off all together!!
Still to come: The birthday party and my reaction when I was told how some of the children came to be at the home.