Many people from all over the world came to the Noel, sometime by the coachload. Visitors or volunteers were always greeted with joyous enthusiasm as they’d often bring donations, clothes, food and toys.
Some visitors had a tour round the whole orphanage, some never went beyond the Infants Quadrant. Children clamoured for hugs, cuddles and attention. The whole orphanage would be gathered in the entrance courtyard and perform welcome ceremonies with singing, dancing, gymnastics and drum playing. Lollipops would be given out afterwards.
Government ministers or clergy visits were events of great importance to both children & staff. Madam would invite her guests to enjoy tea in her quarters.
Outings with volunteers gave some of the children treasured memories, though both Noel vehicles could be mechanically unreliable. Selected children could accompany volunteers to the markets or Lake Kivu in Gisenyi where they’d play on the beach.
Volunteers & visitors brought the outside world to the orphanage, opening their eyes to different cultures and lifestyles. They could also bring hope, friendship, perhaps sponsorships. Parting with their visitors, especially those who never came back, was often difficult for children who had no family to love them.
However long or short their stay, Madam Director was always grateful for the visitor’s interest in her children.