Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Yesterday I visited an orphanage. It's something I've wanted to do, to be involved in, but the first time I've had the chance to visit one.
The area of town was good. I didn't feel uncomfortable trying to navigate the streets or getting out of the car. We opened the door and the first sound that greeted me was the steady cry of babies. Not screaming fits, rather just crying.
Karina visits there often. Children ran-up to her and threw their arms around her legs. More kids came out of rooms and Maddie and I soon found ourselves on the floor giving them hugs. They pointed and said words. They wanted our names. We pointed. I baby-talked with them – just right for all our levels!
I peeked into a few rooms. There was a room with well-worn couches and a tv playing. A room with around 10 toddler beds another with 15 cribs and one with 10 hospital bassinets.
We began our time with changing diapers of the babies. That was my first surprise. We took our babies into the bathroom where there was a changing mat on the counter. I stripped off the diaper to find a good blow-out.
“Where's the wipes?” I asked.
“We don't have any.” OK.
“How about wash cloths then”. Nope.
“What do you do?”
“Stick the baby's butt under the faucet.” OK.
“Where's the warm water?”
“We don't have any.”
Well, my baby was crying by the time we were finished with that diaper change. I snuggled him close until the tears disappeared. We finished feeding some of the babies their breakfast then just sat on the floor with them playing and mostly holding the fussy ones. Karina said the new kids cry a lot and want to be held more than the kids that have been there awhile. My heart broke.
Next it was bath time for the infants. My favorite! One of the workers did quick under the faucet rinses then bundled the babies into towels and handed them off. I took one and wiped the water from it's face. Boy or Girl? I opened up the towel. Boy. Smearing thick Desitin on his bottom I smiled at him. I dried him off, applied lotion and dressed him. I only got in a few snuggles before the next baby came out. So tiny! How old? A one month old premie. We got the infants dressed and lined up then began with the bottles. After bottles we walked them to sleep.
Lunch time for the babies! Rice, cut-up chicken, soup and fruit juice. Four hours and I was wiped-out. There are about 30 kids in this orphanage right now. Around 8 infants, 8 babies and the rest are walkers up to 8 years old. There were 3 women working. They did not sit down the entire time we were there. They made food, changed babies, gave baths and did the necessities. They did not have time to stop to cuddle a baby yet it was obvious they knew and enjoyed each child. These kids were content and helthy. Well taken care of. As volunteers we did the holding and comforting. These women working here could not do the job of taking care of these kids without a steady stream of volunteers coming in.