Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meet the Orphans

We have a full house these days at the orphanage.

The oldest baby wing resident is Cali. He is two years old. The most noticeable thing about Cali is that both of his legs are in casts from his thighs to his toes. Cali was born with deformed legs and he had his third surgery in June. However, this does not slow him down one bit. If someone puts him in his crib, he will perch himself on the headboard or flip himself over into the crib next to his (the first time I saw him do this I was certain he was going to break his arms). Cali is also a chatterbox. I have learned most of my Swahili from him and he will parrot my English phrases.

The next oldest would be Matthew, who is 20 months old. He is a sweetheart and I love Matty. He has the most adorable laugh. Like all of the babies at the orphanage, Matthew wears cloth diapers which causes him to waddle. And instead of sucking his thumb, Matthew likes to suck on his middle and ring finger. When Matty does this I can't decide if he looks like he is making the sign for I love you or if he looks like he belongs at a rock concert.

Then there is Monica, who is about a year old. She is in the process of being adopted and is one of the few older girls left. Girls are usually much easier to get adopted in Kenya, because family land is divided between the sons and girls mean an eventual bride price. Monica is a cutie but don't let her small size fool you, she can hold her own against the boys who are almost twice her size.

Next would be Bonaventure, who we like to call Boni. Boni is probably ten months old. Boni is usually very cheerful. The Mamas will sing and even though he doesn't talk, he will sing "Halleluia, ahhh". Boni loves being carried but he hates being put down. So it is best not to pick him up unless you are in it for the long haul or you don't mind listening to screaming. Unfortunately, Boni is sick and in the hospital. We miss him.

After Boni, comes Andrew who is eight months old. Andrew is not the emotional type. He rarely cries and he rarely smiles. When I first started working at the orphanage, Andrew could not sit on his own and I worried that he might be behind developmentally. The good news is that he is catching up and he can sit up now.

Then there is Walter, who we guess is about 6 or 7 months. He arrived about a month ago and for the first week he screamed nonstop. Luckily for our eardrums, he seems to have adjusted to life at the orphanage. When I saw him smile for the first time I was amazed at the transformation. His entire face lights up and his smile reveals two little front teeth.

That is all of our older babies, the ones that can sit and eat solid foods. We also have little newborns.

Victor is two months old. I don't know if he is colicky but he cries more than all the little ones combined.

Dorothy is almost two months old. For the longest time I thought of her as baby Christopher Lloyd because she had these huge eyes and this crazy hair. Luckily she seems to be growing out of that.

Penha is about a month old and is named after Sr. Penha who runs the orphanage.

Janaina is just over a month old. Her twin brother John passed away. I am happy to see that she seems to be thriving.

Mary and Moses are two weeks old and they arrive Monday. Their mother died during childbirth. They look a like and I can only tell them apart by their hair. Mary's hair is straighter but Moses has a full head of curly hair.

Those are my twelve little babies.

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