Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I have never been to an orphanage in the United States but here is a list of things my orphanage does that I am pretty sure would not happen back home.
  • Boys wear what we would consider "girl clothes" (pink things, stuff with lace and frills, etc.) In the US it is usually possible to tell whether a baby is a boy or girl strictly by the outfit but not so much in Kenya.
  • Babies are put on their stomachs to sleep, even if they can't hold up there heads yet.
  • If a child can walk (or sometimes just crawl) he or she can go out unsupervised. Calli and Matthew will disappear for an hour or two and no one seems to know exactly where they are. The good news is that everyone from the children to the teachers to the gatemen know them and look out for them. It still makes me nervous though.
  • Toilet training means stop putting the kid in a diaper and hope he learns from the other kids.
  • We use cloth diapers and the Mamas wash them out by hand. If that is not love and dedication, I don't know what is.
  • There are very few toys at the orphanage so if the children find a rock or a bottle cap or a discarded watch battery it becomes a toy. The children are fiercely protective of their things and when I took away the tiny battery Hillary was putting in his mouth, he started screaming bloody murder. A few of the adults are aware of potential choking hazards but many don't notice or don't care.
  • The babies sleep with bed nets, just like adults. However, we still get a lot of malaria.
  • The weather gets pretty hot here in the afternoons but the children usually are dressed in three layers. I always feel bad for the babies in sweaters when it is like 80 degrees out. But if I try putting the kids in a short sleeve shirt, the Mamas say they will catch a cold. If the someone is sick, the baby is put in a parka regardless of how much he or she sweats.
  • All of the babies food is cooked at the orphanage instead of using jars of baby food. And usually once a week, we serve fresh homemade fruit juice.
  • If a child is crying, one sharp word from a Mama or one of the nuns will usually get them to stop, pronto. I don't know their secret but I need to learn it. It has to be some crazy Jedi mind trick.

At the orphanage there are a lot of things that most American parents would cringe at. The children don't have much in the way of material things and they have a lot of free reign. However, everyone has an undeniable love and dedication to the orphans. On the wall of the baby wing it says "We thank the Lord for the opportunity He gave us to serve the abandoned of society." The Sisters and Mamas definitely have that mind set, and so do I.

1 comment:

  1. And thank God for all of you!

    Peace and love!

    Karen P.