Sunday, October 12, 2014

An orphanage day

Most Saturdays I go out to the orphanage for handicapped children across the river from us. Since the beginning of the school year I've been going alone because my friend, the one I help there, is in the states. Yesterday, as I rode back, I was thinking that I would like to record what has become a pretty typical Saturday.

On Saturday mornings we get up, Will does breakfast, Asya and Raia head out for art school, and a little later Jaan has music school. As they're all getting ready and leaving, I go, too. First I take a bus toward the center of town. I get off and start walking, going through a big market area, and buying cookies and juice along the way. The orphanage is very careful about what they feed the kids, but they trust a particular store there, so that's where we buy. (And it's a super yummy sweets store!)

After the walk and making my purchases--now my backpack is heavy--I come out to the big road and get on a long distance bus. That takes me out over the river (beautiful!) and into the next town. I get off and start walking again. It's not far to the orphanage.

First thing there, I have to find the nurse. She checks the snack I brought, gives me the key for the classroom, and tells me if I can combine groups of kids or not. No quarantines yesterday, so I went down to get the boys ready. They get so excited! Lots of happy screaming and hugs for me and sweetness as they help each other get their shoes on and wheelchairs ready. I can usually take four or five of them up to the girls' classroom for something like a Sunday school lesson.

When we get up to the girls, there's more screaming and hugs and excitement. I always have to tell T. to hug me gently, because she forgets and hurts me, but she's learning. Little D. has latched on to a certain silly song that we've been doing; she greeted me doing the motions for it, so I knew she wanted to sing.

The classroom is small for that many wheelchairs, but we fit them in like a jigsaw puzzle. I think I had eight girls, with the four boys? Yesterday I started with some little coordination exercises that caused lots of giggling. Then I got out the book that my friend had translated for these kids. This was our third time reading from it, and they finally seemed to be catching on to the idea of listening to a story. From the beginning only V. had really seemed interested; she dives out of her wheelchair and scoots up to where she can put her chin on my knee and catch every word. We finished the first chapter, and I explained what that means. Now that they know a chapter is just a part of a book, they're excited to hear what happens next. (There is a school there, but the kids in these two groups that we work with are not allowed to go to the school. Most of them can't read and write, although some of them would be perfectly capable of learning, at least to some extent.)

Then songs! Music is not my thing at all, but I've started bringing an MP3 player with a little speaker, and they love it. We "make a (very) joyful noise." After singing every song that I have at least a few times we moved to the tables for a craft.

I wasn't sure at all about how this craft would work, but they did a great job. We made a tree from beads and wire (something like this. I'll come back and add a picture next week, because they want to send one to their friend in America. I just didn't have the camera with me yesterday.) Many of them have difficulties with coordination, but they really focused on getting those tiny glass beads on to their wires, and no one got frustrated. Each child made a branch or two, and then we twisted them together into a tree.

By the time we were done with the craft, it was lunch time, so we did hugs and goodbyes, got everyone back to their places, cleaned up, and I left.

I really want to get into a good routine of feeding one of the bed-bound little ones lunch and then playing some one-on-one after my time with the older ones, but I didn't do that yesterday. Before I could take them for walks outside. Now I need to transition into time in the therapy room instead. Yesterday, I was too tired and hungry myself, and the people I need to talk to about the little ones weren't around. Hopefully next week....

Edited to add: here's the tree they made:

1 comment:

Baba Julie said...

Phyllis! What a BEAUTIFUL picture of your ministry there at the orphanage. And, your vision for what else is possible is exciting, as well. You have such a heart for orphans. I am so happy you all have found this place and what seems to be a "perfect fit" for all of you!! Love you and praying!