Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oliver Twist Surrealism: Visiting the Orphanage

Every Wednesday afternoon, my neighbour and good friend Mirian, visits one of the orphanages here in Santa Rosa de Copan.  She goes with her own children and a couple of her friends.  I asked to join her this week.

It's an orphanage for children aged 5 years and under.  As we walked through the door, we were rushed by the children.  They came running to receive hugs and smiles and some much needed individual attention.  They had never met me before, and yet, some of them were instantly crawling up into my lap. At one point I opened up to their love and to mine, then I got scared.  This is too hard.  A protective crust enveloped my heart, but recognizing it in time, I willed myself back to the love.

I scanned the environment with trepidation. I had worried about what I might see. To my relief, the place was airy, brightly lit and clean, though a bit sterile.  No books, few toys, but the kids all had well-fitted, clean clothes and shoes on.  There were murals of Jesus with his flock, and writing on the walls proclaiming things like, "My life is a gift from God."  I think these are, more than anything,  reminders for an overworked staff.  Mirian explained to me that a total of nine employees care for these 50 (+) children 24/7.  A total of nine employees, for more than 50 children, all under the age of 5, 24/7.  I can imagine them scrambling every Wednesday afternoon before the weekly visit to ensure everything is in its place, bums are clean, tables are wiped.  Visitors are coming who will play with and hug the children, and after a couple hours, go home to wash themselves of this place for another week.

Remarkably, there was almost no crying.  These kids don't expect ot have their needs met, nevermind their whims.  They have to take care of themselves for the most part and tears won't help.  There was crying when we left though.  A little girl, desperate for more cuddles on my lap.  She reached up, grasping for another hug, "don't go", lost her balance and fell hard on the tile floor. Some others picked her up and handed her to me.  I consoled, "You are a bit sad."  I hesitated before adding, "I'm a bit sad too."

A secret, revealled to this little girl, needing more cuddles than I could give.  I held back my own tears as I waved at the expectant hoard, pressed against their metal-cage-door to the outside world.

 "Hasta el proximo miercoles" (See you next Wednesday).

1 comment:

  1. Very touching Gaetane, a reminder of how lucky and truely blessed we are. - Lisa C