A Day at the Orphanage
Team Five jumped on the bus to Santiago yesterday to visit a little orphange tucked away in the middle of the city. This facility is government-run and resources are few. There are 33 children currently living in one room the size of some people’s living room/dining room. There are 70 more kids on the waiting list. The exciting news is that they have been given a brand new building on the adjoining property. It is beautiful. They move in one month.
The unique thing about this orphanage is that most of these kids have parents who are still living. These kids have all been abandoned by their parents due the inability to care for them because they are special needs kids: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome. We have so many resources available in Canada that it can be so easy to judge these parents for giving up their children. However, when you understand the living conditions and obstacles that some of these parents face in order to survive, it makes a little more sense. I came away with the realization that life can sometimes be cruel. While we were there, a young mum came into the orphanage to visit her little one, who lay on the cot. She stayed there for a long time, holding the baby in her arms and looking into his eyes. I wondered about her life. What brought her to this place? Does it break her heart to say good-bye? Last week, while Charles met with Anna, the lady who runs this orphanage, a mum showed up, placed her baby on the doorstep and ran away. My heart is breaking into a million pieces because I know those mothers love their little ones so much that that did what they had to do to see them survive.
I am so proud of our students. You will hear me say this every day, but I can’t say it enough. They took these deformed kids who had no ability to communicate and loved them. They played with them, coaxed smiles out of them and fed them lunch. We were all a bit messy when it was over, but a garden hose and some cool, refreshing water did the trick! The kids loved it!