May 26, 2011

where YOU lead: the daily routine

the ladies of my house and i wake up every morning at 6:30 or 7:00 to the coldest shower known to man. we have a bathhouse a few yards from our bunkhouse where we wash one limb at a time in the waterfall of ice. we come back and dress in skirts to our ankles and plain t-shirts that can be spit-up or who knows what else on in order to properly play with our sweet children.

we all eat breakfast together at 8:30 every morning and are ready to start the day at 9:00. we have a cook named ba leonard who is a local zambian and cooks all of our meals and runs the grounds. we have workers who clean our houses and do our laundry, and when they clean our laundry it is paraded on a clothesline for all of GOD’S creation to see. we also have night watchmen who guard our houses at night, killing snakes and scaring off robbers, and our door is secured with 3 locks and an iron door.

the haven where we work is 1.5 miles away, and a group of us walk 6 miles a day to and from in order to get to work and get in our exercise. when we arrive at the haven, we all have different schedules and targets for therapy. there are 3 different therapy groups that will rotate throughout the next few weeks. my schedule for this week includes the following:

9:30-11:30 my group feeds infants with HIV and TB in the 3rd haven. we put them on their stomachs on a rug for tummy time in order to establish better trunk control and muscle strength. we stretch their tight arms and legs and rub their backs as excessive tightness is a result of their diseases. we then do 10 buccal rubs on their cheeks with our fingers, lip stretches right above their lips, and c-stretches placing 1 finger in their mouths and moving the other finger in a c shape on their cheeks as the diseases also affect the muscles used when feeding and swallowing. we then sing to them and feed them and just love on their little selves as much as possible.

11:30-12:30 we interact with healthy babies from the 1st haven and try to stimulate their language as much as possible. we encourage imitation and as much production of expressive language as possible. and ultimately we just hold them and love on them, trying to fill the void of the mommies that they don’t have.

At 1:00 we eat lunch and rest for about 45 minutes from all of our playing and walking in order to head out again at 2:15.

2:30-4:15 we feed the healthy babies from haven 1 who are having difficulty with feeding and swallowing and use the same approaches as we did in the morning, and we have interaction time just like we did in the morning as well.

we all come back and eat dinner at 5:00. we are very tired at that point and just ready to relax. we play games, read books, and just talk to each other at night, enjoying this time of no distractions or other obligations.

we are realizing how important our job is. every summer an infant has died in the haven, and it’s up to us to help prevent that loss. and while we ourselves are not enough to prevent it completely, we have the ability to make a huge difference. many of the older children at the haven are alive today as a result of our past efforts.

the average life expectancy of a zambian is 39 years. in this country a bicycle is a symbol of wealth. and in this country it used to be that when a mother died, her infant was buried alive with her as his fate would be better to suffocate in the ground than to die slowly from starvation.

we are becoming the change we wish to see in the world. to show that just because a mother dies, a child doesn’t have to. to increase the average life of a Zambian child and the quality of that life. and ultimately to practice pure and undefiled religion in caring for our orphans.

1 comment:

  1. This made me cry! I am so proud of all of you girls/guys. What your doing will make a difference. Keep up the hard work!! I am glad we had that infant feeding/swallowing seminar cause it sounds like your knee deep in it. :) I am also implementing oral exercises to increase feeding/swallowing at my summer externship with the elderly. It is a joy to assist someone in such an important life necessity.