The visit went well. The kids that could walk, were running around and so excited to see us. Of course, the memory of the big cookies we gave them last time was probably a big motivation. We also brought balls this time too. (And formula!). Again, we saw how loved the kids are by the caregivers there. That is really nice. I really think the biggest issues are lack of resources (not enough food, formula, staff) and stimulation (related to too few staff members). These are areas where they really need ongoing assistance. You can really see the affects of lack of stimulation. There are 3 year olds there who cannot walk yet and scoot wherever they want to go. There are 12 month olds who cannot sit yet. They are doing the best they can, but 3-4 women to care for 35 kids under age 5 doesn't encourage a lot of time to play and stimulate individual kids. These women also have to wash all the clothes and cloth diapers! (There are probably 12 in diapers, the rest just pee on the floor through their clothes-or on whomever is holding them). I think that some of the kids who are perhaps more resilient are doing better than the ones who are perhaps more vulnerable. The resilient ones are walking at age 2 and playful and smiling. The vulnerable ones cry when you touch them and rock to self stimulate. The resilient babies cry when you put them down and cry to be held. The vulnerable ones don't cry, or perhaps they whimper and then look away, they rock in their cribs or are apathetic, they get fed last or forgotten. I think the age of 10-18 months were the hardest ones to see. They had sad looks in their eyes and they seemed to really want to be held and loved on the most. I didn't see any smiling in this age group. There is one baby that is quite sick with severe failure to thrive. We keep praying for a way to help him. There is a little 8 month old girl who all she does is smile and coo and stick her tongue out. Very cute. And all the running rowdy older kids where a joy to watch. They were climbing all over Sara, laughing and poking her. And the loving mothers where trying to be everywhere all at once. They all get fed 3 times a day with whatever food they have. When we were there it was plain rice. The 12 month old group had porridge out of a communal pot. Babies seem to be fed three times a day as well (though this may be more often).
I'll try to post some pictures in a separate post.