Monday, June 21, 2010

growth and family

What I like about the orphanage is how small it is, really four small rooms with 30 or so kids.  The kids are known and they are loved.  I love that it is run by a church, and that the church cares for the children and even dedicates them at a church service when they are babies.  Even though they haven't had enough food or staff they do try to watch over them as well as they can.  I do feel like I coming alongside these mamas and the director and we are working together to solve some of the problems they raise.  It is a good feeling. I wanted to post some pictures of Saturday I think and let them tell the story.  But, I did want to talk a moment about chronic malnutrition.  (This is part of my education, so excuse this side note if it is not interesting).  One of the effects of chronic malnutrition is stunting (short for age).  Most of the kids there are not severely malnourished.   A lot of them look okay, and if I put them on a chart comparing their weight against their heights (not accounting for age), most are only a little below normal.  If I put them on charts based off of their age and what their appropriate weights or heights should be, then they are all severely below the graphs.  They are all very small (short) because if you are chronically malnourished over many years you don't grow in height.  So, there are four year olds that are 32 inches tall and 20 lbs.  This more than anything there (well, aside from the state of some of the babies) tells a story that no one needs to explain.  That over many years they have not had enough food and there has been malnourishment on the long term.  This is a story of most orphanages.  Especially ones with dwindling support like this one.  So, on to the pictures.

Big smiles from little Moise!  What a sweetheart!  He is 11 months old now and doing his best to make up for some lost time, getting bigger every time I see him.  

Little Chito Wambili is 16 months old now, and she is sitting one her own.  Not a full smile, but she did interact more than usual.  Again, I wish I could just spend all day there, it is hard because the drive is so long that I have so little time there and there are so many children that need attention and love.  Especially this little angel who has some severe sensory issues from chronic neglect and under-stimulation.   Some of their eyes stay with me, and hers are some that I can't easily forget. 

This is Ziruka, a strong and tall 21 month old girl.  Sometimes I can't get over how some of the kids are doing SO well, and others are struggling so much.  I know it is a mixture of reasons to explain this,  having to do with resiliency, vulnerability, genetics, and physical resources, but it still shocks me.  Ziruka is a happy little girl who is playful and walking all over the place.  

This is Sandrine, a little girl who is almost 3.  As you can see, she is very sweet and playful.  

Sifa is almost 4 years old (in two days!).  She loved getting hugs and kisses from a friend that went with us this time.  

Little Chikurru was running all over the place on this visit.  She is a two year old.

This sweet boy is Gloire, he is about 15 months old I think.  He loves loves loves being held and just melts into my arms when I pick him up.  He is sitting by himself now, when he wasn't before.  We've been able to bring enough formula so that the bigger kids (the ones that are over one, but malnourished and delayed) can receive some.  I've really noticed a difference, even in one month.  Now the challenge will be to raise some regular funding so that the formula can continue into the future.  

Well, it's late.  Enough for tonight.  Oh, maybe one more picture....


Heather said...

I can't get over how great Moise looks!! I honestly don't even recognize him from those first pictures I saw of him. Such a good thing to see.

Carrie said...

These pictures just pull at my heart. Keep them coming!

Kristee Ann Watson said...

Holly...I am all teared up looking at the picture of Chito. She looks so happy in that picture; it is such a change from so many of the others we have. She is ever in my heart and I so hope someone comes alongside and adopts her.