Hello everyone. We had another busy day today…
It started with no hot water, but we had electricity and an excellent breakfast. We can’t speak highly enough of our chefs…
Gant, Dawit & Tadu
We left around 8:30 am for our first orphanage visit. We were quite impressed with the facility. There were probably 40 children there. The staff was eager to hear more information on how to better facilitate the healthy development of the children.
We gathered in the infant room first. Roughly ten staff members joined us as we observed and talked about each child. We discovered many of our recommendations surrounded the importance of “tummy time” for the babies. Many of the babies have weaker abdominal muscles and neck muscles, and tight back muscles from being on their backs frequently. The staff asked many specific questions to gain more insight. Diaper rash seems to be a pretty significant problem but otherwise the babies seemed happy and caregivers quite attentive.
Next, we moved to the toddler room, which was staffed with approximately 20. We conducted the same observations and consultation regarding individual toddlers, as well as offered general toddler milestones. As we did in the transition homes, we also walked the caregivers through back pain prevention exercises and stretches. Just as on Wed, they seemed especially appreciative about this topic.
Next, we moved on to the classroom where we facilitated craft groups with about 25 kids - 4-12 year olds. Groups consisted of painting on paper, sticker and crayon pictures, and modeling clay and pipe cleaner creations. It was neat to watch their imaginations at work.
The orphanage director welcomed us to a lunch and traditional coffee ceremony. The coffee beans were roasted in a pan on coals before our eyes. They were ground and mixed with hot water. The fresh coffee was delicious and very strong. The aroma was amazing.
Afterward, we ended the day at the orphanage, leaving behind many donations and craft supplies for their use.
From the orphanage we drove to Fistula Hospital. What a story…definitely worth learning about...check it out: http://www.hamlinfistula.org/our-hospital.html
The book "A Hospital By The River" (http://www.amazon.com/Hospital-River-Story-Hope/dp/0825460719/) was specifically written about this hopeful place for young women. There is also a documentary that you can find to get more information. (I know we'll be checking both out when we get back).
You have to make reservations to get a tour and photographs are not allowed. The grounds are green and flowery and the windows were open to allow the fresh air.
Being occupational therapists, there were a few things that really struck us about this hospital. First, young women who were once patients here often stay once they are healed to be aides to the patients needing care. They help bathe and feed them, and give them emotional support and empathy.
Even better, the patients are involved in activities such as crafts and exercise to help relieve them of depression, give them confidence, and to help pass the time. We watched the women making various baskets, throw rugs, and hand embroidered table dressings. This is occupational therapy at its finest!!
It brings to mind a quote we love by occupational therapist Mary Reilly (http://www.usc.edu/assets/ot/faculty/MaryReilly.html)
"Man, through the use of his hands, as energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health."
We ended the day eating a dinner on the town at the amazing “Zebra Grill.” Here’s a picture of the actual grill:
As part of final preparations for Friday, we finished making rattle toys out of water bottles, and visual stimulation cards for the infants in all 3 orphanages.
Tomorrow we visit 2 more orphanages on our last full work day…
Of course, we’re tired. But, we’re so very happy with the progress we’ve made thus far. As always, thanks for your support. The feedback and following on this blog has provided continued inspiration.
Emewedachu (with love),
Brandi, Jackie, & Angie