Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jamaica - Day 2 (Monday)

On Monday we headed to Blossom Garden Orphanage in Montego Bay and spent the day loving on 60+ orpahns from newborn up to eight years old. These children have either been turned over by a parent or removed from their homes by the police. I spent the majority of my time in the baby room... where 15 or so infants and toddlers spend pretty much their entire first two years.
As soon as we walked in they scrambled to us, wanting to be held, snuggled and rocked... ... after they got their hair combed out, that is :)
We brought bubbles and other toys to entertain them with.
Before lunch I headed over to the area for preschool and school-age kids and was greeted by this sweet face:
Our group sat and ate lunch with the kiddos who were all eating the same rice and fish dish.
As the toddlers were waiting patiently for their lunch I noticed how they ALL (even the school-age kids) sucked on their thumbs/fingers and one of the workers explained that since most of these kids don't have anyone to ever soothe them that they learn to self-soothe by sucking on their fingers (seriously.... bawled my eyes out right there and then went and gave each of those sweet faces a big long hug!)
By the time I got back to the infant room they had finished their lunches and were getting diapered and changed for their afternoon nap. The kid in the picture below, Mikey... was one of the most adorable, smiley kids I have EVER met!
Maybe it was because his crib came with a view :)
This is DeJonay. He spent about 99% of the time I was there in my lap. He was blowing kisses to me, putting his head on my shoulder and snuggling the ENTIRE time. He babbled A LOT and I'm pretty sure he said that he wanted to come home with me. :) And I would have in an INSTANT!
Once the babies are fed and diapered, they're simply placed in their cribs one by one and expected to lay themselves down and nap without a blanket, pillow, lovie, paci, etc., etc., etc. DeJonay was giving me sad eyes and so I rocked him until he was almost asleep (then one of my students took my picture... and I didn't protest despite the fact that the humidity (and little fingers of curious toddlers) had destroyed my hair and I had red, puffy eyes from crying).

Below is a view of the baby area from the outside...
Here's the view from the orphanage...
Once all the babies (and older kids, too) were all settled in for their afternoon quite time the students and I were waiting outside for our team leaders. All of a sudden we can hear this squealing sound....
... it was Mikey :)

After an emotionally draining morning and afternoon we headed to the local beach down the street from where we were staying.

After a quick dip (quick, because since it's a public beach if you're there too late into the evening you start to see local people coming there and their idea of modesty is A LOT different than ours. hahaha) we headed back to Chattam Cottages to shower and eat another fantastic meal from Gloria. Then it was time for our regular evening team meeting and afterward free time. The students were practicing making balloon animals in preparation for a school we were going to visit later in the week and ended up creating "megatron"...

1 comment:

  1. Oh Andrea, how did you do it? I'm crying just thinking about how hard it must have been to rock those babies. Good for you for going!