Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teaching in a Haitian orphanage

Wednesday has been the best day by far.  Jay, Lynda and I were assigned an orphanage we have not been to yet this week.  There are over 100 kids at this location and a mixture of kids with disabilities and children who were malnourished and have ended up here for refeeding programs.  I toured this orphanage once last year and was very impressed with all the leaders do for the children here as well as the programs in place-a fish hatchery, a chicken coup, rabbit cages, a garden, etc. 
He is deaf and mute but has a smile that melts your heart
Last year the caregivers received all 26 lessons from our teaching manual.  This year they requested we complete hands on teaching for all of the nannies of the disabled kids.  The first assignment was to help with bathing.  I opted to watch the kids while Jay and Lynda helped with the teaching.  I hope I don't sound too graphic, but the biggest concern with bathing was teaching about cleaning an uncircumscribed penis, hence why Jay was assigned to help with bathing.  Many of these children had never had their foreskins retracted and it was important for the caretakers to learn that this needs to be done every day. 

Jay walking one of the CP boys.
Most of the disabled kids have cerebral palsy.  Therapy is an important part of their care but a therapist is only able to come in twice a week and spends about 10 mins with each child.  For those of you aware of therapy needs, this is not nearly enough to make improvement in these kids.  We taught the caregivers a few exercises and discussed range of motion activities for them to do with the kids.

Schniedo had a laugh that would melt your heart! What an angel.
 A huge concern for the leaders of the orphanage is how the caretakers lift this kids.  Frequently the kids are picked up by wrists and ankles and almost tossed from chair into bed or bathtub.  We did hands on training with each caretaker on proper lift techniques and back protection.  It was rewarding to see the caretakers learn a new skill and begin to apply it with some of their patients.  Again, I hope it sticks...because if it doesn't I heard word that they will be fired. 
notice the kid in the red shirt...playing basketball with one leg and no crutches.  What a stud!
 Eating and choking was the last important point of education we touched on.  Meal time is a literal shovel fest as they lay this kids down and shovel huge portions of rice into the mouths of these kids.  This is they way the HAitians were taught and the way they have always done it.  Additionally they told me that if they didn't feed the kids fast they would have a seizure.  Wow-lots of education here was needed and lots of convincing that this is not safe for the kids. 
Jay overseeing the caretakers lifting one of the kids into their bed properly
There is WAY more to say, but the power has gone out multiple times and I'm running late this morning for leaving for clinic.  Got to run! Sorry if there are spelling errors or missed words.. This was typed very fast!


  1. I think it is so awesome that you and Jay are doing this! It breaks my heart that these children don't have all the TLC that they deserve, but I'm so glad that people like you take the time to improve their quality of life. You are awesome!

  2. just thinking about you guys! hope all is well!