Monday, July 26, 2010

El Salvador: Day 1!!!

I am so overwhelmed just thinking about blogging about my trip! But I know I have to do it for the memories! So, I will start with Day 1. That was Sunday. We started off by going to Cipi. This is an orphanage that is ran by the government. It is a place where kids are taken when they are found on the streets, kicked out of their house, taken out of bad situations, or abandoned at the hospital. It is supposed to be a temporary  home. But that is not always the case. Some of these children have been there for years. They have different buildings for different ages/needs. The nursery was being redone while we were there so the babies and teen moms were stuck in the same room as the special needs kids. There were probably 25 or 30 kids/babies/teens/toddlers in one room. Cribs and beds lined up along the walls. No beds were assigned. Just wherever they landed. They had no clothes that belonged to them. Outside of this room there was a patio type deal. There the special needs kids get some fresh air. The first kid I met here was "No-No" :) He's a mischievous little booger. And that is how he dubbed the nickname "No-No". He has downs but is so smart. He would thrive so much if he had a family. He immediately took my camera and took like 451 pictures with it! Most of his finger. :)

In this room, I also met Antonio. Antonio is No-No's best friend. They get into some trouble together. :) Antonio has some physical handicaps but seems to be pretty alert and "normal" mentally. Sweet boy would be FINE if  he had had therapy as a baby. No-No took this pic of his best friend. Who also loved the camera. :)

Inside the room was a little overwhelming. Lots and lots of babies, moms, toddlers, special need kids. The kids were lying around and waiting on someone to pick them up. We were a little timid at first but so glad we took a step and just loved on these kids. Ernesto would grab your hand and take it to his chest. He wanted to be loved and touched.

They lay in beds with no sheets.This sweet boy is Salvador. He would just laugh and smile when given some attention.

This sweet baby has hydrocephalus. He had a stent put in to drain some fluid from his brain but still has a very short expected life. The doctors said there was no need to hold or love him because he won't live very long anyway. I thought that was CRAZY!!! That is all the MORE reason to love him. To hold him. To make him feel valued in his short little life. So, we did the best we could to show him we loved him.

I soon spotted a sweet little boy. We couldn't tell how old he was. He had a full set of teeth. But was very small. I went over and touched him and he just grinned!! :) I had no idea how much of a bond the two of us would form the rest of the week. But that will be covered in a later post. Sweet Carlos. Still not sure what his "diagnosis" is.
He cannot sit up and is very "top heavy". He is much bigger in his chest and head than his legs and feet. I would stroke his face and just love him. So. stinkin. precious.

He is such a cuddle bug.

Then I met whom would soon be named "spitter!" He was so sweet. So so so sweet. They had no medical records on him. No birth certificate. Nothing. Didn't even know his name. They named him Brian. He has some issues with swallowing so he simply spits. A LOT. :)

After we helped them bathe the children and change their pee/poop soaked clothes we went over to visit the boys. Wow. These boys have stories that we can never compare to or fathom.

This sweet boy had autism. He was aggressive so they simply sedate him to where he sleeps almost constantly. This breaks my heart for I've seen first hand what attention, love, and therapies can do for a child with autism.

They took a few of the boys and gave us parts of their stories so we could understand the losses they have gone through. I don't have a picture of this boy but he was brought in when they found him severely beat up. He was trying to join a gang. At age 13. He wanted acceptance. He wanted it so bad he was willing to be beaten up. Then next he would have had to kill someone. There is no limit to what these kids do for a little acceptance. Even if it negative.

This boy was one of many children in his family. He always had to fight for food. He finally decided to go work for his own money. He was 5. He cleaned buses. He was paid 50 cents per bus. He would keep a quarter and take a quarter to his mom. When they found him on the street, he was drunk. At age 5. The men he was cleaning buses for gave him alcohol. I guess for entertainment... I'm not sure why else?! But how sad. He was simply trying to feed himself and help his mom.

From there we went to the girls' room. There are girls all over this place! Most of them have stories similar to the boys. Neglected. Forgotten. Craving love, attention, value. Some have been molested. Some have been abused. They have hurt and anger. They feel dirty and tainted. Some have had babies. But all of them LOVE having their picture made!! I took many pictures of these girls simply because they asked me to. And if a click of a camera and a peek of themselves on my screen can make them smile then by george, i'll take their picture! We did a craft with them where we traced their hand. It was a way we could touch them appropriately and show them compassion. We placed a sticker with Jeremiah 29:11 on it. Very appropriate, I thought. They then wrote things about themselves. Some didn't know what to write. Some wrote a lot. 

After we visited with the girls, we went to lunch. After lunch we returned to Cipi. We split up and went to each group again. The Henderson's put on their puppet show for each group, the men painted faces, and a group painted all the girls' fingernails and did their hair. I mainly stayed with the special needs kids. :) What can I say? I'm drawn to them! I hung out some more with Carlos.

We soon found out that after the kids are bathed and changed, they are placed in wheelchairs (Even the ones that can walk just FINE!) And tied. Tied to the chair and the chair to the railing. And they sit. For hours. They strip their clothes, kick, spit, hit, scream, anything to pass the time.
Both of the boys in this picture can walk. And walk fine. The one on the right has his hands tied down, too. They tie his hands because he gags himself until he throws up. I've seen this kid while not tied.... Never saw him gag himself. I am convinced that it is out of pure boredom!

Is this baby not the CUTEST!?!?! He was soooo sweet. But a little spoiled. Did NOT want to be put down!

Even a tender touch of love can mean so much to them. We just hung out with these kids for a while.



It was hard to leave them but we knew we would see them again this week. More to come....

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