Today Ian went with me to the orphanage.
When we arrived I noticed there were already 3 or 4 other volunteers there for that day. Then I always think , well was that the best time to come? And maybe they don’t need the help today?
But I can never know the schedule so I think sticking with a routine is best. I have the plan to go every Tuesday. My friend that took me there typically goes on another day. I think that is good, that way they can have visitors and help twice a week at least, if not more from other people.
We jumped in and started feeding the porridge to the older babies. I am getting used to the sharing spoons and all and fed two of the babies at the same time. Then we went and got more to feed a couple more. Same bowl, same spoon. Ian picked up a few babies and talked to them and played with them. He was not as comfortable holding the little ones, just seemed like they were slipping down. He had a good grip but definitely didn’t seem natural. So he went and talked with the older babies too and took a few out to play.
One thing I noticed today is that they do take care of these children. They will wash their faces, put Vaseline or cream all over them, change them, talk to them, even take turns holding some of the littlest ones to feed a bottle. Several of the workers will touch them as they walk by and speak to them. So that is good. As far as orphanages go, it seems like they do care for the children here.
They must have good funding, because the center is big and also has a medical clinic there as well. A range of school age kids too. Today as we were walking out a boy came over to say hello. He especially wanted to meet Ian. He shook hands and then they asked names and ages. He was 10 also.
So the heartbreak of the day today was seeing little Akim.
As I mentioned before he is so frail and malnourished. But today he was laying in his crib with his shirt off, and 2 IV ports, one in each arm. He must not weigh more than 8 pounds, I am sure much less and he is probably under 3 months old. But it is so hard to tell. He was looking alert for a little bit, just looking around. What could he be thinking? How is he feeling?
Try to picture the most malnourished skinny baby you have seen on TV or in pictures, dying in Africa and that is what it looks like.
Only worse. Because on TV you can be sad, but what can you do? You can’t hold them or talk to them. It may affect you, but really what can you do?
I was busy feeding the porridge to the others and still keeping my eye on him and watching. Towards the end of my time there, another woman was getting ready to hold him. The worker put a sleeveless t-shirt on him and went to change his diaper. I was watching from a distance, but when they took off his diaper he was even skinnier. His diaper was huge in comparison to what it was actually covering. He was so shriveled up and only then could I tell his stomach was bloated out a little bit because of how tiny is legs were and the loose skin everywhere.
The woman took him out, held him touched his legs a lot and then gave him a bottle with water. He doesn’t seem to ever drink the milk, and I am not sure how much water he took. I went over to hold Mwasa ( the tiny girl) because she had started to cry. Such a faint tiny cry. So I held her awhile and then the woman holding Akim had to leave. She put him back in his crib and after she left, I took him out to hold a few minutes.
I am sure they are getting fluids in him with the IV’s, but in the month I have been visiting there, he looked the worst today. Like he is not getting better.
As I watched him today I thought, he looks like he is dying. Slowly. Please, please pray for him.
At dinner I was telling the rest of the family about our visit today and we stopped eating to pray for him. James asked me to pray. With tears and a heavy heart, I did.
Then this evening when I was tucking Caleb in bed, he prayed for “ this little boy baby” .
Please share this burden with us and pray for this little one.