Thursday, January 14, 2010

Victory Home and Some Deep Thoughts

Thursday, January 14, Victory Home

Wednesday, at home

I woke up at 3 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, so finally I got up and went into the bathroom to upload photos. At 5:30, it was too hot in the bathroom, so I went back into the room to work. Rose Bud must have been really tired, because she didn’t wake up at all.

She crabbed when I woke her up at 7, but soon she was up and wrapping herself in her sari.

We walked down to the internet café, which we were told would be open at 7:30. Not open. (Later, when we arrived again at 8:30, they insisted they HAD been open at 7:30, even though the slide down door had been down!)

Instead, we went to breakfast where we had idly, sambar and vada along with chai tea again.

At nine we loaded into the cars for the 5 minute ride to Victory Home. It is located in a slum colony and is again a gated, whitewashed compound.

At Victory Home, there are 4 rooms of children, 68 in all. There are two rooms for the littles—one of the “old” children and one for the new ones which arrived in December. Ditto with the older children. There is one room for the older children who have been there a long time and another for the new ones.

We spent two hours in each room, holding the kids, passing them around, hearing their stories and finally, participating in a prayer service dedicating the new children. For the dedications, the pastor (who is the house father) and the amma, his wife, the house mother, led, but everyone was encouraged to pray for any needs they felt led to, out loud, all at once.

I don’t even know how to tell you about the children. We met all 68 of them today and almost all of them were held at some point by someone. Every single one of them is absolutely precious! They love to be held and they just soak up every bit of attention you give them. Most of them liked to be tickled and would burst into giggles of some sort. We rocked them, sang to them, bounced them, played little games with them and talked to them. Everyone just picked up whoever they felt drawn to and when you were done holding one, you laid him down or passed her along and picked up one more.

We began in the room of “old” littles and we met

Rebecca (LOVED HER)

Yemima (she wore her outfit to match Rose Bud today)

Justin (remember Justin who had the stroke? He’s doing better, but he just slept the entire time we were there)

Also in this room were 3 of the new kids

N (whom you met the other day when we were in Hyd) Look how well he is holding up his head today!

Cassia (she doesn’t smile or do much—kind of sad) (the white stuff on her face is a lotion or powder they spread on all the kids to make them look lighter)

And Aloe. Everyone fell in love with Aloe. She has primordial dwarfism and there are only 100 people in the world with it. She is absolutely teeny. TEENY. But older than you would think because she will just always be small. She will likely not get to be more than 18 inches tall. Ever.

We had a break for soda and tea. Sarah brought out a box of therapy supplies she purchased with our donations. I will do a separate post when I can share photos of some of the things she got, but she has made great use of all of your donations!

Next we met the older girls, most of whom have been there for a year or more. This was my favorite room and the girls were so sweet! They were so excited to be introduced, one by one and every single one of them was dressed to the nines! They were so proud to look so beautiful for us!

This is Megan.  I am crazy about her!  She is in our group

Introducing, Victoria

We went back to the hotel for lunch and then back to V Home for another round.

In the upstairs rooms are the new kids. The first room was filled with littles and Rose Bud made a best friend. This little boy has no eye on one side and no vision in the eye on the other side, but what he lacks in vision he makes up for in personality! She held him all through this session (2 hours) and through most of the next (another hour).

I have a video of him cracking up that I'll post, but maybe not until we get home.

She is SO good with all the kids and really is enjoying meeting them and hanging out. She goes right to whichever one needs picking up and swoops them up, singing to them or playing with them. She was very good with the older girls who are much more interactive and social than the babies. The big girls come right up to you and want to tell you things.

The last room was the little big kids. They were maybe ages 4-8 or so and were more of the new kids. When we came in, R. who will be in our group tomorrow, was having a tantrum because another girl had taken the teddy bear. It technically belongs to everyone, but this other girl generally claims it. R. had gotten ahold of it and was enjoying it, but the other girl had taken it back.

The teacher was trying to shush her and basically, I think, tell her to suck it up. She sat crying in the middle of the floor, turning away from the teacher each time she tried to calm her. I finally put out my hands to her and after a few requests to come, she came to me and I held her, sobbing, until she calmed down.

I also played with one of the blind girls, who is such a smart cookie. She was actually the one who ended up with the bear and I ran her hand over the bear’s ears, then her ears, then my ears, telling her “ears.” I could see her mouthing “ears” under her breath. By the time we had played through head, ears, eyes, nose, she was reaching for her own mouth after we did the bear’s mouth. She was very cute!

After about an hour in the last room, Theresa noticed that everyone was just sitting in tired lumps and we called the day early. We went back to her place and ordered in dinner from our restaurant. The girls looked at the photos we’ve taken on our computer and Rose Bud showed them pictures from home. She also got to play with Theresa’s mosquito bat. This looks exactly like a badminton racket and is battery operated. You swing it through the air and it electrocutes the mosquitoes you hit with a satisfying sizzle. There was also a minor snake scare as Erin went up on the roof in the dark for something and saw a long skinny black thing in the middle of the roof. She came down for help and, ready for adventure, we all went trooping up there to check it out. Kailee & Rose Bud walked right up to it while the other girls hung back fearfully. Kailee kicked it, and it was only a rope, which she promptly draped over the other girls as soon as they turned their backs to her to look out over the city.

I’m definitely feeling more overwhelmed by India this time. I’m having a harder time sleeping, my sunburn hurts. I’m ok with the kids. That’s not overwhelming me, although some of the others are done in by their vast needs. We’re talking it all through a lot and searching for our purpose in being here. Many of us are here with a change-the-world mentality and it’s jarring to realize you can’t. You might not even be able to change anything. That’s hard.

We’re trying to bring ourselves down to making the little differences we can, being here to support and encourage Sarah, to keep her strong while she is in this day-to-day and to show the kids that they are loveable and loved. Every little smile we create burns something into their brains and has to give them hope.

They really are very well taken care of here, and Sarah is doing as much as she possibly can. Things are done in an Indian way, which to our American thinking can’t be “right.” But it is right, for these kids here. Now. Not to say there isn’t room for doing things differently sometime, someday, but this is working and we have to be satisfied with it. I don’t think we’ve experience culture shock in the larger sense of India—the streets, the teeming masses, the smells, the sounds. But we have experience culture shock when comparing life for 68 children vs our 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 10. We have experienced culture shock when comparing feeding babies here vs. feeding our babies. Changing babies here vs. changing our babies. Playing with babies here vs. playing with our babies. Providing stimulation and therapy here vs. at home.

It’s working. We can support it. We can pray about it. We can donate toward it. We can accept it.

I don’t want Sarah to think we don’t appreciate what she is doing. I think we’ve just all been surprised at how it is done. We came wanting to do it our American way and what we need to do is supplement and add to the Indian way.

This is going on and on in circles, but it’s something we’ve all been struggling with because we really didn’t understand what it would be like. We’re learning. We’ll get there.

And Sarah, we love you and we’re AMAZED by the miracles you are accomplishing. Because they are miracles and God is here in a big, big way.


Patty Broberg said...

Hi! I read Sarah's blog whenever she updates, and since she posted a link to your blog, I thought I'd take a look. I'm up in the middle of the night, praying for people (friends, family, people in Haiti, and you guys!).

I just wanted to say thanks for writing so much. I haven't even gotten to the other blogs, but it is REALLY helpful to hear what is happening from your point of view. My husband is hoping to make a trip out there with a couple of friends in a month or so, and I'm hoping to get to go someday, too. It's really good to hear the things we may end up struggling with, too, as well as just the ins and outs of visiting!

God bless your time there -- we'll be praying!

julie said...

Thanks for the update Sandwich. We are still praying for you all. I read where you all are concerned about your purpose for being there, and the realization of Indian vs American ways. However, please know that your time there, ever how short it is, won't go without fruit. Those children are always going to remember the love you and the rest of the team are showing. Whether they receive continual therapies, treatments, etc will not compare with the love of God shown through you. Even for this short time, the kids will know that they are loved, and that love will always be remembered.

Love, alone, can accomplish great things! You are planting a seed that God will bless in these children.

Please tell the others from Mabank we said hello! It's no surprise to use that Kailee is the "Great snake hunter"!! Go Kailee!

Praying you have a wonderful day today,


Nikki said...

Awww, LOVE the photos! Aloe looks even tinier than I imagined!