hidden behind walls.

the combination of poop.pee.puke stings my nostrils as i enter the gates of the orphanage. how can you despise and enjoy something at the same time. it seems to be a constant battle that i encounter between these two emotions. the feeling of despite normally arises when i initially walk into the high walled area that they consider a suitable home for hundreds of abandoned children. how can anyone believe that this is a healthy environment for children to be raised. then a sense of enjoyment pops up at the sight and greeting of the guards and workers, that have absolutely not one mean or ill-willed bone in their bodies. i continue to the building that serves as these children's safe haven and am now bordering the line of tolerance of the awful stench of unattended babies and not-all-the-way-dissolved baby formula milk. as i trek up to the third floor, the cry and yearning for love and attention fills my ears. i again enter into an attitude of despite and wish that more people would just simply care. I arrive to the third floor and enjoyment floods back into my system as i peek around the corner and see the empty, but beaming faces of these precious little beings. they stand there in their cribs waiting to just be cleaned. they have already learned by now that they shouldn't expect any sort of affection from the workers, so they impatiently fidget until it's their turn to be washed and maybe get a diaper (on a good day). the nurses are on their own schedule and it is at times unclear to where you can really help. sometimes i just take it upon myself to start taking them to the bath...its hard to really love on a child if your hand is being soaked by runny poop. 

most times i visit...its the same routine of cleaning, feeding and playing. they're children and they are all different, so of course, their little personalities come out, each time different, but altogether their demeanors are constant. however, this particular visit was tough. the young child you see pictured below is assetou. she is absolutely beautiful..she is frail and gentle, but has the brightest smile (when she does smile). her right eye has large spots of gray, which i am not too sure if its simply an eye color or if she will one day be blind in that eye. nonetheless, she is gorgeous and so sweet to handle. never have i seen her act out.. until today. when i made it to the room, i immediately began cleaning babies and wrapping them in new diapers. Assetou was one of the first to be cleaned, so she was calmly walking around waiting for her playmates. about forty minutes later i finally finished diapering up the last child and was thrilled to be able to pick up any of them without getting soiled. however, assetou has been right by my side from the moment i rescued her from her crib. so i picked her up and covered her face with kisses. her desolate face was dazed, but i could still see the craving she had to just be held and adored. a few moments later i placed her down and turned my attention to some other children crowded down by my feet. i expected her to quietly walk away and find some blocks to entertain her, but instead i hear this ear-splitting scream and see a face full of tears. i was somewhat thrown off, but i thought, ok maybe she is just cranky. so i turn my attention back to her for a few moments and think alright she will probably be ok now. no. i was wrong. it came to a point where she was demanding so much attention that i ended up ignoring her, yet still keeping my eye on her, examining her face and trying to figure out what was going on in that small brain of hers. 

friends, she broke my heart. she simply could not stand the fact that i was loving on other children besides her. it was as if i was abandoning her. she lashed out against me, against the kids, against herself.. how does she even understand at such a young age. i guess she could. all she has known is the cold, unfriendly walls of this dungeon. she has no idea of trust or love or care. love is so simple to give (especially to a child), yet so high in demand. 
before i left for the day, i picked her up and embraced her small frame one more time, reassuring her that i did love her and i would never stop. does she understand that? probably not. & it will probably take quite some time for her to ever understand. 
i suppose you can now see the real depth of my battle between despite and enjoyment when i visit the orphanage. a battle that i must fight, not for my sake, but for the precious faces that are hidden behind walls. 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: 
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
..james 1.27

No comments: