Luis is one of the infants, and he is deaf and blind. However, he is such a cuddly baby, and if you hold him close to you so that he can feel the vibration of your chest he will start "talking" back to you (as you see him doing with Josh in this video). Luis loves to have his face gently stroked, and he responds by moving his head gently in the direction of the hand touching him. He's a giant teddy bear, and so sweet. Unfortunately, there is nothing else that can be done for him here at the Hogar, and he will go to another home when there is room for him there. The thing that makes me so sad about Luis is that in the United States he would thrive. I have worked with deaf and blind people in the past (during the couple of years of studying ASL), and they are productive individuals in society in the U.S. Here, however, Luis will likely never get an education since they do not have the resources to teach someone who is deaf and blind, and he will likely spend the rest of his life confined to a home with minimal interaction.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Today was another great day at the Hogar.
After lunch a few of us took a group of the kids to the park down the street. It's so fun to walk the three blocks with 10-15 kids; some on crutches, wheelchairs and strollers to be pushed, and others just need a hang to help keep their balance. It's an adventure, but one that I absolutely enjoy.
One thing about the Hogar that amazes me is the sense of responsibility that these children have. Not only to one another, but to the house and the belongings within the house. Not only do the children help do the dishes (hand wash, rinse, dry and put away) after each of the three daily meals, but they immediately sweep the floors throughout the entire house, too. Several of the children grab brooms and start sweeping, someone else starts mopping, another empties the trash bin, and another one or two wipes down the four tables. After a meal with nearly 50 people the dining room is as spotless within ten minutes as it was prior to the meal. Immediately following clean-up the children all brush their teeth; those that cannot do it themselves (confined to bed, too small, or no arms) get help from another child or a volunteer. And then it's back to playing, reading, coloring, music, or whatever they want to do. Whenever the children are finished doing an activity, everything is cleaned up and put away. Nothing is left behind to be put away later or for someone else to clean up. I know that a home with this many children would be difficult if it weren't for the discipline that these children have, but it still says a lot about the Hogar, Dr. Tony and the children. It takes a lot of cooperation and respect for the home for everything to remain as tidy as it does. It's a system, and it works perfectly.
Tomorrow is market day, and I hope to be going with Dr. Tony to purchase the food for the following week. If I do go I'll be sure to get pictures to share.
Lastly, I'm still going to post a list of items (aside from money) that are needed here at the Hogar. Once I have it I will share it with you all. I want to say "thank you" in advance for any donation (monetary or otherwise) that any of you make to Villa la Paz. As someone who has been here and experienced the beauty and love of the Hogar I can tell you that every penny is worth more than you can ever imagine.
Laura and Juan during baby time. Juan recently had surgery to repair his cleft lip so his arms are restrained to keep him from pulling at the stitches.
This is the baby room where all of the infants and toddlers are kept unless we have them out for baby time (9-11am and 3-4pm). There is someone (nurse or caretaker) in this room 24 hours a day.
Elsa and Teruko.
Posted by Michelle at 9:11 PM
The bicycle that you see in the videos was made for Victor so that he could ride with his prosthetic leg and steer with his chin or mouth. However, he enjoys using his chin and pushing the babies during baby time more than riding it himself, as you can see. Just another example of how these children help one another.
Posted by Michelle at 11:27 AM
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I have had a few requests regarding the Hogar and what is needed. First and foremost monetary donations are needed because this is how the surgeries are paid for the children who need them. This includes chemotherapy for the constant stream of patience with various types of cancer, prosthetics, skin grafts for burn victims, braces for cerebral palsy patients, etc. Dr. Tony can only do so much himself here at the Hogar, and the rest is done at a private hospital in Lima. Without money these children cannot get the medical care they need. So even if it is a small donation to Villa la Paz it will help.
Dr. Tony is compiling a list for me of specific items that he needs that are cheaper or better quality from the United States. He has already mentioned the cases for asthma inhalers-not the medicine that goes in them, but the plastic cases that the medicine is put into. They are also in need of a couple of umbrella strollers, and one nicer stroller for the medical trips to Lima, but they are so cheap here in Peru that it would be best to send the money and let them be bought here. As soon as I have the list from Dr. Tony of the things that he needs I will post it.
In the meantime, if you feel compelled to donate monetarily, in any amount, to the Hogar, you can do so by visiting http://www.villalapazfoundation.org/. There is a United States address or you can contribute via Paypal right from the site.
Posted by Michelle at 8:43 PM
Today was pretty low key. Aside from the morning trip to the smoothie shop for fresh fruit and coffee time with the doctor we didn't have to leave the house. That left plenty of time for playing with the kids, and getting to know more of their individual personalities. Two new volunteers arrived today. Two students from USF that I already know. We planned our trips to be at approximately the same time. So there are now 7 USF students here, two volunteers from England, one from Ireland, one from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and one from Germany. It's a great group, and with such a large group of volunteers there is more time to spend one on one with the children.
Coffee time is each day from 4-5pm, and it is just Dr. Tony and the volunteers. There is a coffee and pastry shop a few blocks from the Hogar, La Morochita, and it is the only place Dr. Tony goes for coffee. The desserts are all homemade, and so delicious. In addition to coffee they serve fresh fruit juices, including strawberry, pineapple, orange and lemon. The strawberry juice is my favorite, and is what I usually get. We spend the hour just talking about the events of the day or things that have nothing to do with the Hogar. It's a very relaxed hour, and is much needed in the midst of so much that is done each day.
We have just finished dinner, and the children will be going to bed soon. The children eat at 5pm, but the volunteers have a separate dinner with Dr. Tony each night at 7:30. It is the only meal that he does not eat with the children.
Tomorrow begins a new adventure. The children of the Hogar will be creating artwork to be sold for donations, and the money will be used to care for the children. Each volunteer is assigned a specific child (or two or three) and will work with them over the next week to create their piece of art. It will be fun, and I have no doubt that some beautiful artwork is soon to be created.
Laura with Esmerelda during baby time. Baby time is from 9-11am and 3-4 each day. It's a time when the volunteers take all of the babies from the infant room and bring them outside for some time outside of their cribs. They all love it, and so do we.
A few of the olders learning about the internet. The laptops were donated to the Hogar just recently, and the children use them to help learn English.
Demi feeding Jair the rest of his dinner as he falls asleep. No child is allowed to get up until EVERY bite of food is eaten. No exceptions, ever.
Andrea's hand that has been surgically repaired. Both were deformed, and the fingers were all fused together as a result of apoptosis (cell death) that did not occur in the womb, allowing the bones between the fingers to form. This hand has had the fingers separated, and the other hand will be done soon. Andrea's deformities are the result of Apert Syndrome.
Laura with Esmerelda. She is a major snuggle baby despite the fact that she makes no noises and can't move herself voluntarily. She loves to be snuggled.
Posted by Michelle at 6:53 PM
I'm catching up from yesterday, 7/28/10.
After lunch time with the children a few of the volunteers and I took a bus to Chosica, the next "big" town over from Chaclacayo. It is about a ten minute bus ride from the Hogar, but due to the holiday (it is Independence Day here) it took about 45 minutes to get there. We quickly looked around the market, bought some soap that Mamita (the cook) needed in the kitchen, and then had to head back to the Hogar to help with the babies during baby hour (9-11am and 3-4pm). Chosica was a busy town, but the bus drive was the most interesting part of the trip. The drivers yell out of the door trying to get people onto their bus, and when you do put your hand out to be picked up (anywhere along the street) they basically slow down, let you jump in while they are still moving, and then take off again. It's crazy.
Once we got home we spent the rest of the day with the kids, and it was a beautiful day.
Julia and her padre. He comes to visit her every two months, and it is a 48 hour bus ride to get to the Hogar from the jungle where they live. They are very poor, and he works to basically come to visit Julia. He is such a sweet man, and stayed for two days at the Hogar with Julia. He played with her throughout the day, and slept on one of the couches at night. He brags about her constantly, and misses her terribly.
Two of the boys doing the dishes after a meal. They wash, rinse, dry and put all of the dishes away after each meal.
(l-r) Deanna, Molly, Laura, and Sean in Chosica. They are students of USF, too, but we did not know them prior to their arrival two days ago. Laura (in pink) is one of the sweetest women I've met, and she has so much compassion for the Hogar and the children here.
Jair. He had club feet and half of his face is paralyzed. Both are the result of a condition called Moebius syndrome. His feet have been surgically repaired, and he gets around just like any other toddler. He is Dr. Tony's little guy.
Posted by Michelle at 6:14 PM