Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home for Motherless Babies

This weekend has been jam packed, but wonderful. We filled a lot of activities in on Saturday. 

To start off... Saturday was Heather's birthday! Heather and her husband, Keith are also teachers at ACA and live right in a house behind ours. Heather's Canadian and Keith is Nigerian and they are awesome!

In celebration of her birthday, Keith cooked a fabulous breakfast for all of us.
After breakfast, we got ready and then went to a local orphanage. Like myself, Heather just recently lost her niece and for her birthday, Heather wanted to celebrate her neice's life by going to an orphanage to cuddle some babies. 

We found a place that was close to us, the "Ibadan Home of Motherless Children." I had seen the term used on different buildings, but I didn't know what it meant by "motherless babies." Aren't they fatherless too? Does this society not put an emphasis on the fathers as well? I asked myself. 

When I got there, I found out that all of these children had lost their mothers, mostly in childbirth, and because the fathers have to work, they are not able to take care of the children. This particular place keeps the babies until they're 3, at which point hopefully the father will come to get the child. As the case usually goes, the father does not claim the child and they are sent on to an orphanage/school for older children. 

This is the outside of the facilities. 

The first thing we did when we got there was scoop up the nearest babies. These precious little things were starved for attention. Unfortunately just as quickly, we got yelled at and asked I set the babies down. 

We were also told that we couldn't take pictures, but I was able to sneak the following. 

I settled down with the little infants that were under 9 months. The babies had nothing but the hard cement floor to sit on and their hands were bound in socks that had been tied at the wrists, so that they couldn't suck their thumbs. Some of the kids were sitting in a puddle of their own pee because it wasn't time to be changed. From what I could gather, everything was done on schedule and if te poor baby peed before schedule, well then they'd have to sit with the consequences. 

Even though I'm no psychologist, for the basic fundamental child development classes that I have had, we know that the ability to suck and also be heald are such fundamental stages in their developing into healthy adulthood. 

One of my favorites was this precious baby. She had the most adorable gummy smile!

Ahh, just look at those precious eyes! 

And beautiful feet and hands. 

I tried to get away with the "no holding" rule by sitting on the ground with them, but I was eventually discovered. 

Ahh, bless my soul, I love babies so much!
This little one was one of the smallest infants I've ever seen, and they told us she was a month old.

Absolutely precious!

Around noon, the matron came in, and we realized why the women had been trying to enforce the rules. She started yelling at each one of us for holding the babies. "I do not believe in sentiment!" She shouted. "Sentiment is no good. See these children, they are without parents, so they must learn to be independent. If you give sentiment it spoils the babies. When you leave the babies will just be unhappy." 

Then as if she was very proud of the fact, she pointed to all of the infants we were able to st up on their own. They each had a metal bowl of food in front of them. "See this, every one of them is under 9 months and they can already eat on there own. I am teaching them to be independent because they don't have parents to take care of them."

The poor babies were slumped over their food and would have starved if they had not learned to grab a handful and put it in their mouths. 

It wasn't much better for the newborns. They had to drink a porridge mix out of a cup. Some were held and others had to sit on the floor to be fed this way. 

After the children ate, we were allowed to carry the infants into another room where they were being put down for their naps. 

I was able to sneak a few more pictures without them looking. 

They're all just starved for some attention!

I left with a breaking heart. Part of me wants to never see that again. If this is supposed to be a good orphanage, what do the other ones look like?

The bigger part of me wants to go back right now and snuggle with the babies. 

I have been given a glimps of how things are.  I'm at the crossroads. Do I take action or sit where it is more comfortable, asking, what can I do? They have their rules. Could I even make a change?

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdomprepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After our time with the babies, I had a practice for a fashion show that I'm in next month for the Indian Festival of Lights. 

After enjoying my time with the Indian women, we changed quickly and went to my roommate's church for her choir concert. 

Both Sam and I dressed up for the occasion in traditional Nigerian dresses made from Nigerian lace and onkara. 

Everyone in the concert had to wear clothes made out of a tiger striped onkara fabric. 

The last part of my day was a reminder of the small world we live in. We went to a restaurant after the concert and when I looked up I couldn't believe my eyes... The Clemson game was playing on the TV!! What a fun reminder of home!



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