For the first time since being here, I wish I was home! This is not because I'm not enjoying myself (I am definitely in my happy place), and it's not because I am lonely or miss the comforts of home. It's actually because BreAnne, my cousin, is in labor!!! I so wish I was there with her, holding her hand, telling her she can do it, push, push, push, etc. I'm with you in spirit BreAnne. Cacey and I both are. It's driving me crazy not being there! Uggghhh! To make matters worse, about an hour after getting the text saying she was having contractions, the phone service went out and I couldn't send or receive any messages! Today, the reception is a little better, but still spotty. Ahhhh! I NEEEED to know this stuff! :) Keep me updated people!
In thinking about BreAnne's baby, I was beginning to get emotional. I was just thinking how lucky that baby will be. No matter what, BreAnne's baby will be loved more than anything else in the world and given anything and everything he or she (we will soon find out!) will ever need. Obviously, this was making me emotional because I have been working in a place with 55 babies that will never have that. They will never have half that. In Tanzania, there is a phrase in Swahili that Tanzanians call children who end up in orphanages. Loosely translated, it means "the lucky ones." They are considered lucky because they will receive food, water, shelter, and clothing. Even kids who have parents aren't guarenteed these things. There is a little boy that rides his bike in front of our house that is wearing shorts with one entire pant-leg missing, and half of his little butt hanging out. His shirt has a hole in the back where it has been worn down, not torn. He's probably nine years old. I'm looking for shorts that will fit him, but for now, I am thinking about giving him one of my shirts. I wish I could give him more, but how can we do that for every child like him? Like everyone always tells me, I know I can't save the world. Blah blah blah. I'm going to do the best I can.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but a month ago, the baby home got a new little boy, Jacabo. I am pretty sure his story is that he was abandoned in the street and was taken to Social Welfare and then brought to Forever Angels. He is probably 15-18 months old and SOOO cute. When new kids arrive at the baby home, they are always a little shellshocked for the first few days. They usually cry a lot and do not want to interact with the other kids. This lasts anywhere from a few days to about a week, and it's usually fewer for the younger kids.
It has now been a month, and Jacabo is still in this phase. I have never in my entire life - in all the daycare kids with hard lives, foster kids, clients, or other orphans I've worked with - seen a child as sad as Jacabo. He is completely lifeless. He just sits there, staring. He has absolutely no interest in playing with the other kids. If I or another volunteer tries to play peek-a-boo, sing, or anything else, he just won't smile. I have gotten him to smile by tickling him a couple times, but as a whole he is just the saddest child I have ever seen. He is also ALWAYS tired...and not tired in a sleepy baby kind of way. I will be holding him and he will just close his eyes, as if to escape his surroundings. Have you EVER seen a child close his eyes when they are not tired? NO! If he were an adult, or even a child just a few years older, I would diagnose him with depression in a heartbeat. I have just spent a lot of my internet time looking up infant depression, treatment, etc. What most of the research says is that he has probably developed "learned helplessness." Basically, he has been rejected so many times, not having basic needs met (crying for food, attention, etc), that he has just learned that he will never be content. He has learned to be helpless. He needs someone to love and take care of him, one-on-one, 24/7 for a long time (forever preferably). It's just so hard at the baby home because there are so many babies to take care of at all times. You just can't really do one-on-one. Tomorrow is my day off, so maybe I'll just go down and spend my whole day with him. Today during feeding time, I was watching him and literally tearing up. It is just so sad you guys. SO SAD. I can't say it enough. I feel my heart...and it hurts for Jacabo. Please pray for him.
Running out of internet time...keep BreAnne and Jacabo in your thoughts and prayers.