|The Writer's Page
||February 14th, 2008|
A new page in The Paper that offers a forum for area writers to display their work, to offer commentary, and/or criticism. Submit work by email, photo art will be considered (we prefer jpg). This will be an occasional feature, scheduled when the editor feels there is sufficent material with which to work and sufficient space to publish. No phone calls, please.
This is one of an occasional series of columns from Desiree, who is
serving an orphanage in the Republic of Uzbekistan, (formerly part of the USSR).
The Q Orphanage is as miserable as ever, but there is now some heat, which I think is being whisked away by the concrete walls and doors that don’t seal (great for summer, though). The kids are all sick, which would be a rational expectation considering the living conditions.
The pipes upstairs that feed the heating system burst, once the heat started working and thus the water drained through the floor and into the room below which is the babies’ sleeping room. At the time the water poured through, I don’t know whether they were in their beds or not, but they have all been since moved into the day room for the time being.
The plan to bring in more food is still in the process, but I sense we’ll lose more kids before the approvals are all in place. Just this week, I was told not to give a banana to one of the kids, “because she is allergic.” She always got bananas in the past without a problem. Then I went to give her a fortified cookie and was told she’s allergic to cookies. I let out an audible, defeated groan and asked in a pleading manner, “What can I feed her?”
The girl is starving; the pain undeniable. And yet, the staff asks me to sit with them for tea and food, as the kids watch – the children who dare (crawling, scooting or walking), come to the table where a worker yells them away or worse. The others cry out in hunger. Is this not some kind of hell?
Upon my insistence, I was allowed to take three kids upstairs to the exercise room. Thankfully, it was just us. The lack of distractions and the calmness instantly changed the kids’ moods. We worked on leg strength, stretching and just playing with the various toys I had brought. In minutes, they were all laughing (good for lung development) and smiling – not one of them can yet speak- though they are all over 5 years old. One child has Cerebral Palsy, the other two have hydrocephaly. They are all sweet and easily lovable.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of diary entries sent home from Uzbekistan, usually on a weekly basis.
If you would like to support Desiree in her mission, please send your checks to:
Uzbekistan & Humanity Inc
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4224