||March 27th, 2008|
This is one of an occasional series of columns from Desiree,
serving an orphanage in the Republic of Uzbekistan, (formerly part of the USSR).
Well the rain has finally come and just enough to make the months of accumulated dust from the roof run like muck down the sides of the house and onto the walkways. The mud is inescapable, but the moisture so appreciated.
The changes in many of my kids are also as if the layers of neglect have started to melt away. Even though this presents new challenges, we are thankful for their development.
Sherzod, one of the few boys in my group, always had mittens tied at his wrists. We were told he was destructive, but once I took his hands out of the mildewed mitts, one could easily see that he lacked any strength to be violent with his velvety hands. This week after some training, he began to feed himself. I am sure, however, that hunger was also a good motivator for him moving his own hand to his own mouth – once there was food in it.
In the past, he had been fed in the big crib. He would tilt his head back, like a new born bird and wait for the giant spoon to drop food in his mouth, never using his own lips to grasp the spoon. I have now started sitting him at the table, after weeks of me feeding him sitting in a stroller and he is doing great! Next week I plan to bring him a lollipop and hope to see him connect it to his mouth, with plans that soon he’ll be able to hold a spoon.
We have also started bringing in bananas and all the kids love them. The workers do too! I located some soy bean sprouts and hope to be able to add it to the daily mush, so that the kids can get some real protein. The challenge with the soy bean is getting "permission" to give it. The bananas were easily accepted because it’s something the staff wants for themselves and they could rarely afford to buy for themselves. We give it to them and they allow us to give it to the kids.
I have not yet hired the National swim coach for Umida, as she continues to do quite well on her own. She now swims 1,500 meters in 40 minutes. We are going through swim goggles rather quickly, as the quality here is miserable and they easily tear, but still Umida swims without them and exits the pool looking like she’s cried for months on end. She loves it!
We had a local Russian girl visit on Wednesday. She wanted to come to learn more English, so I set it up that Umida could talk with her, since they are both 14 years old. It was funny to hear them talk about music. On one end Umida was bragging about how her grandpa had shared all this cool music with her and on the other, the girl was shocked that Umida had never heard of Britney Spears! The girl remarked as if thoroughly offended, "I don’t know how could you know James Blunt, but never heard of Britney Spears! Incredible!"
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