May 062016

Today I went to the supermarket about 12kms up the road in a nearby town. What an experience…… The traffic was intense and navigating the people walking, pushbikes, motorbikes and various size trucks was not for the faint hearted. Then I heard a booming horn and turned around to see a kenworth truck fastly approaching I went white. As he passed us and I was staring at the lower hub caps within touching distance I had a vision of squashed ants!!!!

Then into the supermarket. You have to leave your bag in a locker and carry around the key. Don’t forget your locker number? . Then off you go. There are at least 3 employees at every isle chatting and security guards wandering around the place and the music is loud and the lights super bright. Get your stuff and off to checkout. Then to security where they check your items against the docket before letting you get you bag from locker.

A bit about the centre.

It is government owned and run centre for orphaned children. There is around 320 – 400 (depending who you talk to) people living there ranging in age from birth to death. Some children have no disability, some have various levels (mild to severe) physical disabilities and some have mild to severe intellectual disability. They are split into different rooms of around 25 people per room. There is a nursery and some children are adopted out to foreigners. This process can take around 18 months. There are govt workers in each room and they work 24 hour shifts. Their roll is to feed, bathe and toilet the children. The volunteers role is to give children attention, stimulation, touch and love. The older children (teenagers) usually have the role of looking after the children and changing nappies when required. Although nappy changes are usually three times a day. Some children are potty trained and can toilet themselves. Some children can feed themselves and some need help feeding. conditions are basic and the children share a bed. They are fed  well usually getting rice, meat, veggies and soup. They all look healthy.

The room I am in at the moment has various aged children with various (or nil) conditions. A few of the children go to the local school. A couple of days ago one of them came home with nits. Have been checking the rest of the kids but so far they (and i) are clear. The local shampoo they use is not seen as being overly useful but it’s all you can get here. A couple of the other kid’s have diarrhoea. So every day I come home hot, smelling of sweat, grime, dirt and urine. And with a special tale to tell about one of the children which makes it all worthwhile.

Mealtimes is always interesting. The govt workers dish up the food and give out to the ones that can themselves first then bowls of food and a spoon to us to feed the rest of the children. There always seems to be a rush to get them fed so they are spoon fed quite fast. I on the other hand feed them slow (according to the staff). The children have worked this out and a group of three come to me every time to be fed. They now tell me when they want more and when they don’t and we make sure that we sit so that the staff can’t see, otherwise I will be in trouble.

I hope everyone is well and not working too hard. Now that I have got over jetlag and a bit more used to the heat I have settled into the village life. Am off to Ba Vi National Park tomorrow which is a must see if up north. A local guy has offered to take us as we go to his cafe every night for dinner and this is bringing lots of locals to dinner too to check us out. So I guess we are good for business ? hope journal not too boring. Feedback is good ?


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