Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 11 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 6 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 8 girls

Monday, June 29, 2009

and what a season this is....

Florence Nightingale Jennifer here again…

The health concerns are still taking hours of my time every day. I really love studying this stuff, but I do actually have other “director” things to do. If you’ve sent me an email and are still awaiting an answer….feel free to pray that I have a few hours of solitude this week to begin catching up! I also REALLY need to begin the next newsletter, which also takes some concentrated quiet time, something just not attainable in the office these days (or really anywhere, thanks to the constantly ringing phones and knocks at my door!).

And then today I visited CDA’s psychologist, who has been in the hospital since yesterday morning because of a miscarriage scare. When I got there, her face was glowing as she had just found out the results of the sonogram—the baby is fine! I breathed a sigh of relief to not walk through the death of yet another baby.

But all the other health concerns in this city currently….. I’m trying not to be stressed out and worried wreck over everything, but it’s taking all my will power! I keep (almost) daily track of changes with the H1N1 virus and now the government is encouraging everyone to use masks. From what I’ve read from the west, masks are neither necessary nor very helpful (as far as daily life activities). So who to believe? What to implement in the homes? In times like these, when everyone is looking to me for guidance and decision making, I really feel the weight of my responsibility. …39 children, 20 staff members and their families, 3-5 volunteers...

I’ve spent many hours, day and night, thinking through the model of the Baby Home and how to best protect them, then through CDA II kids who go out more and yet are bigger and in contact with far fewer staff members, then CDA III kids, who go out constantly and have gotten some pretty strange viruses this year.

As I print out information for the staff and keep them as informed as possible, and aware of signs of scarlet fever, Hepatitis A, and influenza H1N1, I realize that really taking ALL precautions is more expensive. Sigh. Apparently, the best hygienic habits fly in the face of saving money. As part of the recent cutbacks in the homes, we’ve started to tackle a surprisingly large area of our budget: cleaning supplies. Lots of soap, paper towels to dry hands, and hot water (really only possible at CDA II, but it’s v-e-r-y expensive to keep the water heater on) all adds a lot of expense. And yet, if providing all of that led to less sickness, it's totally worth it...and I'd rather spend money on prevention than medicine. The thing is, deciding and sticking to my decision so that all is enforced in the homes. I've already implemented an "all taxi" policy (versus crowded buses) for outings with kids.

The cultural differences are a constant challenge as well. In five years here I’ve learned to pick my battles, but one that we still have confrontations on is bathing when sick. I’d prefer a sick, well-bathed and clean smelling baby. They will not bathe a child for days and days on end if they have a runny nose or cough or any other sign of illness. It's better now in the Baby Home, but there are still times when I wonder how a dirty baby will be healthier when we're not in the countryside of Bolivia on the side of a desolate, wind swept mountain…?

And then there’s the whole area of hand washing. There’s hardly a meeting in our existence of nearly 5 years where I haven’t brought up good hand washing practice and it's importance at some point. But now I’ve come to realize via volunteers that whereas I think, in my busy run throughs of the homes, that the staff is washing their hands, they are not using soap {gasp!}. And since the water is icy cold right now (winter), well….they’re kinda just wasting their time. And the kids sometimes wash their hands in the same plastic container, as if we didn’t have the modern convenience of running water.

And I could explain about how little water they drink in this country, although in the homes we have easy sources of pure water and I constantly say "give the kids water!!"

(And yet, get this, they don't think twice about going outside in the frigid morning air with wet hair!! I'm not sure, but I think that few people own hair dryers.)

These and so many more "battles" both great and small can be quite the load. I just have to turn it over to the Lord daily and "consider it joy" as the shirt I wore today said! (Post coming soon on my new Wild Olive tees.)

Thanks to each one that is upholding us in prayer and sending encouraging notes! You all help me gain perspective. I have to remind myself that "this too shall pass", that's it all just a season. You never know when a time of trial comes before a season of blessing, right? Or so I tell myself. I just love each of these kids so much, it hurts! Tonight I had the blessing of being with most of the staff and about 20 of our kids during our annual staff party, and I savored all being healthy! (Minus baby F. with his bad cough, but tomorrow he returns yet again to the "cough doctor".)

Good night! I'm completely worn out. I also need an 8 hour rest from my new constant mantra "tell me the first sign of fever"....

~Not so fast...! As I was trying to go to sleep, Katrina called from Canada shortly after midnight. She peppered me with questions about all the health concerns until we lost connection, just as I was saying "don't worry about us...just enjoy your time in Canada."

~I had an email from friends in England this morning asking if we can't vaccinate our kids for Hep A. We have started to look into that option even though we've heard it's expensive (and times 39?!), but since it doesn't start to take affect for 4 weeks, it's not the perfect solution.


1 comment:

Gallo Pinto2 said...

I read this and thought, ¨wow, my thoughts exactly¨on the hand washing, drinking water, and bathing babies...¨I understand cultural differences, but seriously!