We have learned so much from experience in Conani. It is an orphanage filled with children and young adults who have physical and mental disabilities. There are many injustices which we have witnessed through our days of service. The children there are not treated with all the love and respect that they deserve, and they suffer from abuse and neglect. We tried our best not to judge the nurses/workers there, because we have learned to observe the context of the situation to better understand. Poverty and lack of education (in general and specifically in nursing) are very big issues within Conani. Most of the nurses in all likelihood do not have college degrees, let alone, specialization in caring for children with disabilities. They have little hope for the children and their futures, and it is clear that they do not recognize their potential.
Every day at Conani is different, and comes with its own challenges and rewarding moments. We work towards giving the children as much individual attention as possible. The majority are just left in their beds/cribs all day, so taking them outside and walking with them is a gift we try to give them. They receive so little human contact, and this attention is something that they deserve. Sometimes we bring activities to do with them, such as reading, coloring, or any other little games. Because many of them do not have any regular physical activity, they have developed muscular contractions. We were lucky enough to have an occupational therapist student come with us one day, and she taught us some exercises we can do with the kids to help stretch them out.
Mainly, we just try to give them as much love as we can. Sometimes this only means holding their hands while they lie in bed, blowing them bubbles, or just getting them to smile and laugh that day. While we hope that we have made a difference in their lives, we know that they have enriched ours, and the time we have spent at Conani will remain in our hearts forever.
Mithra and Lindsey
|Lindsey being tackled!|
|(Left to right): Lindsey, Joshua, Leah, Tomi, Eva, Mithra|
|Eva and Tomi!|
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou