China Mission Trip: Thursday 10/18/2012
Today we observed the morning routine of all the children at the orphanage including time outside, circle time, feeding, and nap time all before noon. Each of us has been assigned a group to work with for the time that we are here. The two occupational therapists are with the toddler group comprised of six children with severe Cerebral Palsy and one with Autism. Much of our time was spent on making C splints for these children with severe tone. Our speech therapist has been assisting with a child with cleft palate and significant feeding and swallowing problems.
The caregivers are patient as we newcomers join in to participate in the children’s everyday routine. Everyone copes with the language barrier as best they can.
Today we also toured the Welfare Center, which sits next to ICC. Though they are neighbors, there are many profound differences between the two buildings. For example, in the ICC center, the caregiver to child ratio varies between 1 caregiver to 2-4 children. By contrast, the Welfare Center’s ratio is around 1 caregiver to 10 or more children. ICC does its very best to maintain as positive a relationship as possible with this government-funded organization, which essentially acts as the “gateway” to ICC.
There are many cultural adjustments for our Cole Team. Food time is always communal with lots of seasonal vegetables cooked hot in oil, soup, rice, and tea. We have tried new things like different kinds of mushrooms, bok choy, fried bananas, and fried pumpkin or squash. Our bus rides are bumpy and the horn is used a lot! It seems street signs and lights are a suggestion and not necessarily a law to be followed! Firecrackers go off at any time of day for celebrations, funerals, or even grand openings of stores. We’re still adjusting to jet lag, waking up early and feeling exhausted at 8pm local time. Sometimes we often get a dizzy feeling, like being on a boat, secondary to jet lag.