Archive for November, 2007

Published November 19th, 2007 by Mliesie

A child’s smile is worth a thousand….

On Friday it is our first time to go to the Yulin Welfare Institute to ‘work’ with the children; especially the disabled ones as they spend a lot of time in their cribs but need as much or even more attention as the healthy children. Upon arrival we are greeted with enthusiasm by the leader of the department and some of the workers. The children have to get used to us again, but after about 10 minutes it feels like we have known each other a lifetime (a child’s lifetime ;-) …). When I enter the room where all the very young ones sleep, about 5 disabled children (mentally and some also physically disabled) are neatly lined up in their buggies, waiting to ‘play’ with us. Last time I saw none of them! I immediately get down on my knees and start talking to them, touch them, caress them and play with them. Wonderful and loud laughter is my gift. As I move my way along all the buggies, at the end of the line I see the prettiest child I have ever seen, with no socks on his feet (they are freezing cold), soaking wet pants (which I ask to get changed) and a pensive look in his eyes. Nothing to be happy about for him, but when I touch his hands the most wonderful smile appears on his face…. I am in love!

In the ‘recovery’ room, which we now call the ‘playroom’, we work with 4 children at the time. Each student of mine with one child, so I can keep an eye on them and tell them what to do and how to use the equipment. 2 disabled children, 2 healthy children and 2 children in their buggies. As my students gently work with the children, I can see how much they all enjoy it and how useful it is, both for the students and the children. I try to pay some attention to the buggybound 2. Again my reward is some slight recognition, a careful smile and in the end some loud laughter.

When we leave after 2 hours all the children are in the hallway waving goodbye (happy we are finally gone ;-) ……) and shouting ‘zai jian!’ On the way home I ask my students how they felt about this and if they want to continue the work. One of them says “I felt so happy when I saw how you made the boy smile” and all of them agree that this is useful and that hey will definitely keep going to the Institute. I have already told the Institute that I will come twice a week. I very much enjoy my work at Yulin College (although it’s a bit frustrating lately) but my heart is with these children. Their smiles and laughter is worth more than most anything else….

Take care and don’t forget the forgotten and abandoned ones.