Monday, January 11, 2010

From my eyes

I said while in Africa that I would talk about the things that I saw while visiting the orphanage in Rwanda. I think that now is the time and I will try my best to articulate what I saw. There were so many emotions flowing through my body during these visits. This will be difficult to write as well as difficult for some to read. I want to say that the orphanage nannies as well as the sisters do the best job they can with the resources they are given. With God's help, these children are surviving as they wait for the families to come and get them.

Picture walking down a set of concrete steps. You hear children talking, crying, playing. You are at a metal door. You knock and wait for it to be opened for you. Your heart is racing not knowing what waits beyond this wall.

A young Rwandan nanny opens the door for you. You are in a dark hallway. There is no evident electricity in the form of lighting. There is a particular smell. You try to think about what it is. The walls are made of concrete block. The floors are a bare concrete gray. You continue walking. There are turquoise blue doors along the hall. These doors lead into rooms that you quickly realize are the children's rooms. There are different age groups in each room. There is crying coming from the infant room. You want to go in there but you aren't allowed because your child is older than that. You then turn to an open door and go in.

You walk into a dark room. You see metal cribs from one end to the next and all the way across. You do a quick count and realize that there are 45 beds in this one room. This is your child's room. You then think, wow, 45 babies who don't have families. You look around. The floor is bare concrete, the walls are concrete block. There is not much on the walls. There is not much light. There is not much in the beds. You look at a bed, which is actually a metal crib. There is a mattress covered with a sheet. There is no blanket, no lovey for a child to cling too. The room is empty. The children are either eating or playing on the concrete patio.

You then walk to another room. You see the same type of things: concrete floors, metal cribs, bare walls. There is a table setup and you see over a dozen children sitting and eating their meal for the day. These children are ages 1-2 years old. They are feeding themselves their food. The food has an overwhelming smell. It is a light brown color and resembles a mush type of food. You are then told that the foods that the children eat are all blended together then cooked. It is hard to tell what has even gone into the food.

You look over to the right and you see some children in beds. These children are obviously mental or physically disabled. There is one child sitting in their crib with their legs sticking out of the rails. You see a pool of spit-up on the concrete. The child has spit-up all down the front of their clothes. A nanny is feeding another child who seems to also be disabled.

As you continue walking, the smell that fills your nostrils is overwhelming. It is a smell of urine, spit-up, food.

You then go outside. You see a great number of children sitting at a table. They all yell for you as you walk out. You wave. Your heart breaks thinking that most of these children will never have a family to call their own.

You are told that there are over 150 children in this orphanage. There are over 150 souls waiting for a family. You are told that this orphanage only goes to age 6. Once a child reaches 6 years of age, they are moved to a different orphanage. You can't even imagine what that orphanage must be like.

Your child is brought to you. She clings to you with obvious fear that you will leave her again. She smells like the smell that penetrated your nostrils. Her clothes are too small, her shoes too big. You hold her so closely and wonder why her, why us? You know that God is in control and that He has a plan. But it is hard for you grasp why this many souls are left abandoned, without families.

You leave the orphanage. You pray. You cry. You wonder again why.


11 comments:

KLTTX said...

I am crying as I read your post know that my son could already be in one of those rooms and I am just now starting the whole process. Thank you for sharing.

Bailey B. said...

My heart is breaking all over again. The memories come back so clearly. Like Bailey said, "It breaks my heart that we only helped one." Emily

Jim and April said...

crying...oh my gosh! thanks for painting this picture for us because we need to continuely have our hearts break for what breaks Gods heart. oh may God show us more and more how we can help these precious souls!

Marc and Kayan said...

Thank you so much for sharing this.

Kayan

Chase and Laura Bowers said...

Thank you Ashley. Moves me to pray in different ways than I have been and breaks even more of what needs to be broken in my heart as we prepare to bring our child home. Laura

brenda said...

so moving...thank you for my new grand...

Laurel Greer said...

this is why we had to start 4-more...

Laurel Greer said...

thank you for sharing your heart.

Bon Bon Mom said...

wow. just wow.

Erin Carson said...

Thank you for posting this... I am also in the process of adopting, but from Nepal. I was so taken by your words that I added them to my blog:
http://eecarson.wordpress.com/

If you want me to delete this post, or change it I have no problem with that, please just let me know!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
~Erin

The Rutledges said...

Your willingness to write this is a gift to many. We are in the process of adopting 2 from Rwanda. It confirms that we are on the right track and more has to be done on behalf of these vulnerable children. I, too, hope that adoption becomes contagious. That people in our community would have broken hearts for these children... that we won't rest until homes and families are found. God is faithful if we trust him! Thank you!