I was so excited to head to the hospital today to visit the AIDS orphans…two ladies were joining me for the first time. And Jim had had a meeting with a doctor in a different area of the complex, so he was coming back again today.
We all walked in and were met with a big privyet (hello) from one of the auxiliary staff — this woman always has a smile for us. Her job, as far as I can see, is to transport the huge pots of soup (gruel?) down the hallway on a low-riding cart. Moms take dishes into the hallway to be filled for their children, and the volunteers keeping watch over my orphans also fill dishes from the cart. This particular worker was a bit concerned when we first began our visits — she was so concerned that the children were being held too much. And that they would cry when we left. But now, she’s happy to see us. She has seen how the children respond to loving care.
I opened the door to the children’s room and discovered two young doctors examining the little ones. Christoslava (a volunteer) gave me a bit of a distressed look and the doctor informed me that the children were too sick for us to visit with them today. Unfortunately the children had already seen us…
We stood in the hallway looking at a newly-arrived infant who was in the bed next to the hall window. We were unable to get the details on the little bundle, but we could see Oleg and Kolya in the back of the room — you might remember them from last week’s posts: here and here. They were actually crying because we could not play with them. Hard to watch.
Little Maxim was a bit more assertive. When Christoslava joined us in the hallway, he made a beeline for the door and joined her. I immediately squatted down to be at his eye-level and played a little hide-and-seek as he hid behind her skirt.
The head doctor also saw our group and approached us to greet Jim, his colleague. He explained that the children had been sick with the flu, but that it would be okay for us to go spend time with them. We told him that his staff had already sent us away, and we wanted to respect the rules that they had. He encouraged us to come back the next week, aware that we were not trying to receive special treatment simply because we were foreigners. I think his respect for us went up another notch as he saw that we respected his workers and his hospital’s rules.
I was disappointed that Patty and Cheryl didn’t get the opportunity to interact with my kiddos. I hope they’ll go back with me another time.
It’s a life-changing adventure. Time that you don’t easily forget.