April 2, 2010

Fighting against the human condition

How do you conduct a feeding program when the names of the malnourished chihldren you are trying to feed change every time you go and the staff cannot even identify the orphans themselves?
What do you do when the children who have Vitamin A deficiencies have multiple identities and you risk over-medicating the children?
What do you do when there is not even a curriculum or set of books at this so-called school?
What do you do when the children's lives are at risk for the incompetency of these so-called guardians, but their constant lying and evasive answers make it impossible to find out the truth?
The Bess Crawford orphanage is the epitome of poverty directly damaging health.
The picture.
69 orphans. Supposedly.
But these may vary week to week and minute to minute. Their names change each time.
Children have 2 different names they tell me.
170 children join to eat the food.
I meet the "orphans' " mothers.
Children rub their tummies in pain.
NO one there understands nutrition nor will even listen, while they still give inadequate meals to the children.
Meals of rice and potatoes, if anything.
No vegetables, no protein.
We try to bring meals.
Don't bring them food! They say. Their tummies are too full from lunch! They'll all vomit at night!
Vitamin A and B deficiencies, tiny arms, and diarrhea.
One girl died of a stomach problem.
Who are these kids even?
Abosolute chaos.
Flies everywhere.
No toilet, water, drainage, sleeping mats.
No perception of the dangers of malnutrition, the possibility of blindness, developmental damage, or death.
I bring social workers to investigate.
This is a waste of time, why bother? they say.
There are millions of starving children, they say.
Plenty of others worth helping.
You are just a volunteer trying to make impossible change.
You have no authority.
You will fail.
Thank you for your concern.
We will find another way to bring justice to this place.
I thought you people might feel some moral obligation to help, as social workers, as Christians,
As human beings.
But what can I expect in the most inhumane place I have ever been?

Or is this the true human condition?

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