Wednesday, July 21, 2010


     Apart from a few beat up old balls, there are no toys in Aaron's world.  No bikes, only wheelchairs.  No books or televisions.  No playground equipment except some beat up old pieces that are used for drying the boys' clothes.  Each day the caretakers/nurses (ladies in white uniforms) round the children up and bring them to a grassless section where they play.  Sometimes they listen to music.  Many of them just sit and rock.  In the middle of the play area stands a tree. They have piled sand around the tree, and this sandpile is Aaron's playplace.  He has an older Down Syndrome friend who digs in the sand with him.  They laugh together and play in that pile of sand.  There are no buckets or shovels, just a piece of broken tile that they use as a scoop. It is not a clean pile of sand.We have seen an older boy drop his pants and pee right into the sand pile.The nurses got after him immediately, because they don't stand for that sort of thing, but they can't watch every second. That is Aaron's world.
     Around 11:00, the boys come outside in three different groups.  There are around 60 boys who get to come outside.  At first we were overwhelmed by these boys.  There are so many, and they have so many problems.  They make noises and walk funny.  Some are in wheelchairs.  They stare at us and we stare back.  Some cry out "Mama".  It hurts.  They sit in three little lean-to sheds where they have juice and a snack.  When they are finished, they parade back out, usually holding hands in pairs, and go to their outdoor play areas. 
    Since we have come, Aaron stands with us to watch the parade.  These are his friends, and perhaps a couple of foes.  These are the boys in his world.  There are little guys.  Oh so tiny.  I want to scoop them up and hold them.  Most of the little ones are Downs boys.  There are gentle smiling boys in the crowd who wave at us as they pass by.  Aaron's friend comes over and shakes our hands with a smile on his face.  Does he know that my heart is breaking?  There are active boys, ready to run if given a chance.  One child tries often to break away and run to us.  They grab him and take him back to the parade and he hits himself in the head.  This is Aaron's world.
     There are boys who are out of control.  They are watched carefully by the older boys in their midst.  Still, they can slip away.  One escaped and grabbed Aaron's precious truck.  He ripped it apart before we could stop him.  The older boys rushed in and put the truck back together. 
     The nurses are few but somehow they maintain control.  They smile at us and speak soft words to Aaron.  They love him.  It is evident in their eyes and touch.  We are ever so grateful for them.  They care deeply for these boys. They give the older boys jobs.  Those jobs give them dignity and joy.  We see it on their faces as they fetch water from the outside well.  They help push wheelchairs and hold the hands of the little ones.  They call out to Aaron, waving to him and rejoicing for him. 
      It is a sad world, Aaron's world.  It breaks our hearts each day.  We come away drained and longing for home and everything safe and familiar.   He has been here for almost a year.  Yet, despite the sorrow surrounding him, Aaron's laughter has not diminished.  His spirit is not broken.  He has a joy in him that causes us to marvel.  His mirth is contagious.  We can't help but laugh with him.  We are laughing in Aaron's world.


  1. Thank you for your true picture of what it is to be in an institution. My heart breaks as I read your words. I am praying for Aaron and a Sweet One in another institution. Each day we remember them and the other orphans to God and ask Him to care for them.
    I pray that the government issues are resolved quickly and you can bring Aaron home forever soon.

  2. I have written a blog post that links this post to my blog. Your words show a picture that people need to see. Thank you.

  3. Oh my gosh your post makes my heart cry. What a sad place to be, not much around that allows them to be children and do things children should be doing. I will be praying for that group and praying that you can go back and get Aaron ASAP!!


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