Simple Moments

Trip Start Feb 20, 2013
Trip End May 09, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello Everyone,
Today I went to the center just before 8 am not knowing if I actually had any appointments or internship duties for the day. It turns out I didn't have any official duties today, although tomorrow and Wednesday will be very busy days. So I just emailed a little for an hour or so before a few people surprised us at the center.

At around 9:30 am Nanay Elay, and her daughter arrived to receive payment for the land from Ate WimWim. Around the same time a young German man walked asking to volunteer with VFV. The volunteer coordinator, Ester, was busy at the time so I ended up explaining the organization, the various volunteer opportunities, and finding him a home stay until she was free. And Ate Wimwim had the meeting with Nanay Elay. Next thing I new it was 11 am and everything was settled at the center again, so I decided to go visit Jonathan at the orphanage.

I was welcomed as I got closer to the front door by Larry, a 4 and a half year old boy I had yet to see this time around, whom I spent a great deal of time with in the nursery in 2011. When I took off my sunglasses and picked him up, he looked at my inquisitively and after I said his name he seemed to realize why he recognized me. :) The older children were just getting ready for nap time, so I led Larry to him bed and then headed to the nursery. It was silent when I walked in which I quite unusual for a room full of babies.

I of course walked over to Jonathan's crib first, and I found him wide awake eating. I rubbed him belly and said hello, while he smiled and looked up at me attentively. I told him to finish eating and then we could have some cuddle time. I went around the room and found one of the only babies awake so I could play with him until there were periodic cries around the room. After about 30 minutes, I checked on Jonathan and he was having trouble keeping his bottle in his mouth so I sat on the floor next to him and held the bottle while a scratched his head slightly. He doesn't do well eating while you hold him, after 6 years of eating in his crib. After a while he pushed the bottle out with his tongue and pursed his lips together when I tried to feed him again. He smiled a little when I tried a second time and I knew he was simply ready to have attention. I stretched him some at first and sat him up straight. He kept turning around and looking at another baby who was crying, I see this as his way of expressing empathy and not just curiosity. After trying to get his attention I few times I propped him up on some pillows and brought the crying baby a bottle. When I got back he was looking at me straight on again, obviously not distracted anymore. I think his mind works far better than his body expresses, and I am afraid not many people at the orphanage think the same. I worked on his flexibility and sitting for about 30 minutes before I scooped him up for some snuggling. He always gasps when I pick him up, opening his mouth wide, fluttering his long eyelashes and smirking as he curls his head into my neck. We sat on the floor for about an hour, while I rubbed his back and scratched his head like he likes, as I whispered to him while the other babies sleep.

I love spending time like that with Jonathan, just giving him the one on one attention he deserves and needs to survive. I just wish there was someone willing to do it for him for the rest of his life. It breaks my heart to leave, but I try to wear him out so when I leave he can sleep for a bit and wake up refreshed and not longing for more attention.

The rest of my day was spent at the center again, uploading pictures and updating all of you. Tomorrow I will spend most the day visiting the various VFV projects around the area with Ate Wimwim.

The weather was perfect today, not to hot and not to cold and not a drip of rain :)

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Liz Arseneau on

Your recent encounter with Jonathan reminded me so much of an experience I had at your age while I was taking a class that required participation in some environment with children. I had a fulltime job, so I chose to visit the RUSSELL HOME FOR ATYPICAL CHILDREN in Orlando, close to my home.

The home began 10-15 years earlier by a woman and her husband who took in an abandoned, disfigured baby....well, word spread and some years later their home gradually grew by modest additions and more abandoned children--most with CP, Downs, or missing limbs, and were severely impaired.

I was moved by a particular little eight-year-old girl, Penny, lying in a crib, who had no muscle development or speech. But I can still see her face as I leaned over her crib each visit. Her "sounds" and facial expressions were of pure delight--in response to someone touching and talking to her. The Russells were so faithful in ministering to hundreds of "atypical children"--unwanted children, and, that their legacy is still standing and operating purely on donations to this day (from the 70's!).

Thanks for the reminder to me about Penny, and for being an "angel" to those kids in the orphanage.

elsat on

Thank you so much for sharing your story, people like that truly inspire me and give me hope for Jonathan's future :)


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