Yesterday was the craziest day ever at the Hospicio! There was a reunion (meeting) today from 9am to 1pm for all of the ¨mamas¨ at the orphanage. I was left to take care of the 7 babies all by myself for the first time ever. Normally there are 2 other ¨mamas¨ and Kayleigh with me. We all bathed and changed the babies by 9am at which point in time Kayleigh moved to the 2-4 year old room and the 2 mamas left me while shouting out a million instructions in about 30 seconds all in Spanish may I remind you.
By 9am I was left with 7 babies in their cribs and no toilet paper to wipe their noses or other parts. Within 5 minutes a woman entered to change the diaper of a 4 year old girl I´ve never seen before and then left her with me. I brought 2 kids out of their cribs to play in the room (the amount of kids they told me to have out at a time) which made a couple others cry because they wanted to get down too. The 4 year old girl started to cry, shouting ¨mommy¨and luckilly her mom came in and retrieved her within a few minutes. I rotated the children in and out of the cunas (cribs) so they could each have ¨their turn¨ playing. Unfortunately, every child began to cry when they were put back in their cribs.
At 10am it was snack time. A lady brought the papaya, plates, and 2 spoons. (Normally we have 8 spoons.) She dished out one bite of papaya on each plate despite the fact that the babies eat about 10 times that amount normally. For some reason people sem. To think they know better than us despite the fact that we have been here for over a month working with the same group everyday.
Beverly, the 16 year old mom of Lester (one of my babies), thought it would be a good idea to give her son some of the atol (a pastelike drink) that was for the mamas. So I decided to feed lester first. He did pretty well with the thick drink until I finished feeding him and turned my back to grab the next kid, at which point in time he spilled his atol all over the ground. I had to put both kids back in the cribs to mop the floor, which didn´t make either one of them happy.
I got back to feeding Yandel, which made others upset because they weren´t being fed. Beverly entered to feed her son-the only kid I´d already fed! I told her I´d fed him already so she said, ¨You want more my child?¨, grabbed a piece of papaya from the plate (I forgot to mention that I already spilled on the ground), put it up to his lips, at which point I yelled ¨No! That´s dirty!¨ so she took it away which made Lester wail of course.
I eventually managed to feed all of the kids by working two at a time. I then placed two on the ground to play, at which point in time the cleaner came in to wipe the floors, so I had to put them back in their cribs which made them cry again. When she left I finally had a clean, quiet room. I changed the babies´diapers while rotating them 2 (to 4) on the ground at a time. I finally had it all settled with the the babies either playing happilly on the ground or napping in their cribs (which I was told was okay for today) and sat down on the couch to feed la nena (the youngest baby girl of 3 months now) her pacha (bottle). In ran one of the mamas to check up on me and see how everything was going. I responded that it was all good except for the fact that Lester ran out the door with other followers because when she entered, she left the door open! I don´t understand why the people at the Hospicio don´t get that they have to shut the doors behind them!
Half of the chaos that occurred that day would never have occurred if people would stop running in to ¨help¨and leaving the doors open!
One time someone ran in ¨to help¨ and gave Yandel-the one the screams for fun- a cookie thinking that something bad had happened to him despite the fact that I have learned that you should never reward a baby for crying for no reason.
Another time someone ran in ¨to help¨ and I told her the CD player was not working, so she spent about 10 times the amount of time it would have taken me to turn on the radio (the writing on the machine is in English). It took her a really long time to figure out that she was turning the ¨tuning¨ button instead of the ¨volume¨ button. She then proceded to explain to me how to use the radio, despite the fact that I already knew how. It´s so frustrating that people think you are stupid because your Spanish is not as good as theirs. Granted the majority of the time my Spanish is far inferior, but sometimes I swear I am saying things correctly but they just assume I don´t know what I´m saying and try to ¨fix things¨ without listening to what the actual problem is.
By noon I was so excited for the mamas to return, but they did not. A couple people did come help me get the kids to the comedor (dining room), feed them, and bring them back to their cribs for naptime. I then went to the kitchen to get the bottles and hot water (feeling confident from the day before in which I had asked to learn how to make the bottles instead of eating at that time). They gave me the bottles, but not hot water. Instead of telling where to find the hot water, they asked a women to explain to me how to make the bottles. I repeatedly said (in Spanish) that I knew how to make the bottles, I just didn´t know where the water was. Alter about 5 minutes, they lady understood me and took me to the water. *This is one of those times where I swear I said everything correctly they just thought I didn´t know what I was saying.
I finally got the babies in their cribs and with their pachas. The 2 mamas returned from their meeting and I was set free for lunch.
Just as soon as I sat down to my food, one of the mamas ran up to me, ¨Kara, what happened to the baby?!¨ I had no idea what she was referring to and ran up to see what happened. La nena (the 3 month old) had 6 fresh, red cuts on her cheek. I stupidly touch them to see what they were exactly forgetting the number one rule- don´t touch their blood! By this point in time the mamas and I were freaking out. I felt incredibly guilty and confused as to why Sofia had bloody wounds, and was freaking out about contracting HIV. I immediately washed my hands about 4 times and then went to the doctor with the baby.
Turns out… if I had had an open wound and the blood had gone directly into the wound, there would have been a 0.03% chance of contracting the virus. I had no open wound and barely got any blood on me (the blood was basically dry by the time I touched it), so there is 0.00% chance of contracting it. I really wish I had known this information in advance. I wish everyone knew this information so they wouldn´t be so ignorant when it comes to interacting with people with HIV.
I asked a couple more questions, but the doctor was really busy so I left. I really want to know more and feel like I have been wasting so much time not finding out the answers to my questions. From now on I will ask all of my questions! It´s so cool that I have access to all of this information at my project. Everyone brings so much to the table.
In case you were curious… the easiest way to contract HIV is through anal sexual contact. There is a 40% chance of contracting it. Vaginal sex is the next most risky. There is a 30% chance of a mom passing the virus on to her baby. If she follows all of the steps including taking medicine after 3 months pregnant, has a cesarian, does not breast feed, and gives the baby drugs for the first year of his or her life, there is a 1% chance of passing on the virus. To contract the virus from mucous and tears, you would have to put liters of the liquid in your blood. And as you already know, there is a 0.03% chance of contracting it from blood to blood contact.
Right about now I´m thinking ¨Education, EDUCATION, EDUCATION!¨