LOS PEQUEÑITOS DE OSSO (CASAS MILAGROS & ALEGRIA)
Los Pequeñitos de OSSO which means OSSO’s Little Ones is the only orphanage actually owned by OSSO. We call it OSSO for short. It’s currently the home of 21 children although some of the “children” range to 28 years old. Because some of the children here at OSSO are severely handicapped, they live their entire lives here. This is the main site that we work at in Cuenca and we live here too!
There are currently 2 casas (houses) at OSSO: Casa Alegría (House of Joy) and Casa Milagros (House of Miracles). Casa Milagros is downstairs and is a mix of older children with special needs and one younger child that goes to school each day. Casa Alegria has younger children and some older children, all with special needs. Each casa has six bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen/dining area. Here at OSSO we have a large outdoor space to play soccer, go on walks around the orphanage and a balcony where the kids in Casa Alegría like to hang out. We also have a room called Sala Girasol (The Sunflower Room) where we do activities when it’s raining, have movie nights and other activities.
Volunteers sometimes find it difficult to find meaningful activities for these kids here at OSSO because of their severe handicaps. Remember that almost every activity can be modified for children in wheelchairs. Just being with them, singing to them, reading to them and hold their hand can make a difference.
What your journal entry may read like after a shift here: Dear Diary, the weather is so bipolar here. This morning it was sunny and beautiful and then just before my afternoon shift at Casa Milagros it got supper dark and just started dumping rain. Hence the movie in the afternoon shift. We’re only allowed 2 movies a week so I’m glad we saved it for today’s rainy day. The directors say it’s the rainy season so I guess it’ll be like this the entire time I’m here. At least it’s sunny in the morning. The boys in OSSO M absolutely loved watching Thor. I swear they’ve seen it like 3 times in the last month, but they still jump at the loud moments and love it! After the movie we headed in for dinner. We put bibs on a bunch of them and I asked if E’s food was ready. Although sometimes he’ll spit up food on me suddenly and he knocked the entire bowl of food on me my first day here, I think he’s the easiest to feed and he loves eating. At least he doesn’t sneeze it all over me like R does sometimes, haha. When I first got here, feeding the kids was one of the grossest things to me. To be honest, it used to make me gag, but it’s so normal now and I’m used to it. Now it’s just another daily thing that we help the tias with (we call all the workers tias like auntie in Spanish, I think it’s endearing). After dinner we just got some of them into their beds after brushing their teeth. Speaking of brushing their teeth, this morning I had the lovely opportunity of brushing C’s teeth. I literally had to ask my friend to come over and help me hold his arms down and his head still. I still feel awkward having to hold him down and force a toothbrush into his month, but I guess it gets the job done. This morning was in OSSO A. I helped shower the kids by taking their socks off and putting them in the laundry sink, then carrying them to the bathroom with the tia. They did the bathing but I helped put on deodorant and dress the kids afterwards. It’s become pretty second nature now that I’ve been here so long, but at first it was hard to know what the tias wanted me to do. After showering, I decided to work on physical therapy with some of the kids. I brought the binder down from the volunteer house and I worked with Little B on his sign language. He’s doing really well. I also did S’s therapy which always seems awkward because of how contorted his body and bones are. It’s nice to spend one-on-one time with the kids doing therapies though. We had some activity time so we painted trees with dot paints outside. Lunch came faster than normal I feel like and we brought them back upstairs and feed them soup and juice. Just when you think you’re done, they hand you a glass of juice to feed to them with a spoon. After that we headed back up to the volunteer house and ate lunch. Catalina (our cook) made us delicious potato soup, chicken and of course more rice. For dinner we all went out to town. I think we’re a little tired of meat and rice so we went to Fabianos and got pizza instead.