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Echo’s Travel Diary

Monday, 22 Oct 2007

Location: Gambia

MapContinuation of the previous entry….

Still at the orphanage I decided to walk around to check out the place. When I came to the end of the hall that the babies were sleeping in I noticed three cribs covered with mosquito netting and I stopped and looked in and there were three children all of different ages but older than the babies and the toddlers but were all physically disabled. These kids were just laying in their cribs looking at the wall with no stimulation or anything. There was a sign hanging above one of the children and it said, hello my name is Deborah and I like to be tickled on my stomach and feet and I love it when you say my name. I like to go outside and sometimes I can try and crawl around. My heart just about broke and there was no way I could just walk away so I reached in a started talking to Deborah and tickling her, the smiles and the laughs I got were absolutely amazing but I could barely keep my damn tears from coming. I asked one of the volunteers if I could take her outside and she said that would be the best cause it has been a long time since she was talked to or had gone outside. Let me tell you, this poor girl was in such bad shape. Because she just lays in her crib all day her arms and legs are so atrophied that she can barely move them so I doubt that she can even crawl around anymore. So we sat on a mat outside in the shade and looked around and then I tickled her till she was laughing hysterically. I spent the last 20 minutes we had with her and because there is no volunteers and very little staff, I had to put her back in her crib. I am telling you it was the worst feeling that I have ever had.

One of the moms of the students we came with said that she was going to try and come to the orphange and she would work with Deborah. I really truly hope that she does keep going cause that poor girl honestly would be better off to pass away then to lay in that crib like that for years. I know that sounds harsh but I couldn't imagine a life like that.

I can only imagine the picture that I painted in everyone's heads about my experience in the orphanage but it really was not the worst place for these children. The women at this center did the best that they could for these kids but there is just not enough hands to take care of them. There were plenty of cloth diapers and clothes and beds but just not enough love to go around.