On Thursday of this past week, I had a chance to visit a welfare center in Hengyang for abandoned and disabled children. I was a little weary about the visit. I had this idea in my head that I didn’t like children, and they didn’t like me. Well that all changed after my visit to the welfare center where I was warmly welcomed. This center has at least 100 children in its care. I heard about the center through our foreign friends who volunteer there. I have so much respect for these friends (most are from Australia.) They have so much love for the kids that they work with every day.
Since it was my first time to visit, I got a tour of the facilities. It greatly amazed me how many babies there were at the center. I was expecting maybe one or two baby rooms with 3 babies in each room. But there were 4 baby rooms with at least 9 babies in each room. Can you imagine? And each baby was precious; I can’t explain it any other way. I got to play with a little toddler who had a cleft lip. When he first saw me, he pouted and cried, but after entertaining him for awhile, he was no longer scared, and I think he even smiled at me J.
In the girls section of the welfare center, one of the older girls ran to meet us and grabbed my hand to pull me to play with them. Another girl insisted I sit down in her chair. One girl immediately began playing with my hair and putting it into a pony-tail on the top of my head. Another one plopped down on my lap—she was about the same size as me.
Then we visited the last baby room, and it happened to be feeding time. Each of the workers was feeding a baby, so we also got to help feed the ones that hadn’t eaten yet. I got to serve some rice and vegetable to a mild mannered little girl. She was a good match for me. . . so subdued. . . such big eyes. . . she also seemed to be concerned about keeping herself clean. When some rice fell on her clothes, she pointed it out to me and seemed to request with her eyes that I clean it up. This happened a couple of times. (I am not so good at feeding little ones yet.)
I will continue to make weekly visits to the welfare-center during my free day to “help-out” with the children. Although in actuality, the children are helping me out in deeper ways than I know how to express here. If you want to learn more, you can check out the welfare center: http://english.chinaconcern.org/about