Thursday, April 30, 2015
My days at the UCCF
Hmmmm. Three days I have spent playing with the children in the cancer ward. Each day has been full of emotions, up and down. Some of my time went at a snails pace and other times moved very quickly. Sometimes I think I can't do this anymore and other times I feel as if I don't ever want to leave. Part of the difficulty has not even been the children but rather the “TIA” mentality. (This Is Africa: it's just the way it goes here) I arrive at 930am and just sit and wait for things to get started. Just sit. Everyone else moves about their tasks or sits on FB, yes, FB! Sigh...I wait. It's just that they need a bit more structure and organization. It really would go a long way! When I first arrived Becky showed me the "Timetable" she created with the children. It has never been followed.
Once we get up to the UCI children's ward we'd have to clear the play area because inevitably it would fill with families camping out. Mats are a huge deal here. The family would be laid out on their mats with all their belongings with them. I feel bad having to make them leave.
I've learned mat etiquette in the last few days. Never wear your shoes on the mat. Even the littlest of children take their shoes off before stepping on the mat.
Once we pull all the chairs out, the tables, crayons, books, papers, etc. all the children just start flocking in. Some are very, very quiet, I've never heard them utter a word and others will chat your ear off in lugandan! Some of them sit and color (or “shade” as they say it) so meticulously and for the entire time. They love it. Here is Stephen, he might be Nicho's age or so, he colored these simple pages but SO meticulously.
And then he used templates and created his own scene and again very meticulously shaded it in. Anything to take the monotony and pain of what is going on off his mind.
Today there were 2 little girls, Christine and Annet, they took such joy in what they did. Here is Christine. (I didn't get a picture of Annet until the last day. )
About 1130am on Wednesday, many of them got called away. I was told they were having chemo treatment. I saw a distinct downward spiral in Annet's energy level.
These are the sort of things that are so hard to see, but can be relieved just by seeing the joy fill their eyes with the simplest of things.
Daynese, poor little boy, legs with tumors he can hardly walk, received some pipe cleaner jewelry and was completely and utterly giddy with excitement. Giddy!
Just look at him!
Then we have poor Lucy. I'm told she has leukemia. And she is very, very sick.
Sitting and watching this beautiful little girl is very hard.
The simplest of things though, bring great joy to these children. A smile, a compliment, anything to help them take their minds off of what they are having to face.
Let me tell you, they love!, love!, love! when you tell them their drawing or shading is beautiful.