Real Internships: Shixin Su

Just when I entered the baby room (with babies’ ages ranging from 0 to 2) at 8:30am, one of the nightshift caretakers who worked for the room came over to me before she left she saw me sitting next to one of the babies, Wenhua, so she said, “Don’t hold Wenhua today. If you must, hold other kids, too.” She mentioned that since I began holding him some days ago, Wenhua began crying for people to hold him. When I first came to the Children’s Welfare Institute, the head of the baby’s department took me over to the building where babies lived and specifically introduced me to a few children, including Wenhua. Wenhua is a 1-year (and some months)-old, blind child. The head of the department also told me that blind children have preference for hearing and touching. Since then, I began helping out at the room where Wenhua currently spends his everyday in.

When I first came in contact with Wenhua, he didn’t like it that I touched him. He would push my hands away whenever I reached for his little fingers. So, I turned my attention to entertaining other babies. However, one afternoon as I sat in front of Wenhua who was in his rocking chair, I suddenly felt the urge to hold him. And I did—tightly. He didn’t push me away. I feel that he is in a much more unfortunate situation than the other orphans, because even though they are all homeless, the other kids still have their eyesight and Wenhua doesn’t. Anyway, I noticed that he usually swayed his head from side to side, and sometimes even intentionally hitting his head with hard objects, such as the metal parts of his rocking chair and his own fists. So as I held him, I moved my head close to him and wanted to see how he would react after he hit my head with his. Every time his head knocked on mine, I would say “aiya” (similar to the intention of “ouch” in English). He surprising smile every time he heard me say it! He also learned to say “aiya” after some time. I feel that he knows me since then. Despite his loss of sight, he is quite an optimistic child, and I love him for it. While the other babies might cry or stay in their place quietly, Wenhua would always be in his rocking chair entertaining himself with all kinds of tricks, like playing with his lips. Sometimes I even felt like he was playing peek-a-boo with himself. Sometimes during the day we would see him rocking his chair wildly (Literally. It looked like it was about to fall over any second) while laughing to himself!

There were days when I was off work and I missed little Wenhua. I even had the thought of adopting him and giving him a home, so that he doesn’t have to play with himself out of loneliness anymore, but I know that it’s impossible. After the caretaker told me to not hold him yesterday, I really didn’t hold him. Perhaps I agree with her that I shouldn’t only hold Wenhua, although the truth is that I did hold and spent time entertaining other children in the room. Most importantly, the reason that I didn’t hold him was that a reality question hit me right after she told me to not hold him—who would hold him after I am gone? Each baby room has two caretakers, but they can’t provide one-on-one care for the babies; all they can manage to do all day is to make sure that the babies are full and that their diapers are changed. To the babies, being held and hugged is a yearning. The orphanage lacks volunteers even though there is a college right next to the orphanage. I feel helpless. I am not sure whether my care toward Wenhua is a should or a shouldn’t. I really miss him.

Hugging Wenhua

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