(Sorry no photos, I am blogging from the train)
When we arrived we were all surprised at how beautiful it was. They have gardens and a beautiful playground. The children were outside riding bikes and sitting in strollers. We met them all. One little boy that captured all of our hearts was 5 years old and had Down's Syndrome. He appeared to be the size of a 12 month old and probably weighed 12 pounds but he is very well taken care of and so happy.
For our tour of the baby rooms we had to put on gowns and masks. It is a happy place with beautiful rooms and wonderful caregivers. You could tell that they loved these children. The first room we visited was the cerebral palsy room. There were about 6-8 children in this room laying around. They were not crying and the room appeared to be very clean. They have a therapist that comes in to work with them twice a week to help build their physical strength.
There was one boy that I recognized from Karakastek last year. He has a cleft/lip palate, heart defect and cerebral palsy. He cannot have surgery because he is too weak. Please pray for him to get stronger so he can have surgery to repair his defects.
Next we headed to the toddler room. At least half of our team fell in love; Lori with a boy that was healthy but emotionally shut down, almost mute and me with a girl that is 3 1/2 and healthy but her birth mother has schizophrenia. Because of this, this sweet little girl is destined to spend her life in an orphanage. Lance was making a very sweet boy with Down's giggle while Susan loved on a girl with Encepholopathy (which is a diagnosis they give kids when they don't really know what they have) but she looked perfectly healthy. Chris was with a boy that had Ptosis and was so very happy. Emily was sitting with the brother of Lori's new friend. This sweet boy has hydrocephalus and the boys are in the orphanage because their mother had died and father hung himself. Sean loved them all, what a sweet boy. Kiefer was the official camera man but I caught him playing so sweetly with a little girl.
We then saw the sensory room, medical rooms and headed to the Director's office to drop off our 6 bags of donations. She was overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone in America (thank YOU!). She did ask us to send her 100 mattresses covers, not the fitted ones but the ones that protect your mattresses from liquid that you lay on top of and underneath the sheet.
We then were taken to the room of new cribs we donated a few months ago. There are 36 new cribs and they are beautiful. The Director thanked us for the chance to take in more children.
After our visit we headed to lunch at a local restaurant and had lagman. It was FABULOUS. Then it was time to head back to Almaty for some souvenir shopping at the TSUM and dinner as a Turkish restaurant. We did not have any time to head back to the hotel before boarding the train so I did not get a chance to download photos.
The train is nice, clean and not too small. We are 2 in a room and there are 11 of us; our group, our coordinator and a local friend and her mother.
Tomorrow morning we are off to Ulan. We hear that we will be on TV at 10 am. I guess it's a pretty big deal what we are doing for them. Hopefully we will get a copy to show you all.
Thank you for the prayers, keep them coming. So far this trip has been life changing!