Last day at Social Protection Centre

Tuy Hoa Travel Blog

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Baby H

Today we had Little School in the morning and then Social Protection Centre (SPC) in the afternoon (2:30 to 4:00). Because Home of Affection are off for the week it was a short day.

SPC is situated on the edge of town near the bottle of the largest moutain. We always meant to climb the mountain, but never got around to it. There is a road up there which would sort of detract from the climb. Some one I know did visit the Pagoda at the bottom (there is a beautiful white Budha that looks out over the town) and got propositioned but I never got around to going there and now the weather is rainy and grey and I can't really find the motivation. The SPC complex has (I think) a nursing home and 'orphanage'. Last week we accidentally got dropped off next door and thinking we could walk through to the 'orphanage' passed a bemused looking security guard and entered a similarly yellow painted complex that had what looked like cells with locked doors and lots of HIV signs around, we still don't know what it was but all the barbed wire and locks made us leave pretty quickly.

The 'mothers'

The orphanage use to have quite a few kids but most have been adopted out. They may be getting more kids in Jan or Feb I think. (I'm guessing the kids in question are somewhere in the mountains with plans for their trip to the coast, most people we work with we are told are from the mountains and for better or worse I think the system takes a while to move kids around the country). So at the moment we visit 6 kids. The kids have various problems like fluid-filled heads and celebral palsy. The volunteers in the program have been massaging the kids since September? and Roz a trained physio from NZ came and showed us how to do 'baby massage'. Really what we are trying to do is get them in different positions and try and amuse them. They have flat heads at the back as they lay down all day (well I think they do, to be fair we only see them for a few hours a day).

At first I was quite scared of hurting them, especially the older boys with their twisted limbs. Its hard to tell if they are smiling or grimacing, but as the month has progressed I've sort of got the hang of it. My favourites are the two little girls, Baby H  has high muscle tone (ie is all tensed up and actually has painful spasms as you watch), I couldn't get her to smile at all, and the other Baby L has very low muscle tone (she won't put out her hands to stop a fall) and damaged eyes.

Today I was upset when Baby L cried when I picked her up, she is usually so happy but it turns out the nappy needed a change. The nappies here are hard and I tie them badly but with the help of a 'mother' I managed (quite an achievement for me).

Then she cried 'til I picked her up (where upon she fell asleep) which made me feel very useful. Also I felt that I help Baby H, as the sitting on my lab seemed to delay some of the spasms (not actually sure if thats physically possible so it may have been my imagination) but I'm sure it helps her breathing, she is all congested and having to lie flat can't be good when you can't breathe and have a distended stomach. Some days I've felt that our work there doesn't accomplish much but today I really changed my mind. It would be so wonderful if we could loosen up some of their muscles and help make them more comfortable. There is a baby there who may be adopted out, she isn't disabled mentally but her growth is behind because she had a hard start to life.
Look I'm changing a nappy
 The other volunteers especially, try and make sure she has enough stimulation that she will develop as normally as possible.

Today I also got a bit of time with the oldest boy, who has a water swollen  (hydrocephalis?) head, too large for the wheel chair and too heavy for us to lift him safely (although you should see one of the 'mothers' throw him around- very scary), and attempted a bit of a massage. His ear has a tumour and it gets moist and pus-filled, but today its looking better.

At night we went out for coffee and beer with Nguyen and some friends of Megs. We go to the cafe up the road from Cafe Saigon as its one of the few open past 9pm. Most of the places here close at 9pm and the streets are deserted (usually).

Baby T
While the place feels quite safe, one of the volunteers had a nasty encounter with some local guys on motorcycles one night some time after 10pm, its just so deserted. At the cafe next door they actually turn off the lights at 9pm.  Drinking here is called Nhyah? (pronounced Niaow). Mot, Hai, Ba and down it goes..... I can drink the Dalat wine but they often only serve beer, but surprisingly its fine to turn up to a bar (cafe) with your own vodka or wine. 

 

 

 

blurbmoi says:
This is such a noble experience. Kudos to you.
Posted on: Jan 03, 2009
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Baby H
Baby H
The mothers
The 'mothers'
Look Im changing a nappy
Look I'm changing a nappy
Baby T
Baby T
1,965 km (1,221 miles) traveled
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photo by: MarnieElder