Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Orphanage Experiences-Part Three, Differences
There are some differences between the two orphanages we visited, but I would say most of these differences are policy related. Haiti Children’s Home allows parents to visit whenever they would like but does not allow the children to go the hotel with their parents. For His Glory restricts visits to planned trips and encourages parents and children to spend time together overnight at the hotel. Haiti Children’s Home is run by Americans who provide oversight and process adoptions as well as care for children. It utilizes Haitian cooks, drivers, groundskeepers and nannies. There are many American and Canadian volunteers who come and go for short term trips. For His Glory is actually not an orphanage; it is an American run adoption facilitator who does not actually place children for adoption as an agency would. It only matches families to children by maintaining a relationship with the orphanage, Maison de Enfants de Deiu. For His Glory is run by Americans; the orphanage is run completely by Haitians who process adoptions, teach school, cook, do laundry, provide security, and act as nannies. Haiti Children’s Home has around 30 children. The difference in number does make a difference in the personalization of the orphanages. At HCH, which has less children, they do a better job of letting kids experience ownership of both possessions and chores. The children's clothing are labeled and each child has a drawer for their things. Also, the older children share certain chores like helping the little kids get ready for bed and helping with meals. I know FHG would like to do better at these things and has taken some steps like creating bags for the kids to store their personal property in. But it is difficult to work out all of the details when you have more kids. I know first hand through my job how adding more kids really can complicate things. In general thought, Haitian kids seem to struggle with ownership of things. Most kids in Haiti don't have toys and life there often revolves around the moment rather than the future so caring for toys and other items so that they last for tomorrow is difficult for kids at both places to comprehend. Another difference would be location. FHG is in Port au Prince which is a huge city while HCH is in Mirebalais which is a city but in a rural setting. The air quality in Port is really not good because of the street traffic and burning garbage. FHG is also located on what is essentially a converted hotel. There really isn't much space for kids to run and play. HCH has a large fenced yard with playground equipment. FHG would love to be in a more rural setting and is currently working on plans to purchase land to allow this to happen.