New York, New York
God clearly paved the path for me to embark on this journey and blessed me with the knowledge and supplies to make a difference. The events leading up to my experience yesterday have opened my eyes to so much opportunity. I've been saying for about two years that I'd love to serve in impoverished countries 'one day.' I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to do so this early in my career as an occupational therapist, and better yet, to do so while spreading God's love.
Yesterday we visited two orphanages for adults and children with special needs. Thankfully I had Lily, a dedicated Sus Hijos translator, by my side the whole day as I spoke to the therapists and staff workers at the centers.
We received a tour when we arrived at the adult special needs center. After the tour I spoke with the physical therapist and quickly learned that their needs are plenty. I found comfort in knowing I had some supplies to meet their needs, but am still struggling with the fact that there's so much more to be done. It broke my heart to see how misunderstood some of the children with special needs appear to be.
In one of the homes a young adult boy who was nonverbal and appeared very anxious was locked behind a gate in his room. I asked if the boy was aggressive and found that he was in there for having some obsessive behaviors that no one was equipped to deal with. I know the staff workers only have love in their hearts for the children and young adults at the centers, unfortunately they just don't have the resources or the training to support all of them. They were eager to learn as we spoke with them and they expressed how helpful it would be if I stayed for more time to treat the children and train the staff. It was hard for me to communicate that I couldn't stay as all I wanted to do was help.
The next center we visited was for children up to 18 with various mental and physical disabilities. I was able to educate the staff and provide them with resources to address their current needs as practitioners. Although I was impressed by their resources, they too expressed desire for more training and support. I left my email with them to open the window for communication as they try new techniques.