Weight has Lifted, Hope has Come: Reflections from the Kyrgyzstan Medical Team
Greetings from a little boy with a handshake and big bright smile whom we called “The Politician”. Colors on the walls. Fun, vibrant and animated outdoor spaces and playgrounds for the kids to enjoy. Nannies who are eager to learn in order to take the best care of the children. Upon arrival at the third orphanage at the “baby house” (children ages 0-4) in Tokmok, we felt hope and joy. We were beginning to see and feel a new, fresh vision for what we were called to do. We were reminded that our work was providing hope to these children and a glimpse of the love He has for them. The children had conditions ranging from spina bifida to cerebral palsy for which we were able to bring some assistive devices and other medical supplies.
Mariah was able to spend time with the nannies and really focus on individualized plans of care for the children to improve their physical abilities and function. Kanhka and Olivia were able to do medical assessments and offer recommendations for many of these children’s conditions, while the rest of the team played with and spent one on one time with all the other children. The children were very receptive to our team and eager to play until it was time for us to leave.
Our next endeavor was to a historical site 6 miles south of Tokmok, called Burana Tower. Our coordinator/translator through America World, Galia, who is a Kyrgyzstan native told us of the legend of the tower. Around the tower, there was a town at the time where a King resided. His daughter was bitten by an insect and came down with a deathly illness so the King built this tower for her to reside in until her death. In the more recent time periods, it became a watch tower for the surrounding city. We were able to climb to the very top through a steep, dark stairwell, in order to get a good view of the scenery around us, including beautiful, vast mountains. We, of course, had to get several selfies to document our time at the top because if there wasn’t a selfie, did we really do it? Then, was the climb back down and I am writing two days after this and can say I still feel the burn in my thighs! We were able to visit a couple other places around this site prior to heading to the hotel for Papa Johns delivery (we needed a little American comfort food pick-me-up) for debriefing.
The next day was one of our personal favorites, the Kant orphanage. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the director who gave us a tour of the classrooms and explained what the children learned in the classrooms. She showed us a “home economics” room where the children learned how to sew, cook, wash clothes, and create resumes in the hopes of giving them the ability to be successful when they enter the “real world”. We thought this was amazing given that at the age of 16-18 years old they “age out” of the system and are sent out into the “real world” with a little money from the government. In this class, they sewed and made crafts/ useful items such as purses, slippers, pot holders, and pillowcases, some of which our team bought in support of the orphanage.
They then showed us the medical classroom where we would perform our medical assessments. The medical need at this orphanage was much smaller than the other orphanages we had been to throughout the week, but we were performing medical assessments because the nannies and orphanage doctor was eager for these children to have files in the hopes that they would be adopted one day. The doctor was engaged and receptive to all medical recommendations.
The rest of the team was able to play with the kids all morning. We played hopscotch, soccer, and beach ball volleyball (and let me say, those kids showed us up with their athletic skills). We also passed out hair clips which the girls absolutely loved. We were impressed with all the athletic equipment that this orphanage had (basketball court, soccer goals, etc), but were shocked and saddened that they did not have any balls to play with. So, our team went out and bought several different athletic balls for them to play with when we left, hoping that they would remember us and the love we had for them when they play.
To end the afternoon with the boys and girls, many of us played a game of kickball on a field that we put together with big rocks as bases, and spiky, thorny plants in the base paths. It was so fun to see the joy on the children’s faces as we ran around and had a blast. It was such a great way to end the afternoon with them before we said goodbye. I think it was truly a blessing that these were the first and last children that many of us got to see here in Kyrgyzstan. It was in His plan from the beginning. Watching His plan unfold was a beautiful thing.
The One Orphan teams make a difference in the lives of children by going, serving and advocating. As you can see, after reading, the children make a difference in their lives as well. Our prayer is that you will also be moved to join a team and serve children around the world. For a full list of opportunities click here.