Love is the Best Therapy
Volunteer Emma describes her year spent with our most severely disabled children.
June 4, 2016 - Honduras
There is no easy way to explain an experience at Casa Angeles. It is the most beautiful but also the most challenging, it can bring you great joy but also great sorrow, it can be all smiles but also all tears. The past year has brought me all of these things as well as lessons, lifelong friends, and the beautiful children I have come to know like my own family. It was the most wonderful challenge I have ever accepted.
A typical day in Casa Angeles starts at 4:45 a.m. I took on the responsibility of bathing all the children in the morning. We have fifteen children at the home varying in age and disability. Five can walk, no one can talk, ten are in wheelchairs, two eat through feeding tubes, four eat liquid food, two are completely with it mentally, one is on hemodialysis and in kidney failure, and all of them have changed my life.
Some mornings bathing the children is exhausting - my back aches, I don’t want to wake up, it is tedious - but this is also the only time during the day when I get to be with each child alone. There are some days I just can't bring myself to want to do it,but it still turns out to be a great part of my day.
Next comes breakfast and six of the children go to school. We perform therapy with six who remain. To be with these children and give them a little of your attention for a few minutes, some of your love while you stretch out their limbs, is better than any kind of therapy that money could buy us. After lunchtime the kids have a nap and we caregivers get to rest as well. In the afternoon we take the kids outside to sit in the fresh air, listen to music, and read books.
Casa Angeles is neither an easy place to work nor to visit just for the day. It can be exhausting and overwhelming and even at times a bit frightening. I recognize that because I have lived all of those emotions. If you take a moment to sit with the children, to talk to the other caregivers, to spend time with the high school girls who work there then you quickly realize just how beautiful it is. It is then that you begin to understand the deep love I have developed for it over the past year and how hard it will be to leave.
Not many people travel to Casa Angeles - it’s in the city, they don’t want to, it’s not necessarily where the action is - but I hope that if you ever do come to NPH Honduras that you make it a point to visit. It is worth it to pass through for just an hour, to see the beauty, to become a part of the family that I found there, and the family that became my own.
Volunteer caregiver and nurse, Casa Angeles