Monday, 14 March 2011

The daily routine at Madre Teresa

The kids are already at Madre Teresa when we arrive at around 8.30am and we usually just start helping the nuns and the other women at the day care. There are anywhere between 15 and 25 kids each day ranging from 1 to about 3 years, 8 of them live at Madre Teresa and only go home on the weekend. Usually, there is about 1 ½ hours of play time where the kids race around the room on their little plastic bikes, play with their dolls and toys. One girl always cries the whole morning calling after her mommy, she would hold on to a ball or a little bag the whole time instead of playing with the other kids. A couple of kids are bullies and have to be told ‘não’ a dozen times a day, others climb on the iron barred doors or try to escape if they manage to open the doors. Once playtime is over, all the kids need to wash their hands before they get let into the lunch area. One of the nuns would sing a couple of songs with them and bless the children. Lunch is usually rice and beans and some protein such as chicken or fried eggs. Each child gets his or her own bowl and the small ones are being fed. After lunch, all the kids have to sit on the potty until they poop. There is a toilet room with about 10 small toilets for the older kids, the younger ones sit on the potties. The boys usually sit outside in the washing area. One of the nuns would usually stay with the kids and sing to them, it’s so cute to see them sitting on their potties clapping their little hands while they do their business. As soon as they have pooped, they are being washed and dressed. Some kids still have diapers, we still haven’t figured out who gets diapers and which diapers, it’s a guessing game each day. The babies get Pampers and the older kids just get the old-fashioned cloth diapers. The nuns would place small mattresses in the play area where the kids take their naps. All in all, I was very surprised to see how well the kids follow the routine, but the nuns are very strict, don’t mess with them! Our day usually finishes at naptime and we usually have some cultural programs in the afternoon.

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