Contributed by Luke Soto
I went to Antigua Guatemala for Easter weekend and I ended up visiting the place where one of my friends works called Casa Jackson, a clinic for malnourished babies (and sometimes older children depending on the case). My day started with an hour orientation given by a long term volunteer who then showed me the proper way to feed, burp and change a baby. So here am I, Luke Soto, a man who can hardly remember the last time he held a baby, let alone feed one, and suddenly I am surrounded by kids, one sitting up in my lap, another one drinking her bottle in my arms and another (who can walk and talk) giving me a toy to play with. I found feeding the baby to be pleasantly easy and calming as all I really had to do was wait for her to decide that she wanted to eat. My nerves were starting to calm down when I noticed that her bottle was empty. I knew what this meant and didn’t want to admit it as I had found feeding her to be unexpectedly calming and was nervous for the next baby waiting to be fed. But before I knew it, I had to put the baby back in her crib and I had a new toddler (older than the last) being handed to me with a smile on her face and her bottle.
There are around a dozen children at Casa Jackson, all of whom need to be fed, bathed and changed. Most of this is covered by the nursing staff, but there are the few children that are allowed to be out and played with and as the sole volunteer that Friday Morning, I felt as though this task had fallen to me. It was surreal having a conversation with 3-year old Alberto while shaking a rattle for 9-month old Susana (who’s eager to walk) and at the same time playing with a stuffed animal with 6-month old Jimena. As the newcomer, I could tell they were less interested in me than in the more consistent faces they see. Since there are usually volunteers going in and out all the time, these children rely on the consistency of the nurses and long term volunteers.
This was a wonderful (and exhausting) experience but I am also writing about it because Casa Jackson, like many nonprofit organizations, relies on fundraising efforts and online giving to support their cause. If you would like to donate to the God´s Child Project (the overarching organization), please visit http://www.godschild.
If you are interested in learning more about Casa Jackson´s specific
needs at the moment (like specific medications or baby products they
need), please contact their director Amy Gridley at firstname.lastname@example.org.