Monday, June 13, 2011

Thursday the 2nd

Today our guide picked us up and we took a short taxi ride to Daisy's orphanage.  On the day she was brought to us we had a bunch of questions written down to ask them about her and especially her schedule and eating habits.  Our guide wanted us to wait and ask when we toured the orphanage.  This was frustrating to me because it meant for the next 3 days we had to guess at what she liked to eat, when she liked to eat and how she slept, etc.  I also was dying to know if she was in foster care before or if she had been in the orphanage for her whole 14 months of life.

The entrance to the Kunming Children's Welfare Institute

I had seen pictures of the orphanage before so I wasn't surprised.  It looked really cheerful and well kept.  There are several buildings, the main one being white with bright colors and a turret.  There was also a medical building and 2 other buildings.

This is where the library and physical therapy rooms were. 

We were taken to a room and offered water and candy.  They gave us a book about the orphanage and then took us on a short tour of the facilities.  Everything was SO clean and modern which was a surprise because not much in China is considered clean.  We saw some kids getting physical therapy, some babies getting developmental play time, a nice library, and a TV room.  They showed us the newborn baby room and there were lots of cute babies sleeping in their cribs.  The older baby room was empty because they were all off getting breakfast.  The lady touring us around asked if we would like Daisy to have breakfast with the other kids and I declined because I was afraid they would take her from us and have her eat while we finished the tour.  I didn't think that would be so good.  But it would have been interesting to see how they feed all those babies and what they were feeding them.  Most of the older kids were at school (we were told they go to a local school in the area) so the place was very quiet.  It really seemed like they did a good job of caring for the kids and it is probably considered a really nice orphanage.  I don't have anything to compare it to, however my mom has been to orphanages in Armenia and she was shocked at how great this one was because she was expecting something more like Armenia.  This one was top notch in her opinion.

The library, with lots of books for the older kids.

Unfortunately, the lady touring us around wasn't the usual person who knows the babies really well.  She didn't know much about Daisy and I didn't get any real answers to my questions.  Basically they said she went to foster care when she was about 5 months old and then she was brought back to the orphanage 1 week before we arrived to get her.  Its really so sad!  I can only imagine how confused she must be, wondering when she will stop getting new caregivers.  I am sure she doesn't imagine that we are the final stop in her life.  I hope she will quickly learn to trust us.

The main building where the children sleep and eat.

 The inside of the main building.  It seemed very new and was very quiet at that time of day.  

They also gave us a little piece of paper with her schedule on it for feeding and sleeping.  But, it was the orphanage schedule and she had only been on it for 1 week.  I wished we could have gotten the foster families schedule.  The only thing they would tell us about the foster family was that there were other foster kids and the couples biological child also living in the home.

This was a cool metal sculpture mural on the outside of the colorful building.

In Kunming, they have what is called the foster village 1 hour away from the orphanage.  That is where they foster all the kids.  I imagine it's like a big compound with apartments for every family.  I also think it is their main job, to be foster care givers.  There are 500-600 kids at the foster care village and about 100-200 kids in the orphanage.  I was surprised at how many there are!  Daisy's hands and face are quite tan so I figure they spent a lot of time outside.

The person giving us the tour (translated by our guide) thanked us for giving Daisy a home and we thanked her for taking such good care of her.  Then a film crew asked us if he could film us and he did for a minute but we didn't talk, just stood there staring into the camera.  It was kind of weird.  I guess somewhere, someday we'll be on Chinese TV!

The medical building behind us.  We were not invited to go inside.

That was it.  We were told it would be $250 for the tour but we were not charged in China and have not seen a bill yet, but it could still be coming.  We were also only allowed to take pictures of the outside and one of the inside lobby.  NO children could be photographed.

We left the orphanage and Paul said he would take us to Green Lake Park, which I had wanted to see.  We went and walked around, there were a bunch of ponds with lilly pads, bridges, gazebo's (with people doing Karaoke), shops and a kiddie amusement park.  There were also people dancing and doing Tai Chi and performing music.  We loved watching the Tai

One of the many lakes/ponds in the park.

Badminton anyone?  With a bike for a net?  Note the tai chi dancers in the background.

If you would like a nicely drawn caricature of Bin Laden or Obama, this is the place to get one!

Lilly pad heaven.

A lone dancer practicing her moves.

Steve carried Daisy around like that all day.  He didn't let that stop him from filming.

Zack was determined to sink the lilly pads with these rocks.  An impossible task, he found.

There was a building in the middle of the park with big windows we could see inside to the people who were all at tables playing majong or studying or just chillin'.

Two ladies practicing their dance moves together.


One entrance to the park.

Cutest baby at the park that day!


A group of people doing Tai Chi. (Behind the people watching.)

When we got to the park, Zack spotted some hamster balls on the lake.  We told him he could do them so after we had walked around a while and Paul had left us, we went to inquire on the price.  Well, Steve asked and they told us about $5 usd.  I went up to pay because I was going to get in it with Zack.  They told me a huge price like $30-40 usd.  We decided to leave and go check out the hamster balls on the other side of the park.  This time they told us $5 usd.  Zack and I got loaded in and started running.  And we went nowhere!  Have you ever done this?  It is freaking hard work!  Zack was laughing so hard and having the best time.  I would run really fast and he would just get tossed around like salad in a spinner!

"I NEED to get into those hamster spinners!"

At one point I looked over to see if Steve was filming and I realized we were once again quite the spectacle.  A huge crowd had formed to see the large American woman and white haired child spinning in the hamster balls.  This is not the most graceful I have ever been and they were quite amused.  After I was sufficiently tired, I got out and Zack continued for 10 more minutes.  After, he thanked us profusely and said that was the most fun he had ever had.  Pretty boring vacation if the hamster ball is the highlight!  Ha!

Ready to start!

Round and round we go!

People gather to watch the spectacle.

We had to work together or Zack would get tossed! 

We didn't get too much further than this!

Taking a break!  This is hard work!

Mom's ready to come in!  Zack's ready for more.  He really got that thing going when he was alone!

During our time at the park we went from sunny and roasting hot to poring rain, to sunny and hot and more rain, then sun again.  We kept getting out the umbrellas and putting them away.  The rain did little to alleviate the heat and just made it feel more like a sauna.

Before Paul left us, he took us to a restaurant just outside the park that he said had good noodle soup.  He ordered for us and then left.  He had lots of paperwork to do you know so we could only ever have his company for half a day. The soup came boiling hot and then a plate with noodles and meat parts that you were supposed to dump in the boiling broth to cook.  One bowl we weren't quite quick enough and the meat didn't end up getting all the way cooked.  Luckily no one got sick.  I took all the meat out, it was unidentifiable meat parts so I passed.

Sluuuurrrp!  Those are huge bowls of soup!

Of coarse right when the food came we smelled the baby.  She can load a diaper like no body's business.  I was a little freaked because I had no idea where I was going to change her.  I'm not sure but I think even in China it is considered bad form to change a diaper next to where people are eating.  My mom volunteered to help me, thank goodness, so we set off with a screaming baby and our diapering kit.  As I walked through the restaurant the workers would see me coming and point me in a direction.  I just kept going and after 3 minutes of walking through a maze of different dining establishments, I was directed to a bathroom.

A tiny bathroom with a sink and two stalls.  No where was there a changing table or counter top.  There was however a deep window sill.  So of coarse our only option was to lay our screaming Daisy's head out the 2 story window, onto some pipes, with my mom supporting and handing me wipes.  All the while Daisy was pitching a major fit and was in danger of flinging her whole body out the window!  It wasn't too bad, but most def a 2 person job!  My mom took Daisy and I proceeded to use the squatter as gracefully as I could.  Just so you know, I thoroughly scrub my feet every night in the shower!

The squatter, in case you've never seen one.  I could never figure out if  I was supposed to face the tank or the stall door.  ?

I may have mentioned before that there are always people emptying the garbage's with tongs.  Here is an example.

That night, we set out to find a good restaurant.  We stumbled upon a Tempanyaki place (you know where they cook the food in front of you?  Except there were no theatrics or onion volcano's).  It was probably some of the best food we had the entire trip.  We ordered so much food!  You should have seen the employees faces, like they had just hit the jackpot!  Steve got sauteed duck tongue.  Sharon and I politely declined a taste.  Did I mention this baby loves to eat?  She ate and ate too.  We were happy to have found it and wished we could have found it earlier in the trip.

Out looking for a restaurant, we came across this bull and Zack took a ride.

The Tempanyaki restaurant.  If we ever go back to Kunming we will need to remember this place!

We sat at the counter so we could watch them cook our food.  Only some of it was cooked here.  Some came straight out of the kitchen.

Steve ordered Duck Tongue.

Steve ENJOYED his duck tongue.

No thanks, you can have all the duck tongue Steve.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and Daisy is a happy baby!

1 comment:

Angela Maddock said...

I haven't had internet for about 10 days and am finally getting a chance to get caught up. Loved the hamster ball story. Funny the things kids say was their favorite part of the trip! So glad your mom was there to help you change Daisy! Cheers for changing tables and the USA! :)