Hefei Childrens Welfare Orphanage
Hefei, Anhui Province, China - Page 2 -

Mrs. Yannie FanMs. Yang, the other vice director takes us to the children's department in another building. Passing by two small temples along a cobbled path, we see three white mushroom-shaped temples and small stone benches scattered across the lawn. We walk down a wide sidewalk towards three white 3-story buildings, each trimmed with red-orange columns and roofs. Each of the building is decorated with hexagon shaped windows. Beyond the three white buildings we see a 6-story building under construction. The new building will be used as a family-style care facility. It will contain about 100 units for the caregiver foster mothers and children.
The largest of the white buildings is the children's building. Classrooms circle the four sides of an open square courtyard. The hallways on all three stories open to the courtyard. We head to the third floor and walk through double doors into the living room of one of the children's areas. There are two big bedrooms on either side with a bathroom in between. As we enter the bedroom on the right we can see eight light blue wooden cribs, each covered with a cotton sheet. The cribs are arranged two by two in four rows against the wall and windows on two sides of the room. There is a freestanding air conditioner in one corner. Floor-to-ceiling closets are built into the wall on either side of the door.
It is feeding time and all of the children are up, sitting and moving around in their walkers. All of the children are dressed in white cotton knit dresses trimmed with pink stripes. Two young caregivers in peach colored uniforms are feeding the children, four at a time. My friend and Ms. Yang join them, helping to give the children their bottles. One child is crying loudly and impatiently when her caregiver leaves to get a handkerchief. All of the adults in the room try to console the child. There are nine children in the room all together. One of the children appears to be about a year old and the others appear to be between six and eight months old. The oldest child is sitting on a chair at a small table by herself. The caregivers say that she is upset about something and is refusing to eat.
Crossing the living room we enter the other bedroom. The setting in the second bedroom is a bit different from the first one. The eight cribs are arranged into two squares. In this room the children are a little younger and quieter than the children in the first room. All of the children, dressed alike in yellow outfits, are finished with their feeding. They are moving around in the open area between the cribs and the door. As we enter the room they lean back in their walkers and look up at us. One of the little ones arches her back to be picked up. She wants to be held. The air conditioner is on and one of the caregivers closes the door behind us to keep in the cool air.
Ms. Yang guides us to two other children's' rooms. The settings are basically the same except that the children are wearing different colors. Ms. Yang tells us that the colors are rotated each day so that the children do not have to wear the same color two days in a row.
As we pass by another room we come to the children's activity room. This room is located in the middle of one side of the square, with six rooms on each side. From the front hall we are able to see the entrance and the stairs we used when we arrived. We are able to hear older children talking and laughing downstairs.

- Continued on page 3 -

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