House of the Angels (국립 병원에 버려지는 아기 천사 예수님_English) > 테마가 있는 하루

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테마가 있는 하루

House of the Angels (국립 병원에 버려지는 아기 천사 예수님_English)

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There are about thirty children, aged one to teens, living in Haiti Kkottongnae. They live in the separate building called ‘House of the Angels’. All of them are handicapped, physically and/or mentally. But some children’s disabilities are more complicated than others.    Beauplan was abandoned at the National Hospital because he was born without an anus. The Korean missionaries brought him to Kkottongnae, where he underwent surgery to make a stoma in his belly so he could pass stool. A bag was attached to the stoma to collect the stool. Beauplan is about a year old, but he is very small so he looks like he is only a few months old. He is now waiting to receive a surgery to make an anus and to close the stoma. But before the surgery can be performed Beauplan must weigh 3Kg, a body weight which he has not yet reached.    When the Korean missionaries first met Keffy, a seven-year-old girl, she was living in the orphanage across the street from Kkottongnae. There, according to Br. John, she sat in the corner by herself, covered with dust, her face emotionless and her chin drooped down onto her chest. When I met Keffy last year, she had deformed legs and was basically unable walk. She could scarcely walk by pushing a walker, but mainly she crawled around without it. Then, when I met her again this year, I was heartened to see her walking on her own feet. After undergoing surgery from Korean medical volunteers last year, she is now able to walk with only a limp. She even takes care of the little children, especially Lestin, whom she cares for as if he were her real little brother.    Tiga was found between the garbage dumpsters at the National Hospital, abandoned and a victim of AIDS. When he first came to Kkottongnae, he used to hit and slap the faces of his elders. But he is now a caring big brother to the younger children at the House of Angels. When I saw him dressed in his school uniform every morning, I felt so proud of him, like I was looking at my own son. He loves music, especially the sound of drums. When he hears drum sounds, he is transformed into a totally different person.  Lestin was born with deformed legs that curved roundly into the shape of an oval. He, too, was abandoned at the National Hospital. When I met him last year, he was not able to walk. Instead, he crawled around from place to place, and he was in a cast that covered both his legs from hip to toe. When I met Lestin again this year, he was walking and running. Like Keffy, after undergoing surgery from Korean medical volunteers last year, Lestin was able to walk. His right foot is bent slightly inward but he can walk and run perfectly. He is such a curious three-year-old boy and every day he goes to the school across the street from Kkottongnae. Sr. James makes him a lunch with a delicious sandwich and juice box every morning. And so Lestin’s greatest treasure is his lunch box. Br. John walks Lestin to school at 7:15 every morning. One day, I followed them to the school. When they arrived at the entrance, Lestin started to cry like he didn’t want to go to school. His teacher had to come over and carry him in her arms. Another day I took Lestin, Keffi, and Julien to the Garden of Mother Mary. There, Lestin suddenly pulled down his pants and was about to pee on the feet of Mother Mary. I quickly swept him up and ran out of the garden to a big tree. He peed while leaning on the tree and then run away before I could even get his pants back up. I had to chase after him, and he just kept going, looking back and laughing at me.   Br. John is enthusiastic about teaching the Korean language to Lestin. After his diligent efforts, Lestin became quite good at repeating what Br. John said in Korean. Words and phrases like “Hello. My name is Lestin.” And when Br. John said the name of an animal in Korean, Lestin made the sound of that animal. If Br. John said “Pig”, then Lestin would say “oink, oink.” If he said “chick,” Lestin would respond with “peep, peep” and so on.  Listening to them, they sounded as if they were singing a song or playing a game.    One afternoon, Sr. James gave Lestin a few bags of gummy bears and asked him who he wanted to share the snack with. He listed his favorites at House of the Angels, and Keffy was at the top of the list. But as soon as Lestin walked into the house, tall Maxen snatched the bag from his hands. Still, it was all fine with Lestin. He shared his snacks with some friends until there was only one bag of gummy bears left in his hand. So not surprisingly, whenever I walked around with Lestin at Kkottongnae, I could hear the others calling out, “Lestin, Lestin, my boy!” He was the most popular boy in the village, a little star of sorts. It was such a gratifying experience, seeing the change in this young boy over just one year. My last visit, I saw no trace of the fear that I had read in his eyes the previous year. Now he is just a perfect, average three-year-old little boy who likes to run, talk, cry and laugh.    The Kkottongnae missionaries visit the hospital every month to provide bread and drink to the people who are hungry and to bring back sick people who are abandoned in the filthy shower room or even dying in some corner of the National Hospital. The missionaries take them back to the Kkottongnae village and wash them, feed them, treat their ailments and accept them as family. The missionaries care for them as if they were caring for Jesus. The day before I left Kkottongnae, six more children were transported from the hospital. They were all handicapped children, and they were all abandoned by their families in the hospital shower room. While Sr. Matthias was meeting with a hospital office employee, Br. Thomas showed us around the facility. The hospital environment was poor and there were many patients waiting for care and treatment. When we walked to the shower room, we found it empty, something Br. Thomas said was very unusual. He told us that there were always abandoned people there, dying without proper care.     We continued to look around, finally arriving at the pediatric inpatient area of the hospital, where six beds had been gathered in the middle of the room. The six handicapped children were there for us to pick up, whether they understand it or not. As we came closer, one boy in particular caught my attention. He looked to be about six or seven-years-old. He was flailing around inside the closed metal crib, screaming loudly. I stood and looked at him for a minute before deciding to pick him up. As I picked him up, a lady who was standing next to the crib gestured to me. She made a biting gesture then pointed to her neck and arm. She was trying to tell me that the boy would bite my neck and arms. I quickly turned him so as to keep his face away from my neck. Then I carried him around, circling the inside of the building and hoping it would sooth his anger. He became calm for a while but shortly after returned to his restless state, fidgeting and squirming in my arms. I put him back down in the crib, and he started to scream and shake convulsively in the crib. I could see that his eyes were filled with fear and anger. So I picked him up and walked around the building again. It was hot and humid inside the building with only a few fans to provide relief from the heat. I held him below one of the fans, standing there with him for a time. After the long paperwork process was finished, we transferred the children to the van.    On the way back to Kkottongnae, Sr. Matthias stopped at the grocery store and bought some snacks for us. We the children in our arms and fed them bread and yogurt. Although we were not sure if they would eat the snacks, it turned out that they ate very well. I looked into the face of the boy, Louis. He looked like a little bird resting in my arms. At the Kkottongnae village, we gave the children baths and put clean cloth on them. Looking at them then, we noted how they already seemed like Kkottongnae family members who has been living there for a long time.     I truly believe that they will continue to be loved and cared for by the Kkottongnae missionaries. While I was visiting the House of Angels one night, I watched how Sr. Simon took care of the children. She prayed over the head of each sleeping child in the dark room. She moved silently like a butterfly from flower to flower checking on them. At times I find myself wondering how these angels spent their day in Kkottongnae today. And sometimes when I close my eyes, I can hear Br. John’s voice floating softly through the window, saying, “Sara, my lovely daughter Sara, my daughter Sara”

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