Barely given a glance.
As if they’ve never seen the sunlight
As if they were inadequate as humans
Left in a jungle of cribs, sometimes tied to their beds in fear and annoyance
As if wild animals.
This is no far tale.
These are the special needs kids of Nueva Esperanza.
The second time I went to Honduras I spent a week in the public orphanage in San Pedro called Eden that was holding children from Nueva Esperanza, which had burned down. However, now they are now back in Nueva since it’s been rebuilt. I’ve had the privilege of getting very close to a lot of the kids there.
There’s a nursery at Nueva that holds all the special needs kids and all the babies. The conditions are horrendous. There’s only one worker for what seems like 20 babies (including a bunch of newborns) and about 10 special needs. The babies are of course, first priority. Not only do the special needs kids get put second, but they don’t seem to get much attention, at least of the loving kind, in general. They’re incredibly pale from never being outside. Their side of the nursery usually smells terrible, they sit in naked besides their dirty diapers in stain-ridden cribs all day long. Sometimes, the other kids will come in and pick on them. They call them crazy.
There’s a down-syndrome boy there named Adon who likes to pinch, and pinch hard. Because of this the workers (called tia’s) would tie him to his crib. When I was there for my first week, Adon had found a way to escape his crib and was trying to pinch all of us. A girl in my missions group blurted out,
“Would someone please put him back in his cage?”
I don’t think she really meant cage but it struck me none-the-less. These cribs were so much more like cages then cribs. They were treated as if they wild animals, when really, they’re just defenseless children.
Today in chapel one of our teachers came up and spoke to us. He started to talk about his first-born son, Charlie. He talked about his birth, how much he loves him, and all the wonderful things about him. And then he hit us with the blow. Charlie has down-syndrome. Charlie waved, happy as ever, to all of us, and then our teacher went on to talk more. He told us of a time when he was in high school and he laughed at a choir of special needs kids. His heart had been so incredibly changed by his son.
But the thing that struck me most about all of it is when he asked his 13-year-old special needs son, Charlie, to get up and sing with him. They sang “Our God Is Greater” in front of all of us. And it was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Charlie sang, off-pitch, monotone, missing half of the words and squeaking.
But his dad looked at him with such pride and love.
His face showed nothing but absolute adoration of his son. All of us could see that our teacher couldn’t have loved his son more than he already did. At the end he showed us a montage of pictures of his beloved son, deeply smiling at every one of them. Charlie was so incredibly happy, too. It was enough to bring tears to your eyes. I had to do everything in my power not to cry when I thought of the special needs kids at Nueva.
There were a few from my group who had so much love for these kids. They’d hold them for hours, walk them, call them their baby, and even one of them changed an older kid’s diapers. I have so much respect for them.
But then there’s the rest of the population, like me. I can’t express how uncomfortable I am around those kids. I feel so out-of-place and I don’t give them nearly as much love as the other kids. Seeing Charlie and his dad in chapel today reminded me of how badly I needed to change. Those kids need just as much – if not more – love as the other kids.
Maybe I’m not called to serve in the special needs field, maybe I am. All I know is that I need to try, and that there needs to be a bigger group of people willing to step up and help out. There seems to be at least a small to medium interest, from what I’ve seen, to saving the kids in Honduras. But there seems to be little to none willing to save those with needs.
I know there are more people out there who have a heart like my teacher for these kids. And I know there’s some out there that don’t know it yet.
Please, please, please, anyone who is willing, fight for these kids. They need you.
“Now the body is not made up of one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpredictable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoice with it.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:14-26