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Ulrike (63), as Granny in an orphanage in Vietnam

„It was exhausting! But I could go back the day after tomorrow!!

„I helped in an orphanage in Saigon from 1.11.12 until 20.2.13. These months were the most difficult and at the same time the most beautiful in my life. Working with the children gave me lots of pleasure. I, as non-mother, had no idea, how well I was able to handle small children. There were about 240 small children on five wards in the orphanage. On the baby station were 32 healthy babies, the youngest 7 days old, the oldest 1 year. Mostly the babies are abandoned somewhere or left behind in the hospital. Additionally there was a toddler station, a station with Down Syndrome children and the “sick ward” with the very disabled and very ill children, where I was initially supposed to work, but which I just could not manage, even after several tries.  

I spent the first month with the 32 babies, feeding, changing and playing. In the afternoon the children just lay in their beds without contact to their carers. That was my job, to stroke them, laugh with them etc. I was only allowed five minutes per child! They were also supposed to be fed in a rapid tempo often making them sick without talking to them. Do not ask me how the nurses “told” me this, it was unmistakable in any case.

I lived in a district without any tourists. Hardly anyone speaks English and English menus were also few and far between. Ordering meals was an adventure every evening – thus I had nice and interesting experiences. To venture out as a woman alone is unthinkable for a Vietnamese women. It was demanding! But I could go back again the day after tomorrow. To my little ones and to the chaotic, loud everyday life with the heat and the always friendly helpful people, the delicious food, the problems with diarrhea, and and and…..”