[Editor’s Note: This blog post will break the self imposed swearing ban that Hank had implemented.][Editor’s Note Round 2: There is no actual editor other than myself which is why some of this can be so slipshod but I like to pretend I have an omniscient figure throwing in random notes from time to time.]
The Tias of Pani tend to suck. I had horror stories of them before, from a girl who is much kinder and probably less judgmental than I, so I should have probably believed her a little more. I mentioned before that my views of orphanages tended to be askew due to having only a reference of them from film and literature and not the real world. It’s true that the orphanage isn’t a dreary, sad place like I may have originally thought but it does tend to have the same overseers who don’t tend to give a shit about the children there. That might not be entirely true, they probably care about the children than they do care about the volunteers because I think that we may be lesser than ants to them. At the very least is it that hard to say goodbye when someone specifically says it to you? Multiple times? Apparently it is. It’s okay though, at least we aren’t chastised for behavior that they then replicate the next day like complete hypocrites. If you don’t want us to play songs for the children then we completely understand that and are very cordial in turning it off and making sure it doesn’t happen again. However, it’s not all too fair for you to condone that behavior and then do it yourself the next day. Especially when we were making sure not to play questionable music, and then you play extremely questionable Top-40 tunes for children. It would also be different if you showed any effort towards the children at all, regardless of us being there or not. We are volunteers, we aren’t paid to work with these children for close to five hours a day. Just because we don’t show up doesn’t mean you can completely skimp out on your responsibilities and half ass your job. Which would be a compliment if we’re saying what they do is half assing. To leave us alone with the children is fine, it routinely happened with my old Tia and she used that time to make food, to do paper work, to do anything that benefited the children that she couldn’t entirely focus on when she was taking of the kids on her own. Instead these women sit in a room alone and talk and gossip and go on YouTube. Or text. Or Facebook. They literally do not set their phones down the entire time we are there. On Friday, I was happy to see a Tia come outside when all the children were there and sit next to a toddler. Upon sitting down, she whipped out her phone and went to business offering only nods when a child tried to communicate with her. It’s disgusting. Apparently we aren’t the first people to notice this and it’s even been brought up with the Tias but they offer a range of excuses stemming from we aren’t paid enough, to we drive hours to be here, to other bullshit excuses that you can make up yourself. Which again is bearable, it’s okay, the kids are great and at the very least I want to give them the most support I can. The thing that really pissed me off though, and I believe Maria as well, is that we had an incident with taking pictures. As mentioned before, we used a phone to play some music before that was shut down. During our musical adventures, a child or two did take our phones and just started taking photos and selfies of themselves and the other children. We knew we weren’t supposed to take pictures of the kids and post them on social media for privacy reasons but we just figured we’d let the kids have their fun for a little bit for our own personal photos and to entertain the kids. This was also shut down, and then we apologized and made sure to keep our phones away and not let the children go after them if they tried. It seems simple. We made a mistake, we fessed up, we apologized and we moved on. Except when we came to get picked up and the first thing the Tias do is scream about us to our driver about our photo taking and go on for a solid few minutes or so. The Tias who leave us alone with the children, who don’t watch the children, who ignore the children when they cry or in pain, who dick around on their phones four hours straight. They never said Hello or Goodbye to us but they’re more than willing to talk crap about us as soon as we make a mistake of which we immediately apologized for and rectified the situation. Oh, and I did forget to mention that one of the Tias or the cook (which I think is entirely different position entirely) danced with the kids while we played music. She didn’t tell us to shut it down, she seemed to embrace it and utilize it as a way to interact with the kids. Just like the one Tia who watched me lift kids to reach the ceiling for about an hour straight, or for the next day a different Tia to yell at us for giving a child a hug. So the hypocrisy is even confusing because we’re always not sure if what we’re doing is allowed or not or it all depends on who even notices it happening. Though there’s still a small chance of anyone noticing it happen because they mainly interact with the children for a few minutes a day out of the hours we are there and that seems to be only to complain about something we did. Constructive criticism is okay, of course it is, how else are you going to grow and improve without it? Gratitude is a little nice too. It wouldn’t even be half bad if they literally did nothing when we were there if they were at least thankful that it is because of us that they are afforded that opportunity. A simple thanks bye would go a long why but it seems outside of their comfort zone. Because they’re the type of people that watch as I trip over something and bang up a knee only to laugh at me and then point it out to another Tia so she can join in on the hilarity too. Never asking if I’m okay or if I need help but I wouldn’t ever expect from that them. They’d have to show a shred of human decency to expect something like that. At the very least, and really the saving grace of everything is that they have some amazing kids there. Amazing kids that are smart, loving, fun, and just so happy to have someone to hang out with and play with. I might have significant qualms with the staff at the program, but I’d rather do all I can and work my ass off for those kids while I’m there then leave them alone with the Tias. I’m not expecting much from the Tias over these next few weeks and I frankly don’t even really care. I’ll be working with one girl for the next three weeks and another girl for two of those three and as long as we know we’re helping the kids that what matters to us. I don’t expect a goodbye or even a thanks for your month of service but I’ll know that I helped those kids significantly with a month of my time and I hope it impacts them even further than that. Until then, I’ll just keep giving it my all and that’s all I can really do. So it goes.