Growing in a diverse environment with different cultures is not that simple. It takes a person to learn about the survival tactics of other people and their settings as a whole. When students involve in cultural plunges, such activities to them appear to be odd and out of their class, but they tend to learn more about a certain neglected group and their cultures. Plunges stand for education that involves the application of practices, which makes the students to gain interests at the same time build their confidences by encountering ideas that are challenging.
This in turn plays a significant role of rewarding the students by instilling an element of understanding in them and appreciating others the way they are. When students familiarize themselves with other people’s culture, they create self-awareness and the potential in handling a wide variety of educational approaches thus; it assists to sensitize both teachers and students in facing the cultural realities. It also helps to assess on the values and unfairness to assist students in their learning process now and in the future.
In this paper, the cultural plunge will be to reflect on the experience I had during a visit to an orphanage that had abandoned kids with mental problems. We chose on this site because we needed to know more about the diversity issues and familiarize ourselves with the environment the orphans stayed in, and how the abandoned children survived. Before our visit, we donated presents for the children that included food, clothing, books, medicine and funds to assist them. We went to the children’s home, the first site that came into my mind is an old worn out gate enclosed with a high fence to keep the strangers from the premises. At the gate, a guardian greeted us in a hospitable way and showed us the way inside the compound. The first house I came across is the laundry house designed in a flat manner that enabled the kids to climb on top.
The next building is the main hall that had other branches where the children slept. The other branch led to the kitchen that had double tables for the kids to use them in serving their meals and do their homework when free. In front of the hall were the offices where they directed all the guests when they needed to know the welfare of the children. Beneath, there was a living room with sits and a television, which acted as a recreation for the kids. The staff permitted the children to view it in specific times when they were through with all their chores. In between the buildings was a yard, it separated the different departments. In the process of walking around, kids came allover us running and holding our hands.
The sight of watching the children made me learn something, that despite the kid’s condition, they were jovial and to some point, it added a day in their life. To make the kids feel appreciated, we share the fun with them and become part of the play. Nothing made the children happier than chasing them around or playing the famous hide and seeks game. It felt like creating a memorable bond with the children and made them forget about the realities that faced them. In the process, I realized that some kids were not just orphans, but they had mental problems after observing them keenly. This site was too pathetic to bear as others ended up throwing stones at us while playing and beating their fellow children with an apparent no compelling reason. There are those children that besides being orphans, they had other problems such as being deaf, numb, crippled, and others had rushes all over their bodies that it became scary to stare them.
This also strikes my mind is that all the children needed is affection from other people to create illusions of parents and brothers in their life. Through the experience with the kids, I realized that, not all the parents of the kids passed on but others are still alive but their identities are not yet revealed. From the situation, they dumped the children because they did not want to associate with their physical appearance and the fact that others were ill mentally.
Our visit was successful; the kids treated us in a friendly manner and we spend the whole day having fun with them. We conducted programs, and through them, we empowered the kids through various creative games to keep them busy and make them skillful in life. I also noted that not all the kids were calm; there was a group of children that made it difficult to be handled because of their unruly nature. After showering them with gifts, the kids became more delighted. Large populations of the orphans were girls since the orphanage had a population of 625 orphans and three quarters of them were girls.
A few section of the population never faced neglect as the caretakers had their contacts and from the records, their family paid them a visit. It amazed me why a family could dump their own child in the orphanage yet they were still alive, but we came to learn that, kids with such cases became severely handicapped and they required close attention. A group of parents could not make it as their schedules was too busy which forced them to bring their kids to the orphanage, but this does not imply that the parents neglected their kids.
I noted that, mostly the married couples with infertility problems adopted kids from their siblings with many children and brought them in the orphanage. I could not help but wonder why they could take a child from the comfort of their parents to such places, but those in charge of the orphanage explained to us that the kids were comfortable, in the orphanage. The reason is that their real parents could not support them because of economic hardship and the couple that adopted them did not find sufficient time to take care of them. They preferred bringing them in the orphanage, pay the bills, and pay them a visit occasionally to see how they fared on. I also learnt that, when the new infants brought in, and placed in separate rooms where the two assigned staff took care of them. The section that supports children that do not have adoption cases has less staff, and there is no close care. Children in such sections end up suffering and faces delays in growing up at a fast rate, and they tend to appear and behave younger than people perceive them.
The experience from the orphanage created an impression in us that, infants’ needs our love as most of the children need tenderness, stimulation and affection just like their mothers will treat them to feel appreciated. My experience in the orphanage also made me to feel sorry especially for children with mental problems and this made them lack interest in what other kids seem to be enjoying and developed a hopeless attitude towards the future. What they experienced affected them a lot that they find it hard to go on with their daily routine in a normal way. Pain is the word to describe what I felt when I saw what the kids went through. For instance, they could not concentrate in their schoolwork; they were weak as they lacked the energy to perform any activity efficiently unless they receive help from the staff. Some time I realized that the affected kids found it hard to sleep because of persistent headaches and stomachaches. As a result, they showed less interest in plays as most of the time they felt irritated, sad and neglected.
This was so real when we were interacting with the kids; we could note the difference in their behavior from the rest of the orphans who did not have the mental problems. Our group treated all the kids in a compassionate way that made them feel cared for even though their circumstance could not allow them to be so much exited as the rest. The orphanage caretakers also informed our group that, the instability of the family is a factor that contributed to the cause of mental problems in children. The conflicts between the parents affected the children in a way that they developed tension that affected them both physically, emotionally and psychologically. We also noted that, children suffer mentally because of harsh conditions they face at that tender age. These cases occur especially when only one parent brings up the kid and in the process he or she subjects the kid to harassment. Interacting with the staff together with the kids at the orphanage made us realize that depression in kids was the main cause of mental illness, which tends to be more serious and affected kids than it did to adults.
Based on my personal responses and experiences, I felt pity for all the children in the orphanage after interacting with them. The sight of seeing the small kids alone in hands of foreign people other than their parents made the situation appear their own parents had neglected them. It is painful especially in cases where both parents are alive, but they end up dumping their children at the orphanages because of reasons that they could avoid. Such reasons include neglecting the kids because of their physical appearances and failing to create enough time to take care and keep in contact with their children despite their busy schedule. Some neglect their children because of economic problems and when they visited the orphanage, they miss the parental love and care which is extremely beneficial to kids at a tender age. The sight of seeing the kids with mental problems at the same time being orphans made me sympathize more for them. From their condition, it is as if they had a double tragedy to the point that, they saw no future ahead of them. This group of kids suffered from emotional, psychological and physical torture that it affected their daily functions. I could not resist, but I felt the pity especially when the kids find it hard to take their meals, study, interact with others and even sleep.
The plunge also caused discomfort in me a way that, there are some points I found it hard to relate with the children especially the orphans with the mental effects. At first, it was hard to play freely with them during the visit because at first they were not friendly to us. They could throw stones, and they happened to be violent when compared to other orphans without the mental problems. This created discomfort until the point when we familiarized to them, it paved the way for interacting more with them. The sight of seeing the young kids surviving alone in hands of strangers who were not their parents made me to feel out of place and uncomfortable.
I could picture what the kids faced when they lacked their parent’s love at that tender age. Most of the kids were not aware that their parents had died while others failed to know about their parents where about but they kept playing without minding such businesses. The thing that hurts me most is that the kids will grow up without knowing their background and their real parents. Another thing is that, such kids are unlucky as when they become mature they miss their parent’s love that is beneficial to each child as he grows up. Being able to identify with other people especially the orphans and share experiences with them made me feel plunged as I get to learn on their survival modes through the real practice by interacting with them.
The experience is educative in a way that, I learn through interacting with the minor social groups in the society I have a compassion heart especially when I offered to play with them, offer them gifts and share their experience of living without parents. This experience connects to other relevant readings as they discuss the children’s innocence and give alternatives to the proper way of treating kids. Based on my understanding from the experience, the plunge feelings in relation to teaching I learn that, I should handle all people equally despite their conditions and cultures. The young people need to adopt ways in interacting with the minorities in the society to learn about their cultures and show compassion towards them despite what they are going through.