Day 4- Meeting two families with disabled children
We went to see the work that Save The Children have done to support families with disabled children, as this was the project our grandparents had donated towards. It was an upsetting day, which affected all of us.
We drove through little mud roads that went past all the little houses which were made from scrap wood and metal. The first family we visited lived in one room. This was about 4m by 4m. There were two beds, a small table and a shelf of lots of little treasures- like an old watch. The room had been tidied miraculously, and the mother had put little sweets in a pot for us. Living in the room was the mother, the disabled girl and the younger brother. The father had left years ago. The disabled girl was 18 but looked more like 10 or 11, and the boy was 15 but looked more like 8 or 9. This was because there havn’t been getting the right food. It was very shocking. The boy had missed out on school because he had to help his mother look after his disabled sister. He was now attending special school as he had learning difficulties. The disabled girl had also been attending school. Her hair was cut short so that she wouldn’t pull at it. The family lived off the allowance given from the government, which all families recieve if they have a disabled child. This was 3000 mongolian turics a week- which is about 3 pounds. We gave them some stationary, we we knew would be very useful to them, and some chocolate. My sister and I also drew a colourful picture for them. They were a very friendly, happy family, and we could tell the children meant the world to their mother.
The second family lived in a ger. They were slightly richer as there was a fridge, Tv and carpets. The father worked, whilst the mother looked after the disabled girl and the cousin of the disabled girl (also disabled) went to unniversity to study politics- a huge accomplishment! The girl was 9 years old and could stand up but she couldn’t walk. She did not go to school because there was no way of getting there and the teachers were not trained enough to look after her. Our grandparents suggested they could buy her a frame she could use to walk, but finding the right size for her would be difficult.
After that we went to the circus where there were acrobatics, contortionists, men doing tricks on horses, lots of gymnastics, clowns, a girl doing tricks which hulla hoops whilst in the air, men doing doing gymnastics on the bars and two dancers that danced and twizzling really high up. It was all very dangerous and defintiely got our blood pumping fast!
On the way back to the hotel our grandparents pointed out the big holes in the pavement which lead underground. These were where the street children lived. There were dark, full of rubbish, smell vile and were generally just absolutely disgusting. My sister, Philippa and I were extremely shocked and uncomfortable. Two stree children began to follow us. One tried to sell us cigarettes and chewing gum. The other was a very skinny disabled boy. We gave some money to both.
A very interesting day. The pictures will be in our minds for a long time and actually seeing it for ourselves, instead of just learning and reading about it, was defintiely life changing. Tomorrow we are getting an internal flight, and visting some rehab centres in the countryside, so may not have access to computers, but we will update the blog when possible.