Today I want to start sharing with you some of the “struggles” at the orphanage. By that, I mean the kinds of things that go on that I don’t think would happen in a similar environment in the Western world. Some of it is cultural for sure, but other things are just a function of the situation.
The floor at the orphanage is dirty. There is no other word to describe it. They have a few dogs that do all sorts of unspeakable things on it (including the one that is currently in heat). The kids are always eating in the living room and spilling things, leaving crumbs and the like for the next guy to find.
It gets cleaned each day, but “clean” seems to have a very different definition. It isn’t cleaned with soap - ever. Usually just a broom, and on a good day, a vacuum cleaner. From my perspective with 25 boys living in the same space, that really isn’t acceptable. It is a ripe breeding ground for all sorts of things to get passed around.
And yet, Josh and I have tried to suggest real cleaning (like with bleach) but it seems to fall on deaf ears. There are a bunch of excuses for why bleach isn’t appropriate. I wish I understood this issue better. I suspect that it is cultural, because it is the same way at my school. The school is so dirty, it would have caused the custodial staff from the school I taught at in America to blush. Each day the kids sweep and mop the floors, but it really just amounts to pushing the dirt to a different corner, and using water to help. Soap isn’t part of the process! I know I’m not alone in this. Most of my friends report similar practices at their schools too.
So, when it comes to the orphanage, health is a big concern. The kids suffer from a lot of infections that are easily spread in communal living. It seems like this could be managed a bit better. Just this week, the dog bled all over the floor since she’s in heat…and the solution seemed to be using tissue to wipe it up!! Josh had the day off, so he went to buy some bleach and cleaned the floor….probably the second time in a year that the floor has been cleaned like that…but then the dog came back inside and bled everywhere again!
It isn’t our job to tell the staff there how to do things better, in fact that’s kind of taboo in Korea to begin with, so what do you think about it? What would you do?