Upon reaching the top, the amazing view of tea and corn farms starkly contrasted the poor conditions of the first orphanage. While the children were not malnourished or neglected, the state of their dormitories was in disrepair. The ground was not paved, so thick mud was a problem during the rainy season. As shown in the slideshow above, you can see good intentions for improving the orphanage. One project, in particular, was the creation of a library, which the director hoped could be utilized--not by the children--but by pastors in the community. While the director had a good heart, there was still much that needed to be done. One of the doctors explained that the director's second job as a teacher often prevented him from attending to all of the needs of the orphans. I overheard one of the other missionaries asking if the director had bought a sewing machine with the funds she had given him last year. He shook his head and reported he had not been able to buy it. The children had a long way to go before they could be self-sufficient.
The second orphanage, although only two years older than the first, exhibited many characteristics that would sustiain both the orphans and institution. The orphanage director was much more involved with the childrens' lives, as evidenced by the endearing term "baba" bestowed upon him by the children. He was also a community organizer in his own right. He had created ways to empower the children to learn applicable skills needed to survive as adults. First, he owned several cows, which the children milked daily. In addition, he kept two large chicken coops that held chickens for food and supplied the orphanage with eggs. The eggs were also sold to other communities as an income source for the orphanage. Furthermore, the orphanage director owned a grain mill, which the community utilized for a small fee to grind their corn and wheat. Pictured above is the director in the orphanage's store house containing the mill. Moreover, the director had a big farm in which he taught the children how to grow and sell vegetables. He showed us his future plans to buy more land to farm across the street. Finally, the director ran a school, which the community paid tuition for the neighboring children to attend. Not only was this director caring for the children and sustaining the institution, but was also making the orphanage a needed resource for the community. Over tea, the director explained that he was trusted in the community because he was transparent and accountable with his funds. This contrasted with the first orphanage director who claimed "I don't have much community support," yet also was not responsible with funds provided and lacked administrative strength.
So what can we learn from these two management styles? On a micro-level, the amount of involvement of each director makes an immense difference to the success of the orphanages. I think this can be applied to a parental involvement in a child's life, as well: involved parents are more available to meet a child's needs and build a stronger bond and trust with the child. On a macro-level, the orphanages emphasized that you cannot function as a self-contained unit. Living in community means working hard to be an indispensible resource for both the children and their neighbors. Although the first orphanage director lamented, "the community is not supporting me!" he was not reaching out in practical ways, nor succeeding in creating tools for the orphans and community to utilize. Finally, sustainability is crucial for both the well-being of the individuals and institutions as a whole. Unfortunately, human beings do not live forever and we must be able to establish an organization that can function when we have to turn over leadership someday.