At all of the children’s homes where we serve, there are workers and caregivers. These are mostly women, some of whom are widowed and thus outcasted by Indian society. Some have their own children and maybe are working at the children’s home in order for their child to have a place to live and go to school. Others have their own families but dedicate most of their day or even stay overnight with the orphan children. They are paid the typical Indian minimal wage of 100 rupees (~ $2 USD) per day or less. They work long hours – cooking and cleaning, watching over the children, getting them ready for school, supervising their chores, monitoring homework, providing first aid and counseling them when they have a problem. They provide the children with the physical and emotional “Shelter” that we’ve discussed as a part of our summer theme.
When foreign visitors are around, the caregivers often stay in the shadows, watching as the children interact with new people, who give them candy and play with them. Today, while a group of visitors was entertaining the children, I spent some time with Laxmala, a cook at one of the children’s home. She cooks three meals a day over a gas stove in a very hot, poorly ventilated little kitchen to feed the fifty children that live at this home. After the group members had painted all of the hostel girls’ fingernails, I noticed Laxmala scratching at her oldchipped nail polish. So, I asked her if she’d like her nails painted. She bobbed her head and smiled widely! Her hands were work-worn and tired from all the time spent washing, chopping, stirring, and serving. I wish I could send her for a nice spa manicure, but she seemed to appreciate my efforts. She is a humble servant, caring for the least and lost children of Indian society. It was my honor to paint Laxmala’s nails.
I thank God for her and the many people that the Lord raises up and uses in this important role of caregiver. They have a major influence on the lives of the children. Although I doubt there is a “Caregiver’s Day” on the Hallmark calendar, we need to let them know how much we appreciate the care that they give. Let’s pray for the caregivers at all the children’s homes served by Back2Back Ministries.