Freiwillige Helferinnen und Helfer aus aller Welt* unterstützen Thea und ihr Team und tragen die viele Arbeit im Kinderheim mit. Diese „Volunteers“ erfüllen die ihnen gestellten Aufgaben mit großer Liebe und Hingabe. Sie sind dabei, wenn ausgesetzte und verlassene Babys ins TLC gebracht werden, holen die Findlinge manchmal sogar selbst ab. Neun Stunden täglich, sechs Tage die Woche füttern, wickeln, baden und pflegen sie die Kleinen. Auch Kuscheln ist dabei angesagt, speziell die frühgeborenen und kranken Babys brauchen die liebevolle Zuwendung ganz dringend.
Eine solche Arbeit fordert (auch wegen der vielen „Notsituationen") körperlich und seelisch. Hin und wieder werden die jungen Leute damit konfrontiert, sich von einem kranken Kind endgültig verabschieden zu müssen – sie müssen dann akzeptieren, dass all ihre Bemühungen nicht helfen konnten. Selbst der freudige Abschied von Kindern, die in die Obhut einer neuen Familie entlassen werden, ist nicht immer leicht, hängt doch schon oft das Herz sehr an ihnen!
Das sind wirkliche Herausforderungen, doch wir haben erlebt, dass alle Babys und Kinder, die im TLC wohnen, ausgeglichen und fröhlich sind und wirklich gut gepflegt und beschützt werden.
Erfahrungsberichte von Volunteers aus dem TLC (Englisch):
Erfahrungsbericht von Shoshanna van Dijk
I feel that going to TLC was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. l have also never worked harder. . .The days are long, loooooong; the days test you not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
I have spent the past two summers at TLC and an average day in the nursery is 10-12 hours a day, six to seven days a week; however, as I said earlier I have never had a more rewarding experience!
We as volunteers spend our days feeding, changing, bathing, medicating, snuggling and loving these many little angels. We see babies arrive who are very sick, malnourished … and then watch them grow into happy healthy babies who find a forever family and fill a home with warmth and laughter.
Then come the times when babies don't get better and we have to learn to love them, and then let them go. I don't think there are many things in life tougher than saying goodbye to a baby you have spent the past months loving and caring for, the only way we can deal with it is by reminding ourselves that at least we know these babies had love to the very end.
On to happier times, we as the volunteers have the privilege of seeing first smiles, first crawls, first steps; of hearing first laughs, first words ...
These are "firsts" which Mother's usually ooh and aah over, and at TLC, it is us volunteers who do the oohing and aahing. We get a glimpse into the joys which are usually reserved for Mothers and Fathers. I can be having a tough day at TLC, and all it will take is an ear to ear smile from a baby who we'd never seen a smile from a week earlier, and suddenly my day is ten times brighter.
I will be returning to TLC the end of April 2006 for three months, and am counting the days till then. Next year, I will be finished my Music Education degree, and am planning to return to TLC for a couple years. I don't know how to put it, except that TLC, it's babies, the county and it's People have completely stolen my heart. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I do know my life has been made far richer through the love I have given and received from the many babies who have passed through TLC. May God richly bless all who walk through TLC's doors.
Having spent the past two summers at TLC I know first hand how much they appreciate the help they receive from all over the world. It still amazes me what one family can do when they have the prayers and support of people far and wide.
Erfahrungsbericht von Rachel Downey
I have been evolved with TLC since the year 2000. I first went with a friend having heard about the work of Thea from my brothers wife who is Theas niece. I spent just 8 days there then and it was the hardest but most life changing days of my life.
We had 27 babies and toddlers in two rooms. There was not a bath room at that end of the house so we had to bath them in Theas bedroom. All the bottles were made in the kitchen along with all the family cooking. TLC had just moved to the farm and a lot of work still had to be done.
My last visit took me to TLC for 1 year. Things had changed significantly. There was purpose built bathroom and playroom and separate nursery bedrooms for each age group of babies. There were better links with the medical facilities and better facilities for the volunteers.
All though the care of the babies was just as challenging and tiring it was more rewarding as I was able to offer the babies all the love and care as well as the practical things they needed. Being with the babies for a whole year enabled me to give the children some consistency and for me it was wonderful to be able to collect a baby from a hospital and look after it until he or she could be placed with a forever family. Although emotionally this was very hard I knew for each baby it was the best thing.
Often Thea would say that these babies were like Moses in the bible each one abandon from a poor family but adopted into a palace to be raised as prince and princesses. I love now to be in touch with those tiny babies who are being raised as Africa's princes and princesses. I hope they will one day each offer something back to their motherland maybe they will become a doctor with the cure for Aids or a politician with the power to feed the starving or maybe volunteer at TLC.
I can not wait to go back to TLC. I am never happier than when I am sat in the nursery with a very small baby on my chest singing lullaby's!