Friday, December 7, 2007

First Visit to Casa Damasco

Yesterday I met with some people that do some work at Casa Damasco (link on the left of the page) a wonderful couple from Canada, Bobby and Frank and another lady whose name I’ve forgotten and a local lady named Mariana. I had wanted to get my hands dirty while I was here and this seems like just the place, it is beyond dirty and so are the people. It is a drop in and drop off place for the people that have no where to go. Hospitals will drop patients off that are ready to be discharged but have no one to pick them up, police will drop off people that they don’t know what to do with. All of these people have some type of mental or physical disability and they all require constant care and attention. Today there were 11 people, 10 of which are permanent residents. They were all men except for 2 ladies, there is one teensy tiny little old lady that is 94 years old and is such a sweet heart, she grabbed me (has a good grip too) and covered me in kisses. I will usually back away from this type of affection but I had no choice, I’ll get used to it I’m sure. I’m not totally sure what her story is or why she’s there. The other lady is younger, hard to guess how old but I’d put her in her 40s. I’m told she is bipolar and schizophrenia, she sits by the door all the time with all her belongings packed, which mostly consists of crushed empty milk cartons that I have no idea what she plans on doing with. She wears a big black winter coat and long pants, apparently she does not make sense when she talks (not that I would notice....I don’t make sense either) She won’t let anyone touch her and will not move from her seat by the door. Just before we left she had a screaming fit and was talking very passionately about something, I asked Mariana what she was saying but she just hung her head and said “it’s just all very very bad things”. How can I help these people if I can’t even understand them? I can see this will be very frustrating for me. The rest are all men with various disabilities, a few that are deaf and mute, one missing a leg, another that had such a horrible infection that he may yet loose a leg, a few that just don’t comprehend or understand anything at all, they just sit in the same chairs day after day waiting for someone to bring them their meal and walk them to their cot at the end of the day. They have to be taken care of like small children. Makes me wonder if I will be in that condition some day, and if so, how would I want to be treated? What would make my long days more bearable? Do they have expectations even though their minds aren’t functioning?
I was told to just acknowledge them all, introduce myself and to touch them, these are people that no one wants to touch and they know that. Once they get to know me and trust me I can perhaps interact more with them.
We helped with lunch and served them their meal and cleaned up after wards. They have a wonderful couple that live there and have dedicated their life to take care of these people they must have come straight from heaven, they are giving and doing whatever they can but the whole place is filthy dirty and I feel that it doesn’t need to be that way. I would love to have the freedom in that house to scrub it down but I’m afraid they would be insulted by that. The dishrag that I attempted to wash the dishes with was so slimy it kept slipping out of my hand and it smelled very sour, could I at least bring new dishcloths I wonder? Or, could I offer to take theirs home to wash it (they have no hot water) and then loose it along the way somewhere. I think that’s the plan.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Wow. That's wild. I am glad you posted... I have been waiting to hear about Casa Damasco. I am sure you'll find a way to get a new dishcloth and more!