Friday’s post contains no real words, other than these – why? we have out-of-town guests fri and most of saturday. i teach most of saturday. so ya…that is why. and this is also the close of A Day in the Life series…for now

to be honest, it takes a lot of time and energy to do these – as you have read, its always GO-GO-GO here at GH…so sitting down, taking photos off of my iphone and then typing everything after a LONG day – ya…as much as i’m thrilled to have been able to do this for you to get JUST a glimpse of what life at GH and for charity is, i’m glad i’m almost done doing the posts! haha. i mean really, i have a list as long as my arm that has GOT to be really looked at and done this week! charity needs stuff done! 😉

so thanks for reading, if you have been (hard to tell, as there weren’t many comments) and following our crazy days.. 🙂

xo tracey


here’s friday in photos:

the beginning of the day

construction on the Adoption Suite is almost complete!

charity with one of our out-of-country visitors, ryan, from cambodia

cute kids playing

monitoring the homeschooled kids

yes, he fell asleep on his trike

homeschooling rocks!

and the kitty lives on!

making important calls to important people about our important kids 🙂

2 weeks of our in-school teachers notes to go over

and arwyn ran into charity’s arms and told her she loved her. what a week!

thursday. quite honestly, i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to keep up with these daily posts – not only is life abuzz here at GH, but my own schedule is crazy with teaching at a college. so i’m fairly shocked that we are already at thursday. 😉

at 6:15 the graff kids were on just about out the door for the trek to school. the night was relatively acceptable – colin was still fevering. arwyn still didn’t want to cooperate in the drinking department, charity’s cough was so bad that it sounded like she was going to hack up her lung.

oh and her prof was reminding her about her final thesis. hehe

i asked how her pounding head was – “last i checked still attached. haven’t looked in the mirror tho for 3 days.”

and the headache, i asked?

“wait – that dull throbbing? yeah its there but tolerable”

and so thursday was well on its way…

after i had finished my powerpoint for my class that night, i headed in the truck to GH.

at 830 she was planning out the visitors stay and we started on making the new daily observation chart for the nursery’s and bedrooms of all the kids rooms down in the orphanage.

minet and charity were in discussion at the table about a baby potentially coming, from another foundation.

suddenly colin was saying over and over – hair cut, hair cut mom!

yes..he did. he cut his own hair. and ricki was about to be the next client….hehehe

colin showing charity his cut hair

at 930 we were researching prednisone dosages, organizing more files, paying more bills (it never ends, i tell ya!) and filing receipts.

the adoption suite on the 3rd floor was coming along…hopefully the shower will be done in time for our guests who were arriving later that evening. hopefully. fingers crossed.

merienda (snack time) for the little kids before they were put down for a nap. michelle, the little blind one, was so excited to eat that she did all the signs as fast as she could – more, please, thank you. we giggled. dear caleb was full-on spitting out the syrup medicine not once, not twice, but 3 times. mmmm hmmmm.

michelle and her signs

10 visa applications were filled out for the 9G extension of charity and her family.

suddenly the clammar and yelling coming from outside the kitchen window was enough to stop what we were doing and look. you see, we are on the 4th floor on the building. why on EARTH would there be soooo much noise RIGHT OUTSIDE THE WINDOW??

the grill being installed

there it was – every worker working on the building, all in strategic spots –some on the roof, others on the side and still more inside the master room whose windows face the street–hoisting with rope the grill for the window.

it was truly a sight to see AND hear – every hoist up was loud and dramatic and yelling and grunting. we were giggling so much. even colin and ricki were TOTALLY into watching this action!

this, folks, is what reality TV shows are made of, i tell ya.

ricki helping michelle walk to the table

more trying to convince arwyn to drink – the plus is her fevering is very minimal now – thank you lord.

checking over R’s eye doctor letter for his papers to be completed so he and his little brother could meet their forever family soon…P1000 for a little letter! wow!!

looking over the doctors letter

at 1045, the kids were napping and charity looks at me and says – my thesis is due today………..and we start laughing. and then she starts hacking cuz of her cough. i thought for sure i was going to have to sweep up bits of her lungs off the floor

finally at 11am she did a self-check of her lungs and asked me to then hear. i glad stuck the stethoscope into my ears and listened. ok, ya, uh huh. i move to the other lung. yep, hear it, ok, ya.

and she says, and????

i start laughing. as in LAUGHING. and in between tears, i say, “well i actually dont have a clue what i’m listening for, but that was fun!”

and she almost pukes out her lungs from laughing so hard. 🙂

laughing is good i tell ya. hehe

maybe you have pneumonia, i say. the look i got shot was awesome.

elijah had his gauze changed – his arm was healing well – but boy is it gonna hurt to get those staples out next week.

elijah’s arm healing great

at 1130 she had looked over the xrays of all our new kids. every single one of them has TB. oh dear. and the meds are not cheap. but what do you do? we are all these kids have.

charity talking with michelle…so sweet

charity then orders their meds, while working on her paper.

the rest of the kids are fast asleep for naps after being fed lunch by 1230pm except for the little 9mth old who is skooching on his bottom from place to place, smiling and talking to himself. very cute.

at 1pm charity goes to the main office for a social workers meeting and i head out to fetch kids and get ready for my class.

i dont hear from her for almost 3 hours.

i text and ask, what have you been doing for the last 3 hours?

and i laugh at loud when i read:

what have i been doing. seriously?????? i dont know – i haven’t sat down since you left.

i tell her that will work for the update. 🙂

at 4pm she has cleared off her dining room table which has been her office, so our guests can sit without peering over piles of info and data of her thesis and case studies and children’s files.

i told her i was so shocked that i just rear-ended the guy in front of me by looking at the photo.


“no, not really. but that would have been funny for today’s update no?

as i get ready to start teaching i get another text that the workers were not able to finish the adoption suite room in time for our guests. so charity was scurrying around making the conference room fitting for our guests to stay.

not a really crazy thursday..but just another day in the life of an orphanage director. 🙂


wednesday – “hump” day, as they call it in the west. the middle of the week. halfway to the weekend.

ya.. anyhow. 🙂

the day started with goodbyes to brittany, a young lady who has been here at GH for 3 years…bittersweet, she and jordan headed to the airport for a very early flight she was taking..with her 9 pieces of luggage!

jordan, i guess, got turned around and after 3 hours, finally made it back to GH. when i asked her about her awesome lostness, her reply: epic. 🙂

having a good attitude when you are living cross-culturally is vital. 🙂

Picture 41

Brittany & Jordan

when i first talked with charity this morning just before 7, she had been awake from 12 to 3am with a wicked headache. elijah was knocked out still from his meds to get him to sleep painlessly thru the night.

but right at the top of the list – there was no coffee in the house.

stop. everything. 🙂

charity had been alternating through the night, working on a case study and her manual, and was currently feeding, bathing and changing children to start their day.

by 730 meds had been administered, neubulizing had been done and dear little colin was still very, very sick. elijah had been checked again to make sure he was still breathing (he was!) and she was just changing to go and have several meetings with her social workers all morning in the downstairs office.

oh, and the kitty? she was feeding him/her too.

being under the weather was ANNOYING to say the least for charity, who, well…had a few things to get done.

after the social worker meetings, it was time to head to ICAB – international children’s adoption board – to read a potential adoptive family’s file.

when she arrived home she started colin on meds, worked on some more case studies, changed elijah’s bandages, monitored little caleb’s seizures due to very high temps, was finally able to withdraw money from the wire that came thru to pay bills, had another battle with little miss who doesn’t want to drink, updated 63 folders and has 22 kids on antibiotics to kill this nasty “bug”.

tired yet? ya well it’s only 4pm.

by 446pm, 3 kids had their hairs cut, and make that 24 kids on antibiotics now.

another round of “fight to drink water” had commenced…well of course, it was just before dinner – the arsenic hour!

6pm rolled around and meds were given to who needed them. and vomiting children. more than one. GAG…. and i quote that GAG. 😉

“i need to work on my paper………..huhuhuhu”  yes…THE paper…

at 645pm, after dinner had been served, baths taken and children put to sleep, thoughts about the night were already on charity’s mind.

“it’s gonna be a long hard nyt. colin’s fever wont come down. going to take him in for blood tests tomorrow if we dont have a breakthrough tonight. he’s the only one still really fevering..the rest its on and off, mostly off now”

that’s your cue to pray specifically for colin.. 🙂

7pm and we were talking about what we were going to do with our visitors coming for fri and saturday.

“that paper…gotta work on that paper………..” but there is too much other stuff to do.

because i actually wasnt aware EXACTLY what “the other stuff was”, i carefully asked.

“um laundry of course. and groceries. and finding SJ’s overdue missing library books. and singing eensy weensy spider with michelle”.

right, right… my heart melted at the singing with sweet, frail michelle.

at 8pm i got the “nyt” text. followed by “kitty is snuggling me and purring”.




ps – sorry friends – the internet is very slow tonight and am not able to add the photos to this post. perhaps i will be able to tomorrow. this is not abnormal. 😉 so be thankin’ the lord for your cable zippity zipp internet connections right now! hahah

you know it can’t be good when you get a text at 5am saying “…i fevered and coughed the entire night and feel like hammered poo”. my poor sisterinlaw..


after she had gotten her kids off to school, fed the littles breakfast, she someone come up from downstairs and watch them while she napped, to try and get some form of sleep.


when i arrived at 845, laundry was in full swing, and there she was just putting new dressing on elijah’s pretty amazing looking stapled arm. 18 staples to be exact.


putting on new dressing


the staples – all 18


it was a slow going morning…it was clear this “sick thing” was really taking a toll on everyone, including charity.


before 10am, charity and i went down to see the progress on the Adoption Suite – coming right along. it’s amazing what they do with so very few tools like we have in the west. i decided a quick video of this ordeal would be fitting.


the suite wouldn’t be done for our guests coming from cambodia at the end of the week..but the CR (comfort room = bathroom) looks like it might be – yes! 🙂


we then got into talking about the design for the medical wing on the 3rd floor of the old building, as well, the 3rd floor plans of the old, but currently-being-renovated building. with a nurse coming from australia by the end of april/beginning of may, there was a lot to get done for this medical wing – so we mapped out where her office and sitting/waiting room would be, where the lab was going to be, the xray room and the 2 isolation rooms and general check up area. exciting to finally see the pieces coming together for this amazing project!


the on-going progress of the adoption suite


then we went upstairs to the 3rd floor where it had been/is being renovated, and planned out where the girls program will be, where the shortterm/longterm missionaries will be, and where the weekday stay-over-night GH workers will be.


it was all coming together! what a profitable 45 minutes!


back upstairs we went and charity continued with paperwork – letters written and travel clearances cleared, case studies finished, and the administration of medicine given to dear sweet arwyn – today she didn’t throw the cup of water on charity..hehehe.


at 1130 charity was looking through playground equipment for the 1st floor outdoor garden while nursing the pounding headache that had seemingly made itself at home in her poor head.


meds – in the pharmacy – grey cabinet – left side – 2nd drawer. 🙂


it was almost noon and the kids were fed and now sleeping – lots of sleeping when you have a bunch of under the weather kiddies. laundry was being assessed and continued to be done, with a fuzzy head.


then judileth, the supervisor from downstairs, came up and they were going thru the sick children’s daily charts and the doctors reports of some of the children that were sent over to Doc over at the hospital we use just down the road earlier.



 charity and judileth going over charts and doctors reports


jordan had just returneed from taking about 8 kids to the doctor that morning, got her next instructions and was off with one of the GH staff to the american eye clinic in makati to get their eyes check as it appeared they were going blind. she also took one of our new girls, 11 years old, as she was blind as well. if you’re counting that’s 3 blind girls we have in a month – do you see a trend here? 🙂


charity and i discuss whether getting a yaya or a full time special ed teacher would be far more beneficial for these beautiful blind girls. little rika, who we found a month ago – she has glasses and can see as far as 2 feet in front of her – progress!!!


back to the day in the life…rabbit trail there…hehehe.


the wire transfer from the west hadn’t come thru as scheduled and little things are being needed to be

bought – so there is charity finding bits here and there, saying graciously, sorry – the wire hasn’t comd thru i hope this will be ok! oh if only the luxury of home was just like that here…no worries – you roll with it. 🙂


one of the sick littles playing quietly 🙂


at 2pm i head out for makati – i am teaching my first photography course at a college and have a bunch of running to do before it starts.


for the next 2 hours it looks something like this at GH:


– a wee battle with arwyn 🙂

– Elijah knocked out with painkillers for his arm

– one of the babies not feeling well, puked everywhere – as in EVERYWHERE.

– charity’s fever, which had left for a while, was back

-one of her last assignments for her masters program was started

-michelle, the other blind girl who is 6 yrs old was found 3rd degree malnourished and weighing only 8 kilos on intake, has been recovering nicely in the 2 weeks we have had her – she’s now 10.2 kilos and is signing please, more, thank you. today she said “nana” when charity asked her if she wanted a banana….exciting!


i checked in just before my class starts and the lone kitty that she was keeping alive? ya…it starting sucking from the dropper – no more force feeding – SUCCESS! 🙂




“got inspired to write my paper. you have to read it and edit it.


lost my phone.




elijah finally woke up.


did major lice treatment in sj’s hair.


nebulized arwyn and caleb.


said goodbye to brittany….


did 3 more loads of laundry.


feeling much better tonight than i did last night.”





when I was done my class, i looked at my phone and at 9pm was my last text from charity – going to sleep.


here we thought tuesday was going be quiet. at least it wasn’t crazy busy! 🙂


see you tomoro!



monday – where is thy sting?

i texted charity at 5am to make sure she was awake – i usually dont have to do that – she is awake at 4am most days. but going to bed feeling under the weather -bones hurting, fighting off this “epidemic” that the children downstairs are fighting–and having to be up early to take her son Elijah to the hospital for 630 – wanted to make sure.

i text. no reply.

odd, i think.

i call. after almost 10 rings it hangs up. she is now up. and i get a text:

“thank u. sleepless night w fevers…not a good night.”

ay yes, there is your sting, dear monday.

with a slight panic that sarah joy forgot her backpack at home (her and merry faye stayed at our place, as to make going to school this morning a little easier for charity who was taking elijah to the hospital) but after some conversation with SJ that she indeed left her backpack at home but DID remember her uniform, monday was well on its way.

by 630am charity and elijah were at the hospital checking in. albeit a simple procedure, still quite stressful for your child to “go under the knife” if you will.


Elijah pre-op

the metal plate and screws they removed, that were inserted 2 years ago after his arm was shattered in a “bouncy house” accident 🙂

after an hour+ in surgery, elijah is just starting to wake up. she says they had to chisel out the screws where the metal plate was in his bone – the bone had overgrown both ends of the plate. poor guy – that’s going to hurt later. 🙁

wait – another text – the anesthesiologist just told charity she sedated elijah – he was ripping out the oxygen and pulling his blankets off. smart move.

it’s now 10am. yes – we can cross “elijah’s surgery” off our one list. 😉

by 1130 they are home and the boy is fast asleep and life at the orphanage for charity continues.

this weeks schedule – a despidita (going away), immunizations for all the kids, guests from cambodia for 2 days, grad photos taken (yes you heard right – charity just finished her masters in social work!), along with every other thing under the sun that normally takes place.

the construction workers are organized and have continued working on the Adoption Suite on the 3rd floor (where families who are picking up their children can stay), the nurse visiting is doing the weight and height of all the kids, jordan has orders and is on her way to the optometrist with one of our kids,  and elijah’s medication for the week are ordered.


construction going on in the Adoption Suite

travel clearance is followed up with one of the foster family’s traveling abroad, and a case study of a sibling group is finished. oh, and one of the two little wee kittens has died and is being buried.

the other kitten? perhaps didn’t make it too…headache is still reminding her that its there. i tell her, in jest, where she can find headache pills – 2nd drawer of the grey plastic shelves in the pharmacy.

she giggles.

its just after 12:00noon.

the afternoon begins. kids have already been fed and are waking from their naps. elijah is still sleeping – lets not panic though – they gave him strong painkillers – he’ll need them. poor guy.

lunch despidita is planned. tiles for the floor have been bought. another little one has “the epidemic” sickness and is put on meds. two kids have been sent for chest xrays.

its 230pm now.

by 3pm she has visited with an australian friend/visitor, dealt with an issue with a child no longer at GHI, gave Elijah his pain meds, dealing with another little ones high fever. and fed the surviving kitten.

the kitty is surviving? well one out of two ain’t bad, i say.

and charity replies – i revived him earlier today by rubbing him – did i forget to mention that?


the little one – arwyn – who has a high fever – is being less than cooperative with getting liquids down, so charity is having to be stubborn in getting her to drink.

arwyn wasn’t into it though – she dumped the whole cup on her.

i had to laugh. really…what else do you do? 🙂

so just before 4pm, they had drank another cup, little caleb was in the crying chair, colin’s fever was up again, jordan was getting photos printed for the bulletin boards, elijah had been fed and given ice for his arm, princess was buying apples for snack and eye appointments had been made for two downstairs

did i mention it was 4pm?

“i need a cup of coffee – maybe that’s why i have a headache” she says.

ya think!?!? 🙂

oh and she had done a load of laundry.

i said to her, what? only ONE load? what on EARTH have you been doing today?

chuckle… 🙂

at 430pm she was teaching princess how to make pasta as princess has been bugging her to teach her how to cook. by 510pm, supper (pasta with zuchinni and vegetables, oh ya!) had been cooked, babies had been fed and bathtime had commenced along with the evening rituals that lead to bedtime.

white laundry had been scrubbed, 3 babies all tucked in, ricki and colin tearing around the place, thanks to paracetemol. someone was fetching lunch stuff for tomorrow. and we wonder why she is in bed by 8?


ricki tearing around in the car

and just after 8 i am texted “nyt”.

hopefully tonight’s sleep will be better for her than last. 🙂


When i walked into GHI, it was already abuzz:

down below on the first floor the tables and chairs and tents were being set up as a volunteer medical group from UST (University of San Tomas) was coming to do health check-ups and dental checkups. Good timing – the day before an epidemic of fevers and headaches broke out amongst the children to make us all quite concerned and on our knees praying.

there was also one school aged girl puking in the bathroom as charity went from nose to nose wiping the snot as so it doesn’t leave trails everywhere.

there lay little colin on a chair, fevering while watching CARS and asking for coffee. lol. (dont worry – he wasn’t given coffee!)

Picture 28

it was only 7:45am.

as we waited for the medical team arrived, life continued to march on.

charity at the table, for short spurts, working on revisions for her thesis she presented for her masters in social work, the day before (didnt you know that this is what one does? gets their masters while running an orphange and being mom and wife. ).

oh! elijah has surgery on his arm tomorrrow morning – lets not forget that… laundry is being washed, hung and folded, scheduled medicines are being given, babies are being fed, toddlers being bathed, while others being put down for naps.

it’s now 9:30am. i head downstairs to the medical mission that is about to start.

after seeing all of our sick children, and doing dental check ups on every last one of our kids (that’s about 60 i believe), the team graciously donates medicines and bottles and other wonderful things we can use at the orphanage. we thank them and prayers are said and it’s 12noon.

Picture 27

back upstairs where charity has watch duty over the littles and her own kids helping as well, more laundry is being done, kids are finishing lunch and going down for naps, this may be the only “not as crazy” time of the day.

i left around 1245pm…when i got home charity said that the kids were ALL sleeping and that she was scurrying around doing laundry and everything else under the sun til they woke up.

It is sunday…a LESS crazy day than most, thank the lord. well today anyhow.

the last i heard 30 mins ago, or just after 9pm, charity was not feeling well and was going to bed.

the week ahead is a very busy one – her son going in for surgery early tomorrow morning, visitors coming at the end of the week. and everything else that these A DAY IN THE LIFE ENTRIES will feature.

goodnight and until tomorrow

we have joked about it several times, charity and i…if we actually kept a running list of EVERYTHING that goes on every day at Gentle Hands, people would NOT believe. like really…you would shake your head.

so after getting the green light from charity, for the next week, i am going to do just that. for our friends near and far; to see what actually goes on at “that orphanage over in Quezon City, Philippines.”

join me tomorrow as we begin the journey of “A day in the life” of an orphanage director.

~tracey, the sisterinlaw, the media/public relations person at GH, and the list-maker and first-hand watcher of charity’s life

Picture 22

one of the two little kittens, just days old, that were found

outside GH…charity has been up during the night drop-feeding

them, in hopes they will survive.