13 MarDear Diary…
As the isolation lockdown continues in the Butterfly Home and Butterfly Wing because of the Coronavirus outbreak, things have been very different in the last two months. There have been no visitors or volunteers to the home and only essential staff are allowed to work in the home, that is ayis, 2 nurses and 2 housekeepers. So other staff are staying at home in isolation and our admin team are working from home. Due to the restrictions on staff changing over, some ayis have been in the Butterfly Home for over 35 days now. Their spirit remains positive and their commitment and dedication to the children is inspiring.
Our nurses have been keeping diaries to document their days and here we share some of their entries from last month:
1st / Feb / 2020. Nurse: Jasmine
“In just one week from the middle of January to the present, it has been like another generation. Because the epidemic situation is getting increasingly serious, we have been notified that the Butterfly Home will enter a closed management state from today, and I am one of the staff on duty during the first phase of the closure period. I am the youngest nurse in Butterfly, not married and have no significant family commitments. Dragging a large suitcase on my way to work – starting this unknown closed life, feeling uneasy. On the way to work, I felt that the whole city was sick, and there were very few passengers on the subway. Everyone kept their distance and the atmosphere was depressing.
For 10 consecutive days, we worked together 19 ayis and 2 nurses caring for 20 children, 24 hours a day. The attitude remained positive and we were encouraging each other not to worry. Silently though, we were thinking over all possible problems, can we cope? When will this end? Social media was filled with concerned messages and a general panic! Suddenly the hot topic on Weibo (Chinese social media site): “who do you most want to see most?” After thinking about it, I was very happy. Amongst the haze, I realised this was where I wanted to be, caring for these little butterflies. My anxiety has dropped a lot. The ayis are working as passionately as they always do. Our greetings have changed from ‘good morning’ to cheers of ‘you stay here too, we will fight together’. Aside from our normal nursing duties, we have to do additional tasks as the administrative staff are working from home including daily temperature registration of children and employees and stock takes of essential supplies. I get up again, say good morning to the children and start preparing for our fight against the “epidemic”, together with our little butterflies.”
5th / Feb / 2020. Nurse: Wendy
“The epidemic situation is getting worse and worse. The Butterfly Home is going to remain closed. We who are on duty in the home will go to work during the daytime as usual. At night, we are faced with a real question – where are the 19 aunts and 2 nurses resting? The Butterfly Home has limited space. The nurse has a small bedroom, and the night shift aunt stays in the children’s room to observe the children at night time. As the staff need to stay in the home for 24 hours, we need to come up with creative sleeping arrangements. Our little butterflies have very generously contributed their activity and play rooms to their loving ayis who have worked hard to care for them. The ayis are sleeping on the floors, trying to get some rest before taking over the care of the children in the morning again. Although the place is crowded, the atmosphere is warm and lively. The day of work was filled with enthusiasm and as the night came to an end, everyone rested beginning to build energy for tomorrow. We all know that there we are not heroes, merely just ordinary people trying to persist. There will always be difficulties, but we will work together to overcome the troubles.”
8th / Feb / 2020. Nurse: Jasmine
“In the past few days on duty in the home, everyone has not slept well. The floor mats in the play room are too hard. We have to come up with alternatives, using blankets and pillows to make things more comfortable. After the first night of our new sleeping arrangements, the ayis wake full of vitality and encouragement again, on shown on the first day. After the night shift, the ayis take over the take care of the children, feeding, bathing and playing with them, while the other set of ayis sleep. Every ayi is working hard together and cheering each other on. This spirit of teamwork has moved me, and I think this is the source of motivation that encourages me to keep fighting.”
10th / Feb / 2020. Nurse: Lily
“Today is the last day of the first phase of the closed management of the home. Some of the staff will be replaced and others will need to remain. The moment I handed over to my co-worker, it seemed like I was temporarily relieved of the burden on my shoulders, but I felt more perseverance. I spent 10 of the most meaningful and fulfilling days in my life with my nursing team and the children in the Butterfly Home.
In the past 10 days, although the conditions were difficult, and eating and living were not good, everyone did not complain and was no one was critically ill. There was an ayi who was unwell, but did not quit, and still said she could persist. I remember when I asked an ayi once, if the epidemic is long, do you still want to stay? All the ayis said that they would stay together. Without grandiose words, they were willing to take up this responsibility together. Touched by their sense of responsibility and mission, they are willing to guard the little butterflies during this special period and let everyone spend it safely. We understand at this difficult time, the importance of safe and smooth handovers between staff, with the mutual understanding of the children’s welfare at the forefront of all actions. I hope that the colleagues who will be attending the Butterfly Home in the next stage will stay well! Jia You”
We are inspired and privileged to see this positivity, strength and courage shown by our team working in the home. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Stay tuned for another set of diary entries coming soon. As this COVID-19 virus continues to spread, we hope you and your loved ones remain well.