LIFE AT CYRIL ROSS
The children's day begins at
6:30 a.m. when they are roused from sleep by the attendants
whom the children refer to as "mummy" or "auntie". This
is in keeping with the desire to provide a family type
environment for these young charges. Prayer soon follows
and staff and children kneel and pray as a family.
at 7:30 is served with the help of older children after
which it is time to get ready for school at 9:00 a.m.
which last three hours, after which it is time for
lunch at noon . Evenings are free between lunch and supper
and may be spent outside. Friday nights are eagerly
anticipated at Cyril Ross.
This is the night they are allowed
to stay up a little longer, watch TV and feast on popcorn
or some other snack. Visits to the nearby Constantine
Park or Auzonville Park are also special as these
offer the children wide open spaces to tumble and play.
There is also the occasional excursion including the beach.
The prospect of an early and
painful death has not diminished the children's zest
for living. In the sounds of their laughter and cries
at play, one hears all the music of a happy home. But
what marks these children, despite their horrendous beginnings
is their extraordinary innocence.
The most ordinary experiences
become occasions of discovery. John tells the story
of when the children felt rain. Says John "I ran out one rainy day, to talk to someone at the
gate and left the front door open. Then I heard laughing
and clapping behind me."
She turned around to discover
that the children had followed her and were now dancing
about in the rain which surprisingly, they were experiencing
for the first time. Part of the strategy at Cyril Ross
therefore aims at constantly exposing the children
to new experiences.
This lack of exposure has also marked
them in other ways. The two oldest children who spent
most of their years in a hospital ward, today find difficulty
expressing themselves. Deprived of much needed interaction
with adults, their language and communication skills
are now underdeveloped. Unfortunately, this is just one
of the many deprivations the children have had to endure.