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Workers


        Kasisi has about 40 workers, all of whom receive less than the equivalent of US$1 per day. There are workers to do the laundry, hspace=10 align=middle> gardeners, a cook for the children, a part time cook for the sisters, and workers to care for the children. The workers live and work at the orphanage around the clock, so the job is truly "full time," in all senses of the phrase. Most of the workers live in separate quarters by the side of the playground in the back and some take turns sleeping with the children. They also take turns doing the night feedings for the babies. Those that work with the pre-schoolers and school-aged children children, however, live and sleep with the orphans permanently. Every day, the workers take turns going out into the bush to collect firewood, which they carry back, to feed the wood-burning fire that must burn 24 hours a day.

        Most of the workers are younger women who are not married, so they do not have families of their own. Those that do send money home to their families. The age of the workers ranges from young to old. Charity, for example, is a former orphan who stayed at Kasisi as a worker, mainly to take care of Nellie, a young orphan who is mentally handicapped due to meningitis and needs full-time supervision. Cecilia, on the other hand, is much older than Charity. She is an older woman who lives with the street boys and participates as a mother-figure for them.

        The workers get 3 days off per month-- total. The three days they take off must be consecutive. So, the workers work 7 days a week with 3 days off per month. Most workers go home during this time to visit relatives or friends, or go shopping in the capital city, Lusaka.

        The children call the workers "mommy". The workers know the children as if they were their own. They take care of them, braid their hair, love them and punish them. Sister Mariola tries to keep the children in small groups with the workers so as to cultivate a familial atmosphere. The problem, however, is that Kasisi has trouble paying the workers they have, let alone bringing any more to Kasisi.

        The sisters at Kasisi Orphanage are of the Polish order of the Little Servants of Mary. The nuns at Kasisi serve a lifetime committment at the orphanage. The sisters have a close community that eats every meal together and prays several times together daily. Each of the nuns is in charge of a certain segment of the orphanage. Sister Faustina, for example, is in charge of the pre-school aged children and the garden. Sister Joanna is in charge of the babies and she drives the van into town everyday to run errands and take Nellie, the orphan with meningitis, to a special government school. SIster Christine is in charge of the school-aged children, and Sister Mariola is the head of the orphanage. Sister Mariola, as the energetic director, bears responsibility for all the finances of Kasisi.

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