We recently spent a morning with Fei Fei, and want to share more about her work with Little Flower:
What is your job for Little Flower?
Manager of the group home project.
What kind of work does that entail?
Basically, I keep in contact with the parents and teachers of the kids in the group homes. I talk with the parents about the kids and how they’re doing, and I also talk with the teachers about how the kids are doing in school. The parents come to me when they have questions about medical care or therapy. The kids in the group homes are older, and as they grow they keep asking more questions about themselves and their past, so I try to answer them. I make sure the parents have the physical and emotional resources they need for their very tough job. I am responsible for seeing that everyone has the clothing and shoes, the wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and braces that they need for daily life etc. I also handle practical things like purchasing food in wholesale quantities (with 30 kids we go through a lot of food!) and organizing local donations of supplies and volunteers. I’m also in charge of the apartments we rent for our families and deal with repairmen and landlords when there is a problem. Because my English is good, I also act as translator when needed. I am a nurse by training, but my job responsibilities are quite varied!
How do you start a typical work day?
I come into the office in the morning and check my e-mail, replying to the more urgent messages. Then I check my to-do list for the day. Usually, I’ll have made the to-do list the day before.
How did you hear about LFP?
I heard about it from one of my teachers in college, who is a friend of Brent.
How did you start working for LFP?
I heard a lot about the orphan work from that teacher, and was so impressed by it that I volunteered in 2007. I began working here after three weeks of volunteer work.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Keeping the group homes running to LFP’s high standards, and making sure the kids get the best care possible.
What’s the most challenging part of your work?
As the kids grow up, they need more than just food and medical care. They need to be educated in school and also in how to accept themselves and enter into society. Growing up as a disabled person in China is very challenging!
What’s one good memory that stands out to you because of your work?
After I talked with the people and the managers of the housing complex where the group homes are located, the group home families started working more with the other people and making friends with them. This helps the kids get used to other people in our local community.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Henan province, which is southwest of Beijing.
A morning with Fei Fei:
On a recent morning, Fei Fei was in the office meeting with the mother of Group Home 6 and a boy who’d had a recent surgery done on his eye. It was still a bit red and sensitive, so she taped some gauze over it to protect it, showing the boy the gauze and explaining what she was doing as she carefully taped it over his eye.
After that, Fei Fei went to meet with the mom of Group Home 3 about one of her boys’ homework. Before she went over, she printed out a sheet of math formulas.
Then she went to Group Home 5 to talk with them about trying to get their front door replaced, since it was broken and the landlord wouldn’t replace it for them. There was a smaller boy in the home, named Kun, who had recently arrived. He seemed to be very close with his group home mother, and later Fei Fei said that he used to be very shy and scared of strangers, crying whenever he saw someone he didn’t know.
“He’s gotten better, though. I try to visit him every day, so he can get to know me.”
It seems that Fei Fei’s visits have had the desired effect; when she left, he blew her a kiss.