Thursday, June 3, 2010

an orphanage of sorts

Being hired to work at an orphanage, set in a large Gothic building. A school. Overcrowded classrooms, rows upon rows of children filling out CAT tests. Mix of lovely teachers, all of whom has different religious/cultural backgrounds. A vast library with ants coming through the floor.

My role somehow to fix/work the machines in the place. Asking about the ants, when the last time the floor was caulked/sealed, something like that, drawing complex diagrams. Trying to find J, who could fix anything, calling him on the phone w/ no answer, me staring at the guts of a washing machine.

Later helping w/ other duties. Piles of mail on the front stoop and an East Asian couple at the door looking for the nearest auto repair places. The orphanage has shifted to a daycare. More families come, leaving their children for the day. There are many pairs of identical twins, babies, mostly girls. In one set, one of the volunteers/teachers can't find one of the girls. I find her later, cooing, by the front door in one of her blankets. At this point carrying her sister, so I pick both up and they're sweet in my arms.

A room full of teachers/volunteers looking sad. None of the children want to come read with them. Someone suggests making it like a highschool dance, twirly sparkly globe, bad fifties music. The room fills with students and they are all learning to read.

An emergency. An illuminated manuscript, a treasure, is at risk. It has been locked in a cage, like a carnival lion's cage. Someone has been working near the manuscript, tossing stencils and dyes in its vicinity, inside in the cage. Some of the guards have been removed.

Culprit turns out to be another volunteer, a man, who has been using the stencils to pattern clothing, multi-coloured brights on black linens, he is having a fashion show. The students/teachers/all attend and I'm skeptical. I'm still holding the babies. They cry when I try to give them to someone else. Though one starts to laugh when I clap my hands and make a silly face, trying to make her smile.

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