They arrive at exactly 7pm or 7am to begin their 12 hour shifts. They have 3 children under the age of 5 to feed, change, bathe, and love nonstop…but most of them have families and responsibilities at home as well. They are the Ayis of Maria’s House. Ayi is the Chinese word for nanny…but these spectacular women are so much more. Many of their children here at Maria’s call them ‘mama’. And why shouldn’t they? These women are the only mothers some of them have ever known. Everyday, I watch them and I am constantly amazed by their dedication, hardwork and undeniable maternal love. There are about 12 children in each room. There are 4 ayis in the room at a time working 12 hour shifts. There are 2 sets of night shift nurses and 2 sets of day shift nurses, so each child has 4 ayis and each ayi has 3 children. It is evident how each of the ayis takes ownership and pride of their children. I have watched them rock them to sleep, hush their cries and shed tears over them while they are recovering from surgery. These women have it down to a science. I can’t imagine juddling 3 children under the age of 5 all at once, while knowing that you are constantly being monitored to ensure that the special angels at Marias are receiving the BEST care. As soon as there is a wet diaper, it is changed. As soon as there is a runny nose, it is wiped. It is amazing. These ayis not only work as nannies, but so often serve as nurses. They take temperatures of every child as soon as their shift begins. They administer meds and know when to alert the nurses or doctor of any abnormal issues. The children are on a more regimented schedule than any I have ever seen. They know when it is time to eat, sleep, nap and play. I thank God for these women and the stability, love and care that they give these precious little ones. Please pray for the ayis at Maria’s House today. They never call in sick…and that’s what makes them so much like ‘moms’!!
Love from China!