The orphans in Mahanga need new mattresses. One African mattress lasts for a pretty short time and its not because of improper use – even in Africa its true that children are the most well-behaved when sleeping. At least they deserve to sleep on soft beds. The surface on which they sleep now is barely a mattress – the soft foam wears down quickly and now they can feel the wooden base.
How much can an African mattress carry, and for how long? We have experienced it first-hand: for a Europan well-fed volunteer it takes about 7 to 14 days for the mattress to get worn down. Fortunately, for a Mahanga orphan it takes something between 2 and 3 years. However, after 3 years of use the mattress no longer looks like one. The soft foam gets compressed to a very thin layer and from then on the children basically sleep on the hard wooden surface.
New orphans who have joined us about one year ago and the smallest children thankfully still have their mattresses with the foam mainly intact. However, the smaller ones sometimes wet the bed, which is – of course – not great for the bed. We are trying to raise money for all children because it might take a long time and by then even these beds might be too old to be of good use.