Oh wow! What a day! We started today by going to Kidane Mihrat. This is a private orphanage run by a Malta nun. We got to see all the rooms with the children in and got to spend time holding them and hanging out. We dropped off some supplies along with a much loved soccer ball. It was awesome to see all the smiling faces along with such dedicated workers on a mission to help these children.
The next place we went to was Kebebe Tshai. This is a government run orphanage. We were only allowed to enter with four people along with our guide. The only reason we were even allowed in was because of our guide's relationship with the orphanage through his own volunteering. This orphanage was drastically different from the public run orphanage. It had a horrible smell to it but the children were so happy to see us! They met us with eager arms. They had very full diapers because they are only allowed 2 diapers a day no matter what! This was very hard for me to see as a mother. We also got to see the school aged children and handed slap bracelets out to them. They were very excited! We also got to see the children in the special needs room. The children in this room had a number of disabilities but many gave us huge smiles! We also left some much needed donations behind.
Finally we braved the Ethiopian streets along with the exhaust from the traffic to visit Bring Love In. The founder, Levi, of this program met us at the gate to give us a tour. He introduced us to all the people that help him run his organization. He explained that he runs two programs. One program is called Forever Families. In this program, two women who are usually widows are paired up with children from the government orphanage to create just that, a Forever Family. This family is then supported and the children go to school. Then also have a sponsorship program were they sponsor over 300 families in the community so that they can remain a family even through financial burden. We got to hang out with the kids when they came home from school. We played thumb war and some other hand clapping games. The kids laughed when we couldn't keep up with them. It was a blast!
This was a very full day but it was awesome to be able to see the similarities and differences between these three programs. All though they were very different, we saw a lot of beautiful faces along with a lot of people that care. I see God working through people such as the Malta nun, our guide, and all the care workers. God has definitely put it in their heart that it is their place....their passion to love and care for these children.
Thanks for sharing our day & all your prayers!
(along with Carrie, Jen, Carol, Debbie, Jeanine, Bill, & Rick)