It is about time for an update! We have been busy with everyday routine around here. We now officially have 40 children in the program. We expect to add at least one new baby any day now. We are licensed to be at 40 children, but have the flexibility of going 10% above that number, so we could be at 44, if we feel we are able to do so. For this new baby coming in, it is quite evident that we need to have her with us. The mom needs the extra support and guidance in caring for her and her family. The baby is about 7 pounds and 3 months old. We will know more once she is in our program.
It is such a pleasure to see the way the center is running so well. The systems are pretty well in place on our daily routine. And now, with consistent running water—oh my, what a difference that makes! The baby room has now been switched with the 1 year old room so they can have their own bathroom in their room. Those babies need more baths than the other kids! Little changes have been made. I have even gotten over my mentality that clothes need to be put on that match the gender of the child that wears them each day! If you have never been to Ethiopia, let me share with you, that it does not make a difference if a boy is wearing pink, or a girl is wearing a boy shirt. This use to drive me a little crazy, but now I could care less, since I know who is who and as long as they are clean! I use to arrange all the outfits every afternoon for the next morning for the children, and now the caregivers do that. This is always our intention, mind you. That nothing is totally dependent on us, or any one person. The center should run well even when some people may be missing. Working as a team reinforces this thinking.
Last time we wrote, we were anticipating a small team from Texas to come and teach the women handicrafts. Well, they did come for 3 days as well as some additional days by a couple of them that were here, to teach more! The number of women that were trained wound up being 32! It was great fun that they could all be here, in community with one another, but also to receive the training. We now officially have so many beautiful necklaces, bracelets, cross ornament (or just home décor) and cloth gift bags. We would love for anybody interested in these items, to please contact us, so we can get them to you! Our ladies in Texas have some and soon Christ Church will also have some! If you are traveling here, please feel free to visit us to take some home with you! All of the money goes for the women to compensate their current jobs.
Today we the women had training on nutrition, hygiene and HIV. It was presented by a friend from the states (Wisconsin even!) that is a nurse. The more education we can pump into them, the better. There are so many misunderstandings and myths here, we want to make sure that our women are getting true, accurate information, so they can provide the best for their families. The process to apply to get into this program included a home visit, so we could assess their living situation. We are now starting to do home visits and take pictures, so we can see improvements, or be able to show them if improvements need to be made. Most of the families live in small structures that have dirt floors, mud walls and tin roofs. Even though this may sound not livable to many of us that have not grown up like this, this is life here, for these families. There is still a way that they can keep their home and things clean. That is part of why we are here. We will help the ones that need it—to show them the importance of keeping their clothing and bedding clean, and food preparation so they can have the most hygienic homes possible for their family. Slowly, we hope that they will feel good about their progress, and this will be able to be seen through our pictures we will share with them. Even now when I view the sponsor pictures of the families when they first arrived (not that long ago!), they have changed so much!! They just look healthier, there are less sick kids, and some are looking cleaner. But we still have a ways to go on educating the families. We know it will not change overnight.
We are so excited to be able to share with each of the donors that have already sponsored children. It is like sharing about my own kids, for the ones that I know better! I invite you to have one of these families touch your family, the way I know it has for so many. Any way that you can be a part of it, would be appreciated. You can share with others, donate items, money or sponsor a family. You can always email us directly with any questions, or look at the website for updated needs.
As long as we are talking about support and money…which is not my favorite subject…we REALLY need donations and sponsors! There is nothing more humbling and setting you up to be leaning more on God’s plan then making you a bit nervous that the funds are not flowing in as we anticipated. I am positive God has a plan. But it is difficult to understand why all of the sponsorship slots were not taken right away! These families are beyond precious. If you were here, and you could meet them, look into their eyes, see not only the children that we are blessed with each day, but also meet their families—you would not hesitate to share what we are doing here. I really look at each of these families as my own. What if I were born into the poverty and other circumstances they were? What would I do to better provide for my child? Would I not be so thankful for a ministry to step in beside us and help? We never want people to donate funds out of guilt. So this is not what my intention in sharing this with you, but sometimes it takes putting ourselves in somebody else’s position, to think about things a bit differently. We want you to donate because you feel led to, because you believe these families will be better off because of this ministry.
Without support, we cannot do what we are doing. We understand, maybe you are not in the position to give right now, but you can share with others, in conversation over coffee, via email, Facebook—whatever your means of communication may be. Or maybe you could throw together a group and sponsor a family together. Do you know somebody traveling to Ethiopia? Encourage them to visit us here so they can see our center. Give them donations to bring along for us. There are endless ways you can support this ministry.
Many blessings to all of you as you are busy preparing for holidays, days off work and school and spending time with friends and families. For some, it may be a time of remembering a loved one that is no longer with you. Regardless of what your situation you may be in currently, know that you are blessing to our ministry by simply reading and keeping us in your prayers. It takes a village…on both sides of the ocean!