Strong Hearts Family Care Center
October 2014 Update
We have been back for about 2 months now, since leaving Addis for a couple months this summer. The center looked great when we came back! We have great confidence in the staff here, but it is hard to not play the “what if” game in your head when you can’t see things in person! But it was pretty much a “pop in” visit immediately when we got back in the country, to see everybody at the center. It was awesome! We really missed everybody. The hugs and kisses received from everybody wiped away all evidence of being exhausted from the long trip back
We had minimal medical issues when we were gone, but a pretty serious one. The little one Elsabet (who has Down’s Syndrome) was in the hospital a couple times while we were absent. Things often get a bit lost in translation, but from what I understand, she also has TB of the spine like another little one here, Brihanu. She is doing well now, on medicine, and has been fine ever since. All the other kids are great and healthy!
We were happy to be able to bring most of the supplies that were collected back in the states. Anything that did not fit in our luggage (even went 2 bags over and they didn’t charge us!) will come over with the team in March. The staff were so thrilled with new scrubs (their uniform) we brought! Please keep that in mind, medical people—save the scrubs that you don’t like anymore but are still in good condition! We can use them! The kids all have a really good, warm sweatshirt now and there are enough pants to go around during the days when they are with us. They just keep growing taller! It gets very cold during rainy season here (can get down to 40s and there is no heat). This is what we use the gently used clothing donations. We were also able to distribute the last of the 4 new outfits they receive per year, from the program. This is what we use the new clothing donations for. I have to say, I think we could put on a fashion show for Kohls department store! Thank you for all that donated those warm outfits. They were so very grateful for their new outfit.
We have confirmed now that we will not be graduating our first group of families this year. I have to admit I was really looking forward to new babies, but am really happy it turned out this way. Last year, we had the understanding that the children that turned 3 this year would be moving onto pre-school at Strong Academy. Rules have changed with requirements, and that group of children will be with us another year! We are so happy to pour more into those children and their parents/grandparents, for the next year. A year just didn’t seem long enough.
We are in the middle of conducting update interviews for each family this week. Checking in with each parent to see how things are at home, needs they may have and all they have accomplished. We will also ask each caregiver to assess the children in their rooms and how they are doing on a daily basis. Even our super shy children are opening up with their peers and even me! It is such a privilege to watch them grow in their confidence and person God has created them to be.
As I look into each one of their eyes, and see them running around, I can’t help but be so very in awe that we get to be a part of this journey. The power and dignity that has being instilled into these families’ hearts is just beyond words. These kids are developing physically as they should! They have room to run around and get those muscles moving versus being on their moms backs while they try to work. The parents have the opportunity now to earn a better living to support their families. It is still a VERY tough life for them here. So please do not think that they have it easy now because they are with us. Most of them still remain in a 4×6 foot house with mud walls and a tin roof. They are still drinking water that gives them giardia because it is not clean. But so much HAS improved. We still have much education to do and more love and respect to give. This journey to a better way of living and being able to be secure in the family that God has blessed them with…is more than words or pictures can explain. Much of our work here, we can see transformations happening. But there is so much that are little mustard seeds. We hope that passing along the love of Jesus to them will make a difference someday and hopefully eternally when we are all together again after our life here on earth.
Those that sponsor a family, updates will come soon. Those that are on-going supporters for the center or one-time givers, please feel free to contact us ANY time and ask questions. We love to hear from you and would love to share more! Please pass the word to others that you know about us. We still need to fill up the rest of the sponsorships and know that the one-time gifts are vital to filling in that gap between our budget and sponsorships not yet being filled. Not to mention the ever increasing costs and unexpected things that occur.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts—for giving us the ability to do what we are doing here!
-Bridget & Mark Sullivan