June 8, 2013
Today was an extremely full day starting at 7:00 and going until 8:00 p.m. We had three volunteers from the Korah Kids Program come and join us for a 7:00 a.m. breakfast to talk to us about their work, their vision and the needs of the program.
Pictures and more information will be available soon.
Korah is one of the poorest communities in Addis Ababa. Korah Kids was started by people who live in Korah who attend a church as well as ex-patriots who are teaching with one of the members of that church. Their Saturday morning program usually has 150 - 200 children in attendance. These children come from a variety of situations. Some of the children live in the trash dump. Some of the children are orphans and living with an aunt. All of the children are extremely poor and are at risk.
Their sponsorship program is very new and they hope to find sponsors for 150 children and run a home for 10 boys who are living in the dump. Up until today they had 10 sponsors. Five of our volunteers sponsored children today.
We saw the home in which our sponsor boys will be living. Although not what our homes would be like, it is one of the nicer homes in the community and will provide a level of shelter and comfort these 10 boys have not had or experienced for many, many years (if ever).
We gave a donation to provide the children with a banana and a juice and then lunch with another juice along with a sucker and some gum. We also donated a school kit for each one of the children. The kits will be given to the children just before they begin school in the fall. When we saw that they had borrowed 50 plates from another organization, we decided to give them the money to buy 150 plates.
The morning progrram with the children started with songs for the whole group. We taught the children "Go Bananas", "Praise Yea The Lord" and "The Hokie Pokie" and then they sang for us some of their Amharic praise songs.
After snack, we broke into stations inside the one room church and outside. We had games, blowing bubbles, crafts and face painting for the children. We were told that the children really had a great time and we could see that the children responded well to our activities. Providing programming for 150 children in a very small space is not what we are used to in Canada.
Our team has been incredible and each time we are faced with a situation that has been different from what we are used to or has been outside of our comfort zone, we have responded with patience and a "go with the flow" attitude. I am very proud of this team for their outlook, flexibility, compassion towards the women and children and their desire to make a difference. I believe we have all been stretched and challenged in such a way that we will be richer in our attitudes and outlooks as Canadians.
We had arranged to have lunch provided (at our expense) for 150 children. One of the volunteer's wives made the lunch and it looked and smelled delicious.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet our sponsored children and to spend some time with them. It was encouraging and heart warming to see first-hand the commitment of the Korah Kids volunteers.
Today was a significant reminder of how much sponsors mean to these children. My mom and I have been very fortunate to have two of our sponsored children with us for most of the time on this trip. My daughter told me that my sponsored son has a picture of me in the buckle of his belt. I asked Tilahun about this and he showed me the buckle. I am so touched he thinks of me enough to want my picture to go with him everywhere. One of the children who was sponsored this morning went directly to her aunt's house and showed the picture of her sponsor. The little girl was kissing her picture.
One of the other girls who was sponsored was seen by one of the Korah Kids volunteers showing the pictures of the guest house.
The church is located in a very small compound of four homes and the church. The area would not be larger than my backyard. Many of the people living in that compound were outside doing work. I was taking pictures and had an elderly woman tell me that she could really use some money to treat her ear. After some discussion with the church elder, we decided to provide the money needed to take this lady to a clinic, have x-rays (if needed) and medicine. Everywhere we have looked or passed by in Ethiopia has people including children that need encouragement and/or support. The woman had been trying to treat her ear problem with the cultural doctor and showed us a plastic container of black beetles the "doctor" told her to put in her nose and in her ears to help with the problem.
This woman's husband has no fingers as a result of leprosy and yet they were blessing us for the money we gave to suipport a medcal solution to the ear problem she has faced for a very long time.
The opportunity to show God's love to this elderly woman was a blessing.
I will write about our KVI orphanage experience tomorrow. My eyes are closing as I write.
Blessings from Ethiopia