Monday, January 21, 2013

Ethiopia November 2012 Day 7

Monday November 12th

This day started with a bonus trip to Kind Hearts School.  Of course we wanted to go to Trees of Glory while we were in Ethiopia, but because the HopeChest team was going to visit several care points on their trip, we also got to join them for a day at Kind Hearts.  Kind Hearts is a school in Addis that severs over a hundred kids in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.  The school has been growing and is now out of room and in desperate need of additional classrooms so that they can continue to serve the surrounding community, add higher grades and enroll the many students who eagerly await their turn to start school.  This school year, they had to teach 3rd grade in an old storage building just to accommodate the kids they currently have.  I wrote about this in a previous post and I'm SO happy to report that all of the funds needed to expand the school for next year have been raised!!!

Nick had visited Kind Hearts on a mission trip in 2010 and was amazed by all of the change that had taken place since then.

The kids are amazing here.  They are all so happy and loving.  I was literally covered in children the moment I sat down.  They sang me their ABCs and all kinds of other songs and I had two kids holding each of my hands as I walked around the compound.  Talk about being showered with love.  It was awesome!

  One of the highlights of this trip was the tour we took of the water well and the community water point that is served by the well at Kind Hearts.  As we walked the hilly path to the water point, we crossed over a muddy river that is polluted by a near by factory-the only water source around.  The people can no longer use this river from my understanding, so they must walk 3 miles one way everyday to haul water for their families.  This is a job that falls on the women and the girls.  Girls would often have to miss school to complete this labor intensive and time consuming job each day.

When we arrived, some of the women of the village were waiting with a coffee ceremony, bread and popcorn to thank HopeChest for the clean water source that helps keep their families healthy and has given them much relief from the daily task of gathering water.  It was such a humbling experience to again see the life changing difference that something so simple as clean water can make.

Here are a few more pictures from this day.  Caleb really had a blast here as he spent most of the day playing soccer with the boys his age.

Caleb joining up with his class

We cut our time at Kind Hearts a little short as we had a very important little guy to pick up.  We did a little more shopping this day and Caleb met a friend Siga who has lost both his parents and sells gum on the streets to survive.  This really hit home for Caleb.  This boy is 13 years old, but the size our Caleb who just turned 9.  He still talks about him and prays for him often.  This is the reality of so many kids and this is why we advocate for programs like Children's Hopechest that can give kids like Siga a chance and a hope for a different future.

 Finally, it was time to pick up sweet Eli.  I couldn't wait for this part.  We had so many things planned, so many people we wanted to see on our trip, but this was the big reason we were here.  To bring our little son home to his family.
He looks almost as happy as I was.

Eli's precious nanny in Addis took such great care of him
This is his nanny in Mekele-taken when he was about  5 months old (love that pink )
-we are so thankful for the care he received while he waited for us to come.

 These women work tirelessly (and I can't imagine how exhausting it must be) to care for the kids while they wait and they do it with such love and joy.  Such a blessing!

A few last minute snuggles before we go. 
One last bottle.

Time to go--such a hard thing for them to have to let go after investing in these kids for months.

Such a good feeling to finally have him with us for good.
 When we got back to the guest house, Eli got his first bath.  He was a little suspicious (he loves bath time now).
All snuggled up and ready for bed.
 First we had dinner and said goodbye to our HopeChest friends.  

Eli and Misikir

Nick, Fikre and Caleb

Then we settled in for what would be Eli's very best night sleep ever.  He slept from 8pm to 5am, woke up for a bottle and then back to sleep until 7am.  I thought we were set.  I totally had this baby thing down.  What a good sleeper.  This was awesome!!!  And, that's the last time that has ever happened in the past 2 months.  I don't know what the magic trick was this night, but I sure do wish I could duplicate it.  Our boy likes to visit a couple times a night still-up for a yummy bottle and some mommy time.  I don't really mind it, but it is getting a little tiring.  I'm just trying to enjoy and embrace this stage with my last little one.

What a sweet blessing he is!

Next, our last day in Ethiopia (at least for now :-) and our long flight home.

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