Monday, April 15, 2019

April 10, 2019 Ethiopia day 2

We awoke to the chanting of the Orthodox church priest and the sound of diesel trucks and taxis starting the days work.  After breakfast, we loaded up and headed further up the mountain to the Bridge of Hope Compound.  Bridge of Hope, the organization we will be partnering with, was started by a Swiss couple 18 years ago.  They have a large sloping property that houses a school as well as the orphanage.  The view from the top of the property is breathtaking.

We were welcomed with introductions, songs and prayer and greetings from many of the house mothers and children.  We took a tour of the facility and quickly realized this was no ordinary orphanage.  

The buildings are arranged into homes so that one mother is able to care for up to 8 or 9 children.  They all live together in their home which includes three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.  

Many of these house mothers have dedicated the past 16 years of their lives to raising these orphaned children as their own and take great pride in their work.  It is the best possible model as it provides family units instead of the typical institutionalized care for these children.  You could tell the difference that this type of care makes instantly.  The children are thriving and are well cared for and clearly loved.

Of course, we fell in love with the kids.  

They are all so precious.  

A few special ones decided to befriend us.  

My precious Tewodaj, whose name means “beloved,” has a story that is so unimaginably hard, yet after only 8 months at Bridge of Hope, is overflowing with love and beams with joy.  

It is truly miraculous.

This facility cares for several special needs children and receive one to one care from their loving house mothers. This mother’s name "patient" and could not better describe how she cares for sweet Nardos.  Their dedication to these children is truly remarkable.

Over the years, donor support for Bridge of Hope has dwindle. Last year, they operated at a 30% deficit which created quite a challenge for them.  Staff have gone unpaid, protein in the diet has become scarce and they have struggled to keep up with the mounting demands of raising the approximately 80 children in their care.

Because they are the best orphanage and school in the area, the government often refers kids to their facility.  Just within the last month, 5 new babies were admitted, including these two, my “twins.” 

I was delighted to meet Alazar and Tsion, the two babies that I am sure God placed on my heart to pray for  6 months ago.

We spent the rest of the afternoon profiling the 28 kids from the orphanage that we have been given to advocate for.  It was amazing to learn about them and hear what they like to do and what their hopes and dreams are.

This sweet boy asked for prayer for the healing of his legs.  We are looking into ways to help him and several of the other kids who have medical concerns.

With so many needs presented, we left with renewed resolve to work to help this amazing organization continue the good work they are doing in Gondar.

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