Well—today was exhausting. We got off the plane around 8ish in the morning…stood in line for our visas—and then quickly off to the parking lot to attempt to load all 23 of us and ALL of our luggage into three little vans. One van was just for luggage and the other 2 were for people and luggage. It was a gorgeous warm day, with a nice breeze.
We all change, had lunch and then off to our 1st orphanage. I think many of us were surprised by what we were doing—we were told some would be painting, some cleaning the cribs, and other various cleaning projects. Huh?? We were quickly reminded we are here to serve—it is NOT about us. But don’t you worry—we also had great fun with the children there, as well. This orphanage was a last minute add onto our trip—as they were in such desperate need for EVEYRTHING—3 babies died in the past few weeks because they didn’t have formula —THAT is how bad I was. Our group pulled together so many last minute donations , it was awesome—and disorganized all at the same time. But when we walked in, they told us we could take a peek at the older kids—and they were all in their matching neon luai 2010 tshirts singing and dancing for us. They were adorable—the youngest being maybe 2 and the oldest maybe 13. They were happy, singing praise songs mostly in Amharic, but also in English. I think the number of children was 15 and 17 babies?? Don’t quote me…and you can’t really count them in pics, since we can’t post any! Sorry—many children were available for adoption, therefore, we can’t publicly post any pics!! And then we went up to the baby room.
The scene was too much—most of the babies lying on the floor on blankets. Ashli went around their little baby circle and told us some of their stories of how they got there—one was dropped off in a plastic bag, one was 5 ½ mos old but looked like a premie. There were a handful of babies that were obviously malnourished—and it was hard to see. I mean really—this is not Sally Struthers walking through Ethiopia in the 80s—this was 2010 and we wer e in an orphanage!!
So many of us continued upstairs to paint the girls and boys rooms. We threw away old mattresses—and by mattresses, I mean foam with big chunks out of it. So..new rooms for the kids, new mattresses and a couple new beds. The girls were giddy that they now have a pink room. And the boys were oh so helpful with the painting! Ha! I then got to take a break from painting and I headed down to the babies…a little “baby break” if you will. All of the babies were being bathed one at a time, getting new diapers and new clothes and then put into their new crib mattresses and sheets. They had quite the assembley line—so I attempted to help—but I think I got in the way, so I took the little tiny 5 ½ mos old and knew that he needed to be held—to be loved and touched—plus, I was going to make sure that bottle got finished! To say the least, I never made it back upstairs to paint—I parked myself on a nice cold floor to cuddle with a baby—oh—and cut his fingernails, too.
Oh—did I forget to mention that this place is running on 2 nannies?? Um , yea—so leaving the babies in their little cribs was hard—knowing they did not have the hands to care for them. But the nannies that were there were terrific—I cannot imagine their jobs day in and day out. Please pray for all of them—for the very humble and energetic American, Ashli—as she is taking over being the manager of this orphanage. God has placed her in a very special place—with precious children. Oh—and they are suppose to get 10 more babies next week. Pray for them OFTEN!! And you bet I will try to come back and visit that little guy when we come back for court—and no—I am not going to take him home or anything—but I just know he will thrive—he is obviously a fighter—and I am sure he will have more thin skin hanging from his little tiny arms.
Oh—our group is great—a great variety of people—it will be a great time together serving.
We are off the Korah tomorrow….B