Thursday, July 22, 2010

Those Who Wait and Face to Face With HIV

I am attempting to get caught up with our days. We actually leave tomorrow night from Addis and we have just been so busy that I haven't had the time or the energy to blog. This has just been the best trip. Let me go back to our fifth day that I haven't posted about. We all woke up and we split our group in half to start the day. Some went back to Korah and some of us went to an orphanage with some waiting children and some went to the Celebrate Children transition home. Everyone had a great day at their different places to serve. I happened to be on the trip that went to the new orphanage in order for me to photograph some new paper ready waiting children. I was just riding along when things started to look real familiar. When we pulled up to the gate it all came back to me. Unbelievably enough I was sitting in front of the gate to the old Hannah's Hope orphanage....the same orphanage I was at just exactly one year ago when I traveled with my sister to go pick up Lucy Lane. Hannah's Hope has now moved and this new orphanage has taken it's spot. The gates opened and I saw some excited little ones running around and I had major flashbacks. You see, last year, at this same orphanage I had the privilege of photographing and advocating for at least 8 waiting children and they all got adopted after our trip. How odd when I come back to Africa to meet more waiting children that I by chance end up at the same orphanage to do it all again with a brand new set of children. It gives me hope that they will all be adopted :) These children had literally just moved in the day before we arrived. So you can imagine that they were still uneasy with their surroundings but they all did fabulous. They didn't have good clothes so we brought them all upstairs (into Lucy's old room ) one by one and dressed them and gave them new shoes and a new toy. They were so excited. We gave out some toys and balls and played with them and got to know them and helped them break out of their shell. We gave them snacks and just loved on them. They were precious. There was a 4 yr old boy, twin 7 yr old boy and girl, a boy 5 yrs with his 2 yr old sister, a precious 6 yr old boy, two brothers age 7 and 6, and a sweet 4 month old girl that had just been found abandoned. I'm telling you I can't wait to do a Speak Up Campaign for these kids when I return. They are the sweetest kids. Most out of the group that I just mentioned except for the baby are available and waiting.

The other half of the team went to the Celebrate Children transition home. They said it was the nicest place that they had seen on this trip. The kids were just precious and they said they were in such good spirits and everything smelled good which is always a plus here :) They worked on arts and crafts. So to those of you who have little ones waiting in the transition home for you right now, rest assured that they were loved on and played with and given big kisses by our team.

That night we all went to a very nice restaurant to eat. It must have been the hot spot because we ran into Sumer and her team from Project 61. We enjoyed a nice meal and came back and crashed.

The next day we all headed over to Mother Teresa HIV orphanage which was unbelievable because of the facility and how much hope they give these kids, and humbling because of the fact that all these hundreds of kids have HIV. Let me tell you that this place is amazing. It is huge and it holds hundreds of children from babies to teens. It is run by only 7 amazing sisters (nuns) of the Catholic church. One of them gave us a tour of the whole place. First of all, she was so cute and spunky and had the spirit of an angel. She has been there for 5 years in Ethiopia and is from Europe. She loved on every child that walked by. I was doing fine on the tour until we came to the critical care unit that held several little ones that just looked like they were hanging on to life. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen as I watched them lay there and just gaze at nothing as their life hangs in the balance.

We did several art projects with the children as well as soccer and basketball. There was also a group of volunteers from Malta (had to ask where that was and is somewhere beside Sicily) who seemed thrilled to have help for the day. I made a little buddy who LOVED taking pictures for me. He just followed me and took pictures of everything I pointed to. He is the little guy wearing a hat in one of the pics. Some of the children you could not tell were sick and then some of the them had the presence of that disease all over them. It was sooooo sad. They craved love and touch and attention. I was so glad that we were there to give that to them. They are outcasts from their community and their schools and it is no fault of their own. They are innocent victims of a deadly disease. But in Ethiopia they are in the best care possible while they reside at Mother Teresa. It is impressive to say the least.

After we left Mother Teresa we headed over to an area where we were able to play soccer with the street children. The area where they were was lined with tarps that were held down by rocks where the people sleep. It, again, is very sad to see them live like this. It started pouring rain in the middle of their game but that didn't stop them at all. They all had the best time playing in the rain. We made friends with some of the other children who were walking around selling gum for money.

I am not allowed to post pics of children specifically on blogs to advocate for them so all my pics are general pictures that we have taken throughout our trip :) If you feel led to ask about a specific child you may email me at and I will let you know any info that I have. I will not be answering email until next week. I am VERY excited to see the families that God has picked out for some of these precious kids. I am very thankful to Sue Hedberg with Celebrate Children that she has been here to personally take us into some of these orphanages and give us the privilege of meeting them and advocating for them. I have many more to talk about as well. Just met more today and am meeting more tomorrow. They are all amazing!!

Some Pics, not a lot, from our day 5 can be found HERE.

Pics from our day 6 at the HIV orphanage and street children can be found HERE.

Again, pictures will not upload from Africa for some reason on this blog which is why I have the links.

More to come....


  1. Praising God for the work He has done through you and your group!

    Praying for your trip home and adjustment to life back in America!

    God bless you!

  2. oh, it is very surreal to see the pics of HH where My Lucy Lane is crazy!! I can't wait to visit there again some day...kj