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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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....