On our 8th day in Ethiopia we started the morning by heading over to visit the children at the Hope 4 Hopeless orphanage in the countryside.
These kids are all street children that have been pulled from the streets and put in their drop in center. After a period of time of healing in the drop in center, they are moved to the orphanage if they have no family to reunite with. This gives them a safe place to grow and go to school.
The kids are simply precious! It is truly amazing to see the transformation in them from being street children. When we arrived, the young boy pictured above and below had his praise music playing loudly on a speaker. He was just sitting in the window, singing his praise songs with all his might, smiling and full of joy. They told me that they all have nicknamed him "Little Pastor" because he loves the Lord and says he wants to be a pastor. He is one awesome kid!!
We all made lots of new friends!
The kids live in a compound about 3 acres wide. It has the dorms where the children live, a boarding school that is being finished, a soccer field, eating hall, library being built and bathrooms. They have a way to go until completion but in the end, with some funding, it will be an amazing place for the children.
All the kids, including the ones on our team, LOVE playing soccer!
We had a great game with the kids.
We all enjoyed spending time with the kids, including Steve, a guy from our guest house that went with us for the day.
I met this young boy pictured below. He is 18 and has lived in this orphanage for 6 years and then he lived in the drop in center for 3 years before that. So they pulled him from the streets when he was 9 years old and he has no family and has lived there ever since. I took an interest in him and asked him to help us throughout the day. He was a great help with the bags and donations. He stuck by my side after that and wouldn't let me carry my own backpack...almost like he was looking after me. When it came time to leave I gave him a hug and he looked away because he was crying. It was very sad and I realized just how much all the kids need someone special in their life who believes in them...especially the older children. I plan on writing to him, seeing how I can help with his schooling, and staying in touch. I tried to encourage him and promised him I would be back. There are many older boys just like him who have no one in their life that they feel they can call their own sponsor or someone special who they know believes in them and thinks they are special. If you would like to sponsor an older child from this orphanage, please email me at Kelly@ordinaryhero.org.
As I looked around throughout the day, I saw each and every one of my team members bonding with their new special friend and bringing them hope and love. It was awesome to see, especially from the teens on our team. These trips are especially great for teenagers.
We bought enough sheep to feed everyone. It is a great blessing to the children in Ethiopia to eat sheep. Many thanks to those of you who have purchased them from our OH store so that we can give them away on our trips.
As great of a blessing it is to Africans to slaughter and eat sheep, it still takes some getting used to for the Americans, ha!
Again, everywhere I looked there were folks from our team bonding with the kids.
We then lined up everyone and Ali marked their hand as they then walked in to receive a Blessing Bag.
Thank you to all of you who have sent us Blessing Bags for the children of Africa. We have received Blessing Bags from all over the US! They are such a blessing to these children!
As we were giving out Blessing Bags to the children in the orphanage, we looked out and saw some community children standing and watching us at the gate. These children were dressed in rags.
We brought them in one by one and dressed them with the blessing bags that we had.
The children were precious and so sweet. You can see the transformation of the little girl above who was dressed in rags with holes in them and no shoes to the same little girl on the bottom right, once she has been dressed in new clothes and shoes.
It is amazing how a new outfit can transform a child. They were very grateful.
Big thanks to Ella, who joined us to help for the day. She is a local Ethiopian and a great help and translator. She is only 12 and was such a blessing to our team.
Look at this little sweetie above. She had on a little fancy dress that I'm sure was white at one point. I have no idea how long she had been wearing this little dress but it was stained and dirty and ripped, bless her heart!
Ali helped get her all fixed up with a brand new outfit, right down to the bow. I'm sure the children's mother will wonder where in the world they came in with these new outfits when they arrive home. It is so neat to be a blessing!!
We also gave this group a case of bibles which they were very grateful for.
Our time with the kids came to a close. We all had to say our goodbyes.
A big thanks to Yemmi, Ella's mother, who also joined us for the day. She did a great job helping us get the kid's stories through her translating.
We all gathered around in a circle and held hands and prayed.
The kids sang to us and prayed for us and then we prayed for them. It was an emotional and very touching goodbye.
We will not forget these precious children! We look forward to seeing them in the future on our next team.
Next post I will share the last half of this day where we give the women of Entoto Mountain many donkey to help with their heavy loads.