Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 8...Africa

A little explanation is in order. My last post was about a month and a half ago. Life got busy and then my external hard drive crashed. I had all of my client images backed up but every picture I had ever taken of Sam, including all 1100 (or so actually) Africa pictures, were gone. I went into denial for a bit, just ignoring the problem completely. But, I had a sweet friend who offered her husband to look at it for me and he eventually sent it off to a clean lab to be dismantled and they were able to save almost all of my pictures. Praising God for that!
So, my precious images are back and it's on to Day 8.

This is going to be an emotional post for me. It was the most heart-warming and heart-breaking day all mixed together! I have learned that life is like that. I used to avoid the things that were hard to see and hear in the world, but this trip and a few books (i.e. "The Hole in Our Gospel", "Radical" and "Crazy Love") have opened my eyes that when we allow God to break our heart for the things that break His, we are drawn closer to Him and grasp His love so much more deeply! I would encourage anyone feeling the tug of the spirit to move towards a ministry or mission or situation in life that is hard to take to jump in with abandon and trust God to catch you and bless you in the process!

Okay...onto the day.
Because I was in such pain (sores on my throat) we decided to let me sleep in, in the morning and fore go the trip to the orphanage. We had planned a day of rest. Well, God's plans were oh so much better. I woke up about 9:00 and went downstairs for breakfast and found out they weren't leaving for the orphanage (Kingdom Kids) until 10:00. I decided that it was meant to be and ran upstairs to get ready. Nani stayed back and Matt, Madison, Sam and I were on the vans ready to go by 10:00 (and I was rested and feeling better...thank you God!!) We thought our donations for the orphanages were supposed to be turned in with our donations for the transition home so all I had to bring were some granola bars. When we got there I gave them to Madison to pass out to the children and there were EXACTLY ENOUGH FOR EVERY CHILD!!!! Loaves and fish!



Madison handing out granola bars...

oh...those eyes!!!



the kids LOVED to see the pictures we took of them on the backs of our cameras...

I spent the first few minutes watching Madison with the kids. She is a natural servant. Her heart is full of compassion and she is naturally comfortable, non judgemental and giving! It was humbling and inspiring! After passing out the granola bars, she mingled with the kids (focused completely on them) and then she noticed that there were granola bar wrappers everywhere so she took the bag we brought the bars in and began picking up the wrappers. Almost immediately several of the kids joined her and it was an instant bond. Common oral language not required. My heart full of joy, I began wondering around the orphanage grounds. There were so many precious children and my heart broke for them. Not because they looked sad, but because they didn't (and many will never) have a family. Then my heart broke for myself and all of us who take what we have for granted and, even worse, complain that we don't have enough. Oh, I so wanted to soak this reality in. I knew that heading back to the USA I would again be desensitized to the reality of a majority of the world, but I so don't want to. I want to have this perspective and I want my heart to be broken for the things that break His heart. I don't want to lament over not having a bigger house, or nicer clothes or more free time, I want to have a passion for serving and loving others!! The people (adults and children alike) of Ethiopia have such kind hearts. It's because they have perspective. They know what is important and they aren't distracted by all of the junk that we are in America. Okay...I am rambling now, back to the story!

a sweet driver loving on Sam so we could mingle with the kids...

a bond...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

They love each other...

Madison began playing pat-a-cake with the kids and several of the adults joined in the fun. Then the nannies held a coffee ceremony for us served with popcorn and Duni's mom (who founded the orphanage) talked to us a bit about the orphanage and how they raise money. Next it was on to an restaurant for lunch.

pat-a-cake


coffee ceremony...

does my heart good...


oh so precious!!

I left lunch early with one of the families to get back to the guest house so they could meet the birth mother of their child. I wanted to capture these images for them, especially their son. What a gift to be a part of this moment! The birth mom was so young, only 15. In order to relinquish her child she had to lie and say she was 20. My heart broke for her(as it would and will continue to break for Sam's mom)and I have such a desire to go back and be a part of strengthening the communities there so that more families can keep their children!

back out the guest house...

We had a short rest before heading to a second orphanage, Gelgela. This is where Sam stayed for a short time before going to the transition home. When we got to the second orphanage there was a little girl that struck me immediately. Her name was Ricket (I think...unless I didn't hear right). She and an older little girl came up to us. She looked sad and looked down at the ground, not wanting to look into my eyes, but somehow wanting to be close. Her friend ran off to play, but she didn't move. I tried talking to her and kneeling down, but she was quiet and looked away. Matt had Sam and he was standing by the van window showing Sam his reflection. Ricket seemed interested in this so I held out my arms to see if she wanted to look and in she went. She didn't leave my side until we left a couple hours later, and she hasn't left my heart since!!

when I first met her...

in love...

makes me cry...

After some play time with the kids, Matt, Madison, Sam, Ricket and I headed upstairs to see the room where Sam stayed. The nannies were sooooo kind and gentle. There were several babies in this small dark room. I don't think there was any electricity or hear or air conditioning. We didn't have an interpreter with us, but we found the nannie who cared for Sam. She showed us the crib he shared with another baby and held him and played with him for a few minutes. Such a precious time. We are so grateful to know he was so loved during his time there!!

Sam's bed...

Sam's angel...





Later, Ricket and I headed upstairs to photograph another family who was able to meet their birth mom. While we were waiting for picture time Ricket and I played hide-and-seek and she learned how to take a picture with my camera (no easy task). She turned from this still, quiet, sad angel into this spunky ball of energy! PRECIOUS!

when it was time to take pictures of the birth mom and the family Ricket sat and waited patiently for me. The pictures were so touching as the birth mom put her arm around one of the families older boys. She also kissed each of the older boys (her little girls new big brothers). I know her heart was breaking and full of gratitude at the same time. She had a big smile and lots of hugs for them, but she had a hard time saying goodbye to her little girl. Her strength inspires me!!


and her personality begins to immerge...


okay, you can't pose something this precious!

a lesson in true joy...

I love how kids don't need a common language to bond...

That night we took one of our guides, Robel, to the Zebra (a popular restaurant near the guest house) where he told us his story about working with the UN and how it led him to start a street ministry for boys on the street. Again, a person who has given his life away to serve God! He teaches these homeless boys a craft where they sell things in order to make an income. He has also found a way for them to go to school. In Ethiopia, if you don't have parents to enroll you, you don't go to school. He also has learned to give them candy if they tell on their friends for not going to school...smart man! He has even bigger plans for this ministry. You can find out more about it and how you can help here

After a long, emotional, thought-filled day it was time to get some rest. Poor Yacob was over-tired and beginning to grieve for his nannies and cried for over an hour before finally going to sleep. Oh, precious son how we love you!!!




Sooooooooooooooooooooo sleepy!!!

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

1. I had no idea you had lost your pictures! So sorry but so glad to know the good ending. 2. Madison is an absolute angel and that is no accident. You are an amazing mother. 3. I can't imagine how emotional you must be about your experience in Ethiopia. Your story and your pictures validate my need to go there someday. Love the post, love the pictures, love the new perspective on life.

melat said...

WOW, what a great and heart touching experience! Our charity club ( New Life Charity club) would love to go visit those orphanages and see how we can help. Can you please let me know the names of the orphanages and their addresses. And i think you should join our Facebook group, New Life Charity Club( Addis Ababa University) ( I have sent you an invite)
Thanks,