Friday, July 29, 2011

Ethiopia...Day 2

On Monday morning, we met these boys.  They're shoe shiners. You'll see dozens of them as you drive through the streets of Addis Ababa. But these boys were special. They showed up every morning...without fail. And if we told them to come back in the evening, they were there. Ready to clean the mud and dirt off our shoes.

We spent time at two different orphanages on Monday. 

The first was a Catholic orphanage. The children there touched our hearts. And so did the women that cared for could see how much they loved the children.

After visiting with the older children outside for a while, I went upstairs to see the younger children and babies. The first room I walked into broke my heart. They were babies...tiny. Some were sick and some were obviously premature. But I'll never, ever forget looking down into the first crib. It held a little boy who appeared to have hydrocephalus. His head was terribly swollen and he was unable to make eye contact. He just laid there. I guessed that he was around two-years-old, but later that night our team leader told me that he was six. 

Here are some pictures from my time there...
(I wish I could show you the beautiful faces of these little ones, but I have to cover them to comply with Ethiopian laws designed to protect the identity of orphans.)

In one of the rooms for younger children, I found this happy girl. She enjoyed hammin' it up for the camera.

These little ones are ages 3 to 4, I imagine. There were about a dozen cribs in this room alone.
They were so happy to see us. They loved the camera! As soon as I pulled it out of my bag, they started smiling and, photo, photo!
 Sweet dreams...this cute little boy asleep in his crib reminded me of how my Evan often slept in his own crib. Evan even had the same pajama pants!

Little stinker! 
This boy and I were fast friends, but when it was time for me to go...oh, he was mad! He arched his back and yelled and cried. It was so hard to walk away.

This sweet girl blew me away. She was so smart and so kind! Her English was excellent. During our visit, we talked about school, Ethiopia, church and...Justin Bieber! I learned that she's also a fan of Hannah Montana, Katy Perry and Usher. Too funny!

And these girls melted my heart. After taking their picture, I showed them pictures of my kids.
They then asked...Do you have a mother? A father? 
When I said yes, they responded...You are very, very lucky.

After we left that orphanage, we immediately visited another. 
Karen and I enjoyed watching these boys play tether ball. And I think they enjoyed having an audience.

Craft time was a big hit with these kids...they beaded necklaces, made butterflies out of clothes pins and coffee filters and got their nails painted. And, thanks to Kate, got some really cool face painting!

There were so many wonderful moments in this day...smiles and hugs, laughter and fun. Yet, my heart was heavy. For more than a year, I've read about the worldwide orphan crisis...I know all the information, all the statistics. But it wasn't until I was the orphanage, with orphans...that I really got it. And once I got it, once it became broke my heart.  

1 comment:

Misty said...

this breaks me heart...