Wednesday, March 17, 2010

through another's eyes ...





In December, when I spent time at Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia, the children captured my heart and I was inspired by the director and the teachers - by their vision for the future. These children who have known heart-ache and fear and loneliness that we cannot even fathom, and who have literally NOTHING .... possess something amazing. They possess joy. JOY!

A friend of mine, Joey Austin, is in Ethiopia right now ... and earlier today her team spent some time at Kind Hearts. They spent time with 68 children who have come to know what HOPE is .... and it means everything.

Joey posted to her facebook page about her visit to Kind Hearts today and I wanted you to get a glimpse of these precious kids through her eyes. All of the kids at Kind Hearts are currently sponsored - but there will be more children enrolling soon. And ... in May we will begin developing a sponsor program at another care-point in Ethiopia with nearly 100 children. If you are interested in getting involved or sponsoring a child, please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com and I will let you know as soon as we have children needing a sponsor.

Here are Joey's words after her visit to Kind Hearts today ..



There really are no words to describe our day...I mean honestly, we are all speechless! This was by far such a beautiful experience for everyone-not because of the scenery (which was, in itself so pretty-on the side of a mountain, eucalyptus trees dotting the land, and green grass!)...but the heart and souls of the children which were the epitome of the school named Kind Hearts.

After our 45 minute van ride through rocky streets and clogged round-a-bouts, we headed to the outside of the city into the mountainside where the Kind Hearts School is located. Our van pulled up outside the school gates and children immediately started to run, wave and shout to us in sweet excitement. We could barely drive the van through the sea of children! Our group was greeted by the children and as we trudged towards the school building with at least a dozen children clinging to our legs and holding onto our arms, the kids sat down and the director welcomed us.

They opened the tour by singing "God is so Good" in a sweet African accent...then treated us to another song. The kids were so proud of their program and most of us were an absolute mess. I choked out who we were and why we were there...to build a well...and the director told the kids and the entire school-staff and children erupted in singing and cheering. Their clapping and shouting brought nothing but tears from us and they had our hearts from that moment on.

We then headed down to the "river" where some of the children must cross every day. I put "river" in quotes because actually it is more like a polluted dump--brown sludge in some places, thick gray in others...with a stench that makes your head pound instantly because the smell burns when you inhale. We were bothered by simply the smell and sight of the river...yet some of these children and villagers must walk through it every day. Animals drink and die from how sick the water is...in fact skulls littered the bank of the river.

They wanted to show us where a bridge is located, but it is too far away for the kids to use. As we walked, we saw the villagers and donkeys crossing over the river. We were able to actually cross the river ourselves by jumping on rocks and make it to the other side where our translator talked to a woman who must cross it every day. She pleaded with us to help clean up the water and provide a well. She blessed us and said thank you as we left...we all left the river and quietly walked back to the school.

Next it was time for us to hand out some supplies we were able to bring; there were 63 children and we had homemade blankets that were made and prayed over specifically for this trip, along with notebooks, pens and pencils. The staff lined up the children in two lines to receive the presents (picture this: these children were SO well behaved, they quietly lined up with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them, and waited to be called to the table where after receiving the supplies, they bowed and whispered "Thank You.") It was a precious, precious time. In about one minute I looked out over the school yard and the children had taken their new blankets and wrapped them around their shoulders. They were so pleased with their gifts; the colorful blankets were honestly one of the prettiest sites I've ever seen.

You might expect the kids to be crazy and wild with their presents but they seemed to be in awe of what they were holding in their hands, like they weren't sure what to do with the notebooks and pencils. So Kelly, Olivia, Laurie, & Julia sat down and started showing them what to do. "Draw a zeee-bbrrraaa please!" was the common request...and soon the pages were filled with hearts, I Love You's, animals and rainbows. Tammy & Jennifer led a group of kids in singing songs: head, shoulders knees and toes...Jesus Loves Me...If You're Happy and You Know It...Tooty-Ta and more. They tried to follow along and repeated every word the best they could. We loved how they mimicked our actions and tried to repeat our words.

After a lunch of injera and wat, along with a traditional coffee ceremony, our time at the Kind Hearts School was coming to a close. We left with a challenge from the director to "Please keep your promise...don't forget us...we need you...tell people about us...spread the word...we can make a difference. And God will show us the way."

Please consider--if this blog has touched you--to make a donation to help build a water well at the Kind Hearts school. It not only means clean drinking water for the children along with providing water for sanitation--it can mean healthier crops so the villagers will have a chance to support their families.

We are all changed after today. Thank you to Children's HopeChest for partnering with this incredible school and allowing us to partner with you. May God bless our efforts...and never take HIS eye off the children of Kind Hearts.--


2 comments:

The Adventures of Caleb, Becca and Sakari David... said...

This post brought back memories...Karen, so proud of you and your hard work for these kids. This post also brought back the stench of the "river" and the pounding headache that stench creates...

Sandra said...

Beautiful post, Karen. I enjoy reading about the sweet children there.