Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our Hearts (and LUNGS) Love "Trees of Glory" in Ethiopia

Autumn and John Perkins were in Ethiopia last week for their adoption and they were able to visit Trees of Glory care-point to meet their sponsor child, Teklewold.  They not only had the unforgetable experience of meeting Teklewold, but they were able to spend time with the staff at Trees of Glory and to see the progress that is being made there.

Here is Autumn's note about their visit and her photos!

From Autumn:  After spending two days in Addis Ababa, my poor lungs felt like a diesel tail pipe. Sadly, we did expect the air pollution in the capital city. We were not sure what to expect however, during our trip north to Duber to visit the "Trees of Glory" Carepoint.

We were called the night before to confirm our visit and time of pick up. We were picked up right on time, 8:30am, from our guest house and the lessons began! Fikre (the staff member with Children's Hopechest that is the primary mentor and discipler for Trees of Glory) was a wonderful host and, being a fellow teacher, we talked about kids, education and Ethiopian issues during the 2 hour drive to the care-point. 

My husband John would snap pictures, ask questions, snap pictures and then inquire some more. Fikre was able to explain some of the international trade developments that Ethiopia was experiencing. He explained that both China and Japan had invested in Ethiopia as well as India. He explained his role with Childrens Hopechest and even said he was going to be delivering sponsor family letters during our visit!

We were excited to pull up to the care-point and be greeted by Simret (care-point director). She took her time to show us the dormitories/sleeping rooms of the orphaned children who were staying with her. She and Fikre explained that there are 13 orphans living at the care-point full-time, as well as Webit, who is recovering from surgery on her leg.

We were taken to the classrooms and then out on the playground. Simret then told me to find "Tekle" on the playground. Hee hee -  I was put on the spot! I found our shy 11 year old on the playground, in a green jacket.

Teklewold's photo from his sponsorship packet.

Photo of Teklewold from last week when he met his sponsor family!

He had stayed behind from school to meet us at TOG. Because he is older he goes to a government school for grades 3-5 closer to the village - and comes to the care-point for meals and other services. The other kids ran and greeted John. Soon handshakes turned into high-fives.  Teklewold was invited to go with us for the rest of the tour, down to see the cows, garden and stream.




Down by the stream Simret found a little boy who was herding the cows instead of being at school. She shook her finger at him and then hugged him at the same time.


We visited the old well and the site of the new well and discussed these projects. We were excited to know that the well at Kind Hearts will soon be under way but the well project at Trees of Glory is still in need of funding.

We then came back to see the kitchen. They were making us lunch yay! That was unexpected and now I was really excited!



As food was prepared we gave Teklewold his gifts- a new outfit, sweater, t-shirt (with Marvel superheroes on it!) and new pants, as well as a soccer ball all his own. His face lit up the entire room.




He is a stoic boy, who rarely smiles. I was amazed to see him smile so. He wished to change into his new clothes right away. We then showed Simret the little goodie bags for the other kids and gave Webit hers, since she was right there with us, laying on her couch.



We also showed Simret the first-aid products we brought, donated by the HOSA (health occupational sciences association) of Columbia High School. Simret showed me her tiny infirmary and the emerging library area. Health and medical items for the clinic are greatly needed.

Then it was time for lunch. What was so touching is that she told Tekle he could stay and eat with the adults since he had a "mother and father" here with him, meaning us. John showed him how to use our camera and had him take pictures of the other children and even take videos. We showed Tekle the images on the other side of the camera and he just ginned and grinned. We had a delightful coffee ceremony and enjoyed milk from the very cows right outside.

As our meal ended, we took a walk up to the top of the hill and looked back over the care-point and up to the village area. The air up here smelled so sweet and clean.



Fikre explained that Ethiopia began growing eucalyptus trees a couple of decades ago because they are very useful in construction and scaffolding. These trees were visible throughout the countryside. The air smelled wonderful up here, such a change from the capital. We discussed the weather some and the need to get electricity and water established at the care-point. This would be a wonderful space for a wind farm or solar panels. We all hoped and prayed for future development and the bright future of TOG.

Simret sent us on our way with well-wishes and words of gratitude. Her passion for these kids is so evident and beautiful. We were so honored to be a part of it and look forward to our next visit to TOG!

As Autumn and John saw first-hand, the fresh water well project at Trees of Glory is their most important need right now. The care-point is currently serving 100 orphaned and destitute children, with no running water! The staff walks to the nearest spigot every day, and hauls fresh water to the care-point on the backs of donkeys. The director, Simret, hopes to be able to serve 200-300 children once they have a well on the property.

If you would like to help with a fund-raiser for this project, please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com for more information. If you would like to make a donation to the well, you can make a tax deductible donation on the Children's Hopechest website at www.hopechest.org.

Go to www.hopechest.org, click on GIVE
Under Choose A Fund, specify DESIGNATED GIFT
In the Account Code, specify ET2119000
In the Notes area, specify WELL

I will be posting our progress on the well fund-raising here.

2 comments:

autumn's dizzy thoughts said...

We had a wonderful time!
xoxo autumn

Apryl said...

The progress looks great--the plowed area for farming, it's wonderful to see things happening!