And then I came across this photo, and my eyes filled with tears of happiness.
This is Diriba (nicknamed Daru) - and he is one of my sponsor kids. We met Daru in November when I visited his home.
His 3 older siblings attend the care-point and our home-visit selection included their home. I blogged about that visit here (Click HERE) and I remember so clearly seeing little Daru in the distance as we approached his home.
He shyly and with great curiousity watched us approach and I could see him from a distance because of his bright pink sweat suit that stood in stark contrast to the beige and brown mud surroundings.
His eyes had a dullness to them - a familiar look of hunger and malnutrition - and they were watery from sleeping and living inside a smoke-filled hut. He moved slowly and seemed tired, unusual for a little boy who should be full of energy and rambunctionsness.
The three older kids were attending Trees of Glory Care-Point and it was clear that this was a huge burden that had been lifted from her shoulders. She expressed gratitude over and over for the CarePoint where her 3 older children were getting nutritious food, clean water, medical care and an education! I gestured to the little boy in the pink sweatsuit and asked why he was not yet attending the CarePoint and told her that we would be happy to enroll him too. She raised her eyebrows as my words were translated and nodded appreciatively
The next day, slightly bewildered and a bit fearful, little Daru tagged along with his older siblings and was enrolled that very day! I watched him enjoy what was perhaps his first hearty meal ever, and watched him savor his first taste of an orange.
Maea became very protective of Daru and immediately asked if we could sponsor him. Her heart was breaking for this little boy who was scared and a bit overwhelmed by his first few days at the CarePoint. But we were content knowing that once he got used to the hustle and bustle, he would thrive in this loving environment with plentiful food, clean water, school, medical care and Christian discipleship. Much of the rest of our time at Trees of Glory, Daru stayed close to Maea and she worked hard to coax a smile from him.
Finally, a tentative smile.
And then 4 1/2 months later ... there's that big toothy smile and bright sparkling eyes we were hoping to see! After several months with excellent care and nutrition at Trees of Glory, we get a beautiful picture of him, holding a picture of us!
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please contact me at email@example.com. At the moment, ALL of the children are sponsored, but more children are being enrolled and I will contact you as soon as we have information on the newest children.
I will be leading a team of volunteers to Ethiopia in November to work with the kids and the CarePoint staff - if you are interested in joining me in Ethiopia, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.