Terri Keeler, who was part of our volunteer team in Ethiopia in November (she sponsors a child at Kind Hearts AND a child at Trees of Glory) is back in Africa and was able to spend time with the kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory on Monday and Tuesday!!!
She filled her luggage with 600 backpacks for the kids. Internet has been spotty - but Terri is trying to update her blog as often as she can!
The photo above was taken at Kind Hearts on Tuesday - and that's Terri right in the middle of the kids! (See above.)
Terri Keeler, with Mita, her sponsor child at Trees of Glory.
On Monday - Terri visited Trees of Glory and in her blog http://life-with-tk.blogspot.com/, she gives a wonderful update on the progress being made there! From Terri's blog ...
I have so much time to think on the long drive to Trees of Glory, through the wide open country. Seeing all the little kids fetching water and herding cattle made me wonder what their lives would end up like. What if they had the chance to go to school and get an education like the kids who have sponsors now at Trees of Glory? You know, it's all about the ripple effect. We just have to be the ripple. Just get it going. Just change one little persons life by loving them, feeding them, educating them, and making sure they have a relationship with Jesus. Just one little life at a time. And then praying they grow up to do the same - keep the ripple going! :) If everyone did that, the world be so different. If those who were blessed enough to have resources to help change maybe a couple of lives, it wouldn't even be a ripple. It would be like giant tsunami wave of lives being changed! So that's why I'm here I guess. I think it's important to try and get the ripple going... :)
Anyways, we pulled up to Trees of Glory after what seemed like an eternity. You know how when you're excited to get somewhere, it takes forever!? Yea, that was this morning. Most of the kids that attend Trees of Glory only come on the weekends and attend other schools during the week. So unfortunately, my Mita wasn't there (she was yesterday though!) I was just so thrilled - and that' an understatement - to see a row of 6 water spigots when I pulled up, that I couldn't possibly be too disappointed for missing her.
Simret gave us the grand tour of the whole place and all of the updates. And let me tell you, there have been some serious updates in the past 6 months! When I was there in November, we were still raising funds for a well to be dug and plumbing to the buildings. Check that off the list. The well is fully operational, the donkeys have water to drink, there is irrigation for gardens for vegetables, the kids have showers to use and flushing toilets, the cooks have clean water IN the kitchen, AND the surrounding community even has access to clean water via two 10,000 liter tanks at the top of the hill - all provided by the well we worked so hard to fund. I seriously just stood there clapping and cheering every time we saw more water and said, "I just can't believe this!!" When we got to the actual well, Simret teared up and said, "There are no words..." She is obviously beyond grateful for this. Having access to clean water on the grounds changed their lives and made everything so much easier! OH - and don't forget they just got ELECTRICITY in all the buildings, too! They've only had it for two weeks. All the changes were just SO AWESOME to see. That's all I can say. Just AWESOME. (Lots of pictures to come...)
After walking around and seeing everything, I got out the orange backpacks and craft projects for the kids. They are the most grateful little things I've ever seen! They loved having something to call their own (they literally have nothing in their rooms besides a bed and a blanket) and they had fun with the "Jesus Loves Me" craft I brought - a little safety pin thing with beads for their bags. Alex wrote their names on the bags for them to keep them apart (my permanent markers works I great!) and then we had to take off to make it back to Addis. It was a short trip, but so totally worth it to get to see them with running water finally!
Thank you Terri for this great update!! It's so rewarding to hear first-hand reports of the incredible progress being made at Trees of Glory thanks to the dedication of our entire sponsor team!!