Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let's Build a School in Ethiopia!!

When I first stepped to the front of the tiny classroom at Kind Hearts (nearly 2 1/2 years ago), 68 pairs of tired, hopeless eyes stared back. Dull eyes, with little expression. Some kids were nearly wilted over their desks, a lethargy and tiredness had settled deeply into their little bodies from chronic malnutrition, sickness and hopelessness.  

In December of 2009, Kind Hearts was on the verge of shutting down. Funding sources had dried up over the years, the staff was going without pay, and the kids were only being fed once a week at the Care-Point. But that was before Children's HopeChest came alongside the team at Kind Hearts to develop a sponsor program.

Today - Kind Hearts serves almost 150 happy, healthy, rambunctious kids providing nutritious daily meals, clean water, clothing, medical care, Christian discipleship and an education! Our 4 small classrooms at Kind Hearts are literally overflowing with students.

This is the current school building at Kind Hearts where 150 kids squeeze into 4 small classrooms. 
A new school building will enable the CarePoint to enroll up to 300 kids!!!

Please click to http://donate.hopechest.org/goto/karen to make a secure donation
toward this project. 

In Ethiopia, orphaned and destitute children cannot afford an education. The school fees, books and uniforms are simply beyond their means. Without an education, the vicious cycle of poverty continues from generation to generation.

At Kind Hearts, that cycle of poverty has been broken for 150 kids and their care-givers!  But in order to enroll more students in September 2012 and advance the older students into higher grade levels, we need to build a new school building at Kind Hearts.

The new school building will mirror the current building with 4 classrooms.  Desks, chairs and school equipment will be needed to furnish the classrooms. In addition, with the completion of the deep water well, we now have fresh, clean water readily available at the Care-Point to supply a bathroom and shower facility.

The bathroom facility will house both boys and girls bathrooms, along with a shower in each area. Currently, a concrete slab with a hole in the floor is the only "bathroom" available at Kind Hearts. 150 kids using a hole in the floor - it's not only dangerous, but very dirty. None of the kids have running water at home, so the shower facility will be a much-needed place to bathe and wash clothes.

This project is perhaps our most important project to date at Kind Hearts. We have drilled a well, built a kitchen, provided school uniforms and books, and every single child has a sponsor family they have come to know and love. The new school building will enable Kind Hearts to double in size and serve up to 300 orphaned and desititute children!

Please click to http://donate.hopechest.org/goto/karen to make a secure donation toward this project. 
 





Your donation toward this project will profoundly impact the lives of these kids - meeting their basic needs now and providing an education that will enable them to provide for their families and even become the future Godly leaders of their country.


Please join me by making a donation to fund the new school building at Kind Hearts, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Your donation will go directly to this project which will change the lives of many more children!

Please click to http://donate.hopechest.org/goto/karen to make a secure donation toward this project. 


This project is urgent - the new school building needs to be built by September in time to enroll new children for the next school year!  I will be travelling to Ethiopia in November with a team of volunteers and we will be able to see the new school first-hand and meet the new kids!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

JOIN ME IN ETHIOPIA?



We have a team of volunteers from all over the USA beginning to get ready for a trip to Ethiopia, November 9-19, to work with the kids at Kind Hearts, Trees of Glory and Kechene CarePoints. 

Right now - there are about 150 children attending each of these Children's HopeChest CarePoints - a total of 450 kids who no longer ...
  • go to bed with hunger gnawing in their bellies
  • feel sick from the water they drink
  • yearn to go to school (knowing that education is the key to breaking the chains of poverty!)
  • suffer with a lingering illness or infection that a simple antibiotic would cure
  • lack hope for their future
Each year - our team of volunteers spends 10 days in Ethiopia working one-on-one with these precious kids, who have already come to know the love and provision of a sponsor family.  Teaching and mentoring, hugging and touching, encouraging families, checking on projects (like the deep water wells, kitchens and poultry farms). 

For most of these kids - just getting the chance to feel the loving arms of a mommy or daddy wrapped around them while they nestle into your lap to have a book read to them, is one of many reasons they look forward to our visit!

There are just a few spots left for our trip in November - Contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you are interested in joining the team this year!  Total trip cost is approximately $2,600-$2,900 depending on airfare from your nearest airport. 

The last few spots will fill fast, contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com















Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's a Kumquat?


What's a kumquat?

I had no idea. 

Emme was at the grocery store with me, and she pointed to a bin of small, oval-shaped fruit that sort of looked like oranges. 

We read the litte sign labeld "kumquat".  And Emme asked if we could buy a few to try them.

She tried one in the car on the way home.  She picked off a bit of the peel asking me if you peel them before you eat them.  "I have no idea," I responded.  "Wait til you get home and google it."

But she kept picking at it and tasting it - the peel tasted sweet and actually seemed edible.

Then she bit into it - and made this face.


Once we got home and googled it, we discovered that the peel IS sweet, but the inside is sour.  That's what makes the fruit so intriquing - the sweet and the sour.

You're supposed to pop the entire fruit (peel and all) into your mouth and chew it all together - then you get a suprising and yummy mix of sweet and sour.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CLICK PICK of the week!

Most of the time, a photo is carefully planned. Several angles are tested, various exposures and apertures are tried to get the perfect shot with just the right lighting and depth of field. And other times, the "click" is lucky (right place, right time) and a great shot is discovered after the fact. Here's my CLICK PICK of the week (taken last summer).


We had found caterpillars and put them in a screened container with leaves to munch on.  They ate their fill, formed cocoons - and then emerged a few weeks later.  They tentatively stepped onto one of the kids' fingers, fanned their wings slowly, and then suddenly flitted into the sky.

Monday, May 21, 2012

HERE I AM. SEND ME.



We have a team of volunteers from all over the USA beginning to get ready for a trip to Ethiopia, November 9-19, to work with the kids at Kind Hearts, Trees of Glory and Kechene CarePoints. 

Right now - there are about 150 children attending each of these Children's HopeChest CarePoints - a total of 450 kids who no longer ...
  • go to bed with hunger gnawing in their bellies
  • feel sick from the water they drank
  • yearn to go to school (knowing that education is the key to breaking the chains of poverty!)
  • suffer with a lingering illness or infection that a simple antibiotic would cure
  • lack hope for their future
Each year - our team of volunteers spends 10 days in Ethiopia working one-on-one with these precious kids, who have already come to know the love and provision of a sponsor family.  Teaching and mentoring, hugging and touching, encouraging families, checking on projects (like the deep water wells, kitchens and poultry farms).  For most of these kids - just getting the chance to feel the loving arms of a mommy or daddy wrapped around them while they nestle into your lap to have a book read to them, is one of many reasons they look forward to our visit!

There are just a few spots left for our trip in November - Contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you are interested in joining the team this year!  Total trip cost is approximately $2,600-$2,900 depending on airfare from your nearest airport. 

The last few spots will fill fast, contact me if you are interested!

HERE I AM.  SEND ME!















Saturday, May 19, 2012

Video from Ethiopia!

When Joey Austin's team of volunteers was in Ethiopia in March, they created this video to summarize their experiences.  Joey's team spent time at 4 different projects, and Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints are both featured in this video. 

For Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory sponsor families - enjoy this video clip and see if you can spot your sponsor child in any of the photos!

By the way - the still image in the video frame below (before you start the video) is Joey Austin and her sponsor child, Hyder, who attends Kind Hearts!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Water Flows!


Fresh, clean and abundant water is flowing at Trees of Glory CarePoint in Ethiopia!  In this drought-ravaged, rural area of Ethiopia, access to a deep-water well is of critical importance, not only for Trees of Glory CarePoint - but also for the surrounding villages!

For the CarePoint, which presently serves 150 children, a deep water well provides precious water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing clothes.  Before the well was bored, the staff walked to the river or the spigot in the nearby village to haul water on the backs of donkeys - a very labor intensive and time intensive process. 

But that has all changed. 

When I was at Trees of Glory CarePoint in November, Simret, the founder of the CarePoint, and I were discussing the dramatic changes that could take place once this well was drilled.  She explained to me that once the well was in place, she would be able to expand enrollment and eventually serve up to 300 orphaned or destitute children.

She was also looking forward to being able to provide a place for the children to bathe and wash their clothes.  In this dusty, rural area - water is scarce, and much too precious to spare for bathing or washing clothes.  I doubt that most of the children had ever worn clean clothes or had bathed more than once or twice a year.  That too - is about to change.

When our team of volunteers is in Ethiopia working with the kids each year, it's such a luxury to arrive back at the Guest Home and be able to take a shower (sometimes it's not even a warm shower, but it's a shower nonetheless) and wash away the dirt and sweat and smells from a day of hard work.  That simple luxury is something the kids at Trees of Glory have never experienced - but they are about to!

For the nearby villages - this well is life giving.

Not only is it clean, pure water - without the dirt and parasites that come from the tainted river - but for many families, walking to a water source consumes a large part of the day.  Some children don't attend school because they walk 1-3 hours to the water source, and then walk 1-3 hours to bring it home.  It is not uncommon to see a group of young girls walking together with a large yellow jug balanced on their hip or their head.  Much of their day is consumed with hauling water for their family's survival.

With a deep water well at Trees of Glory - life will now change for so many people in the surrounding villages, as well as the CarePoint.

Thank you to the TOG sponsor families and donors who made this possible with your generous donations and your constant advocation for these kids!!




A small tin hut near the well-head houses the electrical system to pump the water to the CarePoint. 


The Poultry Farm project at Trees of Glory CarePoint is also nearing completion!  The building is nearly finished and the equipment to roost the chickens and help with egg production is starting to arrive!  Soon - chickens and chicks will arrive and egg production will begin!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The simple things ...

Our favorite vacation destination is Sanibel Island, Florida and our favorite restaurant is a great little place called RC Otters (it's actually located on Captiva island).  We always ask for a table outside, where we can enjoy the weather and hear the live band.  Their fried grouper is THE BEST on the island!! - and we almost always get our favorite server, Nina!



Not only is the food and atmosphere outstanding and very island-y - but they have white paper tablecloths that get doodled on while we wait, and Wesley LOVES their ring-toss game.




He stands in line, patiently waiting his turn while we wait for our meal.  He's finally figured it out and can land the ring on the hook several times.





Funny how the simple things are so much fun.