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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Care Packages Delivered to Ethiopia!!

My friend Joey Austin from St Joseph, MO is returning home now with her team of volunteers after spending time with the kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory in Ethiopia.  Joey's team generously volunteered to deliver a care-package to each child from their sponsor family (nearly 300 packages for 300 kids!!!) and we will be getting photo updates once they are home and recovered from jet lag.

All of these packages have now been delivered to the
kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory in Ethiopia. 
Thank You to Joey Austin's team of volunteers!

On Monday and Tuesday, the team worked with the teaching staff and students at Kind Hearts, and on Wednesday they visited the kids and staff at Trees of Glory.  Joey's team raised enough funds before the trip to be able to provide a new pair of shoes for every child at Kind Hearts (nearly 150 kids).  The kids were measured for shoes before the team arrived, and the shoes were delivered to the care-point during their visit so they could personally provide each child with a pair of shoes fitted just for them!

Here is an excerpt from Joey's blog ...

After a LONG year waiting to see the clean water well (100 meters deep!) we finally were able to see this long awaited project finished! Near the well, three workers were manually digging a large trench to hold the pipeline which will take the water to the Kind Hearts site. In 80 degree heat for eight hours they broke through rock and dirt to clear the way for the trench. Tough work, but what fantastic yields their toil will bring!

The kids were very well behaved and tolerated our attempts at Ethiopian dancing and songs. There are never enough hands to hold theirs, or enough people to throw kids in the air, sing songs with or do (my personal favorite) hand clapping games.

While we were playing with the kids, our teacher crew (Lanette Bocquin, Connie Thornton, Kelsey Lane & Grace Dahlgren) was able to spend some quality mentoring time with the staff at Kind Hearts. They discussed goals, education, classroom skills and much more. What a great opportunity to mesh two cultures and discuss their passions for education.

Even in the midst of great poverty, it is obvious there is a lot of love here between the teachers and kids. They love to be noticed and spend time with anyone who will catch their eye.

Here is another update from Joey's blog from Tuesday when shoes were delivered ...

We squeezed every moment out of our last day at Kind Hearts and even then could have spent just a few more moments with the kids. After singing, dancing, the lesson/craft from the teachers and a quick lunch we were ready to hand out the new shoes!

The brand new leather shoes spilled out onto the tables awaiting their new owners. The children were first lined up that received a sponsor package from their parents, and if you’ve ever witnessed your own children running down the stairs on Christmas morning, then you can begin to imagine the anticipation the children were experiencing as they waited their turn to open their package with a team member and translator.

Kind Hearts kids praying a prayer of thanksgiving!

They oo’d and ah’d over pencils, new underwear, socks, stickers, suckers and more. Each letter was read to the child and many pointed with excited eyes at those sponsors who have visited before! They would point to the picture then back at themselves...”They know me!” one child said.

My personal favorite moment of the day was spent with Hyder (my sponsor child). He was very reluctant last year to spend time with me (no jokes here please!!) and warily said goodbye. This year, he hugged me when he saw me, and throughout the day would catch my eye and smile. When we received his package, he sat on my lap as we went through his package. (I do believe his favorite was the MIZZOU shirt...Go Tigers...)

Joey with her sponsor child, Hyder, at Kind Hearts.

At the end, he hugged me and let me kiss him, then whispered “I love you”. It was a tiny little raspy whisper that melted my heart and the tears began to pour down my face. I’ve loved him for a lot longer than he’s loved me and finally he is reciprocating! I can only liken it to the way God longs for us to KNOW LOVE him...then when we do...WOW!

Each child received a new pair of shoes and their smiles and giggles were contagious. Most children have shoes, although many have more “holes than soles.” Their feet get injured on the dusty, rough terrain and they do not complain and often go barefoot. It was our honor at St. Joseph Christian School to raise funds to purchase shoes for each child. They were measured before-hand so the shoes would fit perfectly. They ran as they left the table and held their dirty, dusty shoes in their other hands. We remarked that many of them strutted away from the table with new confidence. What a pleasure to give them such a special gift!

THANK YOU to Joey and the volunteer team from St Joseph Christian School for demonstrating the love of family and the love of God to our kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints in Ethiopia!!

1 comment:

Apryl said...

I'm so excited to see pictures and hear more details! Thanks for sharing, Karen!