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Monday, July 29, 2013

"You can hear it in their laughter ..."

I huddled around a table in Feburary in Colorado Springs, sharing ideas and past experiences with a team of coordinators planning their first trip to Ethiopia to work with a new CarePoint.  One of the coordinators, Susan Kyner, had joined me in Ethiopia a few years ago and was now partnering with her husband Jim, and Sarah and Daniel Dubois to work with a new CarePoint. 

During their trip to Ethiopia, they were able to visit Trees of Glory to grasp a vision of what can be accomplished through the partnership of all the sponsor families and Children's HopeChest!  Dan is a photographer (talented!!) and when his email appeared in my inbox once they returned from Ethiopia, I was anxious to see his photos.  This post will have A LOT of photos because Dan's photography is truly excellent and inspiring!  Enjoy!


From Dan ...

"We're here. As we step off the bus the first thing I notice isn't the stiffness in my legs from the two-hour trip but the quiet that has settled over our group. Normally chatty, we pause by the bus breathing in the beauty. The lush green grass. The rolling hills dotted with sheep and cows. This place, Trees of Glory, feels like an oasis. 

We're greeted by Simret who oversees the CarePoint. She wears a huge grin on her face and exudes an infectious joy. It is clear that she loves this place and these kids. Simret, working alongside Children's HopeChest and Karen Wistrom, has done great things here — and she's got big plans for the future.


As we walk she guides us along showing us the dorms and common space. 

We peek inside the kitchen where a huge pot of Shirowat is cooking, fueled by methane from the animal waste recovery system. We stop at the library with it's brightly colored walls and shelves full of books. 
Then it's off to the chicken house. I expect to see ten, maybe twenty chickens. I'm wrong. I walk into the chicken house and I'm met by the sound (and smell :-) of more than 200 chickens. Simret proudly shows us a box piled with eggs — all collected today. 

We walk across the field to another barn where she opens the door to nine milk cows and three calves.

We hike down to the river. Along the way we stop and Simret shows us the water pump that moves hundreds of gallons of water up the hill to two giant water tanks. 
Even when the power is out, Trees of Glory still has water from the gravity-fed tanks.
All of this is impressive. But when she tells us that most of it has been done in the last two years, it seems miraculous.

It's time to head up to the dining hall for lunch. As we walk back Simret suddenly stops. We're in a clearing, about 100 yards from the rest of the buildings. This, she informs us is where the prenatal and birthing clinic will be built. She asks if we would pray for God's blessing on this project. I have no doubt that it will be built. Simret is that kind of person and our God is that kind of God.
The Kyners see their sponsor child at TOG! 

The children here are joyous. Their lives have not been and will likely never be "easy". But God, through Simret, Children's HopeChest, Karen, and the sponsors, has brought these children and this community a place of peace and rest. 

Webit looking healthier than ever! 
This is a place that feels refreshing and safe. The children know that. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their laughter." 
Daniel Dubois pictured on the far right.
Thank you Daniel for the incredible photos from TOG!