We first drove to the office/headquarters for an organization called Yezelelam Minch. Here we were briefed on the program. YM is doing great things in this area of Addis; providing incentives for families in the village to assist in caring for the orphans there, running a feeding program, a baby orphanage and, on this day, teaching the children in a Saturday School class. In addition, YM has a sponsorship program (similar to Project 61 and Compassion International). Our team member's (Zack) family sponsors a girl from YM and, on this day, he was able to meet her.
After our briefing, we loaded the vans back up and drove to the area where the children were in class (and where they would be receiving lunch). When the children were dismissed, we spent some time in the courtyard area (between the church/school and the orphanage) painting nails, handing out candy and small toys, playing games and just visiting. At one point, the skies opened up and it rained and hailed for some time. This didn't quench the spirit of the kids or rain on our parade. It passed quickly...as did our time there as, soon, we were told that the children needed to head back into the village so that their parents/guardians wouldn't worry about them.
During our time there, one little girl attached herself to me. She was such a cutie and wanted me to hold her at all times. While in my arms, she would constantly touch and rub my face and kiss me over and over again.
Our guys had been having a soccer game with the older boys so, before we left, they had to pose for some team pictures. These boys were so proud and had had the greatest time.
We left YM and drove to Restoration Orphanage. This orphanage recently was in trouble and the children there were not doing well. Ashli York is a young lady who took this same OH trip this time last year. She fell in love with the people there and packed up and moved to Addis full time in October. God is using her mightily there as she has been working with Project 61 at Korah. However, she recently was asked to take over this struggling orphanage and it was a HUGE blessing for us all to see the fruits of her labor. This orphanage is beautiful and the children, clearly, are happy and loved. Several of the children have been chosen and will soon join their forever families. Unfortunately, I can not post pictures of the faces of children in orphanages but trust me when I say that we were blessed to see the care and love that these children are receiving. We had a fun time making t-shirts and mugs with these children. They also entertained us with several songs before we left. Again, I can't reiterate how well these children are thriving here. Good for the heart.