Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ethiopia 2014 - day 3 part 2...Hope for the Hopeless Drop In Center

After we left our home visits in Korah and made the trek through the thick mud back to the vans, we headed out for a quick lunch and then straight over to an orphanage for street kids who have been abandoned.  The name of the place is called Hope for the Hopeless and there are 3 centers located throughout Addis Ababa and the countryside.

This afternoon, we went to the original H4H center known as the drop in center. This is the place where most new referrals are brought, sent, or just show up. There are currently 13 children living there...11 boys and 2 girls. They are all between the ages of 10 and 16 and are amazing kids! They are soft spoken, mild mannered, and kind to each other. They are thrilled to see the white vans pull up with all of the "firenges" (white people) inside as they can only assume we are there with donations and fun things to do.

Today was no different. I found out that this particular Hope for the Hopeless location had had the same blankets on the beds for 8 years...yes 8 years! That means these blankets have been through numerous kids, wear and tear, and are worn as thin as thin can be. It also means that on the cool nights in Ethiopia, these kids probably don't get as warm as they need to. So on the way to see the kids, we stopped and purchased brand new thick, soft, warm blankets large enough to cover their beds!

When we arrived, I could not wait to get these blankets out and put them on their beds. As we were unloading them from the vans, you would have thought we were Santa bringing Christmas gifts to town. There were a few boys in particular who made sure to point out their bed in the boy room (there were 8 beds in that room) and pick out which blanket design they wanted on theirs. They were thrilled! And then what thrilled them almost as much was when I took the plastic that covered the blankets and created ponchos for them because it was raining outside. They LOVED this!!! Haha!

After the blanket and poncho deal was done, we made our way to the main room and started handing out blessing bags, new shoes, and started our party with the teens. It was SO.MUCH.FUN. I have never laughed so much nor danced so much in Ethiopia as I did at this H4H location this year. While the kids were being called over a few at a time to get their new outfits, a few girls on our team and myself, along with the two girls living at H4H cranked up the tunes on our iPhones and had a dance party right there. We all took turns getting in the middle of the circle showcasing our moves while the rest of the circle had to imitate it. I will be the first to admit that I am as soul-less on the dance floor and as white as white can be when it comes to dancing. It's sad really. But I had a blast nonetheless. We also painted fingernails, did puzzles,  made crafts, played balloon volleyball, and soccer outside. This was such a fun afternoon full of laughs and joy. A great balance to the morning.

Shelly and Kenny getting to work on those blessing bags...searching for the right sizes

This guy here...he can count to 100 in English and proved it as he and I played balloon volleyball and counted to 100 as we hit it back and forth to each other. So proud of him!

Michelle painting nails of this gal. She has only been here for 3 months and her mom lives in the Lafto area where our guesthouse is. She told me that her father died a year ago and her mom couldn't afford to take care of her anymore so she had to leave. She came here and is living here now. 

Megan and Hope with our volley-balloon man! 

This guy! There are no words for his infectious and joyous personality. He was straight up thrilled with his new outfit and the attention he was getting today. Look at that beautiful smile!

Choosing some new shoes...

Don't hair is wet from rain and sweat - it was a dance party after all and these two beauties were making me dance and try to pull some rhythm from somewhere deep never appeared but good grief I tried!