Eight hours of either construction or potholes made me think what it must have been like going West in a covered wagon! Abebe, Tezera and I left with our sturdy van sitting a little lower because of all the stuff we packed on top of it and in it. As I climbed in, I sort of felt like the Clampits heading to Californy – minus the rocking chair. We had clothes, blankets, diapers and bottles for two centers. We had disparate items to set up a kitchen for two centers (Gimbie is already mostly furnished), water tubs, stoves, injera keepers, potty chairs, mats and baby scales. But here we were in a good sized town called Nekemte. We had already rented a compound and this would be our first stop.

I was dismayed when we entered because the work we thought had been done, wasn’t. It definitely needed paint and a good cleaning! The only things in the room were five freshly constructed cribs. We drove to the Ministry of Finance office and collected the woman who has agreed to help our adoption project in Nekemte. Then we set out to find paint and a painter.

Because I don’t speak the language and can’t understand all the phone calls and conversations, I was surprised when a tall, good-looking man with a radiant smile showed up and said he could start to paint immediately. We bought creamy-yellow paint for the walls, white for the ceilings and bright blue for the windows and doors and met him at the center where he and his assistant began painting. The girl next door was hired to wash the windows and doors in preparation for a fresh coat of paint.

Our Project Coordinator for the Wollega area of Ethiopia (where our new orphanages are planted) came from Gimbie where he lives and together we visited the Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA). Without their goodwill, we cannot process children for adoption. Our Widows and Orphans Home has already submitted a project proposal which has been accepted, but Tezera was ready with all her paperwork, complete with the correct stamps and letters attached. The three women in this office welcomed us to their “zone” with open arms. At the moment they can only process abandoned children but within a few weeks their office will be opened to assign children and process all adoptions and they assure us they will help us however they can.

Next we visited the ‘city MoWA’ and had a similar reception. They, too, promised to use our services for the children who have been abandoned and have nowhere to go. We met the Mayor of Nekemte and some other officials and I was overwhelmed with their hospitality and warm greeting, as well as their assurances that we are welcome and needed in their town.

The painting was coming along splendidly, we hired a social worker and our team assembled at the hotel for a nice dinner where the MoWA ladies also joined us. It was a long and very busy day and I was ready for a good night’s sleep!