by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
April 26, 2018
The past two days have been non-stop activity interacting with the energetic toddlers and babies in our Mana Gammachuu (Joyful Place) orphanage, brainstorming with our staff and meeting with government officials. I leave tomorrow for Phase II of my trip full of optimism for our continued work with abandoned children.
When I first come to the orphanage after being gone for some months, I quietly sit among the children and play with those who are willing. Slowly but surely the children get used to my presence and begin crawling on my lap wanting to play. They are so beautiful, each in his or her unique way. My heart swells with thanksgiving that God has allowed me to be part of His plan for these lives that have had an incredibly rough start.
We have adoptive families for all but three of our current children and we know many new little ones will be added, also needing a family. It is time once again to put on an adoption seminar to cast vision for the Christian community to embrace the opportunity to provide family for children found abandoned in their town. Our core staff recently attended a conference in Addis Ababa addressing the orphan crisis in Ethiopia from a Christian perspective. They came away refreshed and eager to inspire Christian families by hosting local adoption workshops.
There are three children living in Mana Gammachuu who might have birth families that could be a potential family for them. However, finding appropriate birth family and verifying their ability to parent takes time and, in fact, may never happen. We are going to set up a foster family network of families selected from churches to be a temporary family for these children until such time as they can be returned to a family member or be freed for adoption.
My colleague, Abonesh, and I gave a morning training to the nannies and nurse to address some protocols but mostly to express appreciation for the dedicated care they lavish on the children and also to get feedback from them about areas that could be improved. I am so pleased with the caliber of our staff and their heart for the children. We are blessed indeed!
We have been at our physical location for five years and it is time for a bit of a facelift. We are setting up a new garbage area with metal garbage cans, painting all the interior walls, fixing pipes in our bathroom as well as a dysfunctional outdoor sink. Today we got estimates to build a new table for our toddler room and a wooden bench to replace upholstered chairs that are falling apart. The nurse will be getting a new storage cabinet and office chairs will be replaced.
We are looking for a commercial grade clothes dryer, too. Hanging clothes outdoors during the rainy season is a bit counter-productive, although they get a good second rinse with rain water! We haven’t yet found what we are looking for, but we will!
The nannies at Mana Gammachuu are amazing women. Their tenderness toward the children is immediately obvious.
The cook prepared a great snack for us!
Everyone loves to see photos of children now in the U.S.
I remember my buddy Gebita!
It was a truly wonderful time spent with our dedicated nannies and the precious children in their care!