Keeping 15 babies in dry diapers is a challenge even with four nannies and two clothes-washers on hand. They wash and dry between 75 and 100 diapers a day!!! The clotheslines at the orphanage are always full of cloth diapers and baby clothes that receive the added benefits of disinfectant and bleach from sunshine. But during the rainy season (June-September), it is hard to get clothes dry by this outdoor method.
At some point each day the skies darken, the air substantially cools and just before torrents of rain can soak everything, all available adults scramble to empty the clotheslines, laying the still damp diapers and clothes on any available indoor surface in the hopes they’ll finish drying. It is not an optimal scenario.
The last children adopted internationally from our Joyful Place orphanage were gratefully received into wonderful Italian homes. The Italian families stay connected to each other and meet for play dates and other reunions. One of the dads, Marco, speaks and writes English well and keeps in good touch with NewLife. Marco, on behalf of the other dads, asked what they could do to help the orphanage in a substantial way to express their gratitude for the care their children received prior to adoption.
The need? A clothes dryer! Seemed like a brilliant solution to the rain problem. But nothing is ever simple in Ethiopia. Marco worked tirelessly finding a clothes dryer that would work and then coordinated with Abebe (our country manager) to execute the mounds of paperwork it took to ship the dryer from Italy.
Once it arrived in Ethiopia, it was another formidable process of time and paperwork to finally see the dryer at the orphanage… where it sat on the veranda for months. The electrical at the orphanage needed to be enhanced to accommodate the dryer requirements, However, procuring a qualified electrician, a seemingly straightforward task, took… more time.
At last, a year-and-a-half later, our dryer is up and running! Under the oversight of our orphanage director, Ephrem, a shed has been constructed to house the new dryer and the cleaners have a new ‘wonder machine’ to make their work just a bit easier.
A huge thank you to the Italian families who made this possible and most especially to Marco and Abebe who should get medals for their perseverance.
It is the rainy season now and we are very thankful to have this modern convenience.