Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome to Shanto

I have never experienced a welcome like the one we received in Shanto. People from miles came to greet us. There was singing, dancing, clapping and so many smiles. It was amazing!! We walked along a dirt road believing the welcome we were enjoying was our welcome to FOVC, but it was only one of the wonderful celebrations we received. When we approached the gate to FOVC, the children were all dressed in traditional clothing and school uniforms waiting for us. They had been waiting for hours and were so excited to see us. They began singing us songs and hugging us as we walked through those glorious gates. All the work it took for us to get to Shanto from the fund-raising to the travel to the sacrifices we made and the loved ones we left at home was all worth it for that moment.
The children, teachers, widows and staff members welcomed us like we were family. Habitamu, the child we sponsor found me before I could pick him from the crowd. It was love at first sight. He is even more stunning than his photo. He is shy young man who is soft spoken, caring and kind. Meeting him, his sister and their grandparents was something I will never forget. I am so proud to have him in our family. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Habitamu. I know he will do great things.The remainder of the day was spent playing with the children, watching a program they worked so hard to prepare for us and touring FOVC's facilities. We all had a day beyond words. I hope with all my heart we can go back to Shanto someday, for a piece of each of our hearts was left there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In the News

The Local newspaper wrote a nice story about our recent trip to Shanto! Click here to check it out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The road to Shanto

December 31, 2010 was a new years eve like none we have ever experienced. We began the morning relieved that three lovely Team Tasfa members woke up at 2AM unable to sleep and organized all the donations that were heaped in the guest house lobby. Since this was a big job and only a small portion had been organized, I was VERY happy these ladies took charge and accomplished so much in the middle of the night. THANK you gals! Next, we enjoyed a nice breakfast and joined some of the team members on a trip to the International Adoption Net (IAN) care center and Seleenat (an orphanage in Addis). On this trip, Kevin and I were able to share updated photos of Ada and tell the staff thank you again for bringing her into our lives. She is a true blessing! We also inquired about Ada's birth father in hopes of meeting him. We did not get to meet him on this trip, but did leave photos that we hope he will be given. We always want Solomon to know we love his little girl and are so proud she is our daughter. We took some photos of the children, played with them and enjoyed them so much. One great highlight to this visit was watching the kids write in the dirt on our driver's van. He let them write all over the car and it was so cute."IAN Care Center"
"a mimi (doll) we gave to the children last trip 18 months ago"
"Sign at Seleenat"
We soon returned to the guest house, packed up and began the several hour drive to Soddo. "the luggage!""We did get all the bags in/on our six cars"
I don't know how long the trip was suppose to take, but we were late leaving Addis Ababa and had to take an urgent bathroom break in a town along the way; which all lengthened the journey. It had grown dark and we were all ready to arrive in Soddo for a meal and good night of rest when we rounded that dreadful corner. It was a tight road and there were people everywhere screaming out for help and crying. A bus had fallen into one of the drainage ditches beside the road, tumbled over and many people were injured. Our team stopped to help. We dug through bags, found supplies, the doctors went to work helping people with various injuries and lives were definitely saved. The team was amazing! In the darkness, these people were terrified, overwhelmed with grief and in shock, but Team Tasfa worked together like we'd done it all before. I'm so proud to have been part of Team Tasfa that night even though the devastation it caused will always be a memory I wish I could forget.

Upon our arrival in Soddo we ate at a lovely restaurant and rang in the new year as we walked into our hotel. I remember thinking I can't wait until tomorrow.....Shanto is waiting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ethiopia Changed Our Lives!

Ethiopia trip #2 was heartwarming, heartbreaking and everything in between. We set off to do great things and I believe we did. Now that we are home, I've been trying to work through and process everything we saw, did, accomplished and wished we'd done while in Africa. This is my attempt to put into words what happened during our ten days in Ethiopia. Let's begin with day 1....

January 28 our first travel day, the South Dakota group (minus Amanda) made it to Denver no problem. Then weather related delays began causing each of our connections to be delayed and missed. STRESSFUL! We worked and worked to get on flights and were told it is not likely. Yet when that plane lifted off that runway, there we were sitting in a seat on our way to Addis! Lory had a way of working her magic and we all ended up arriving in Addis about 12 hours later than originally planned. From there, we hit the ground running. We breezed through customs, which was a blessing since we were very concerned about that part of our mission. Keep in mind there were close to 30 of us towing about 2000 pounds of donations plus our personal luggage totaling about 84 bags. And can you believe not a single bag was even scanned? Miracle for sure!
The guest house was wonderful and made us feel right at home. Then we visited Korah. You may remember some previous posts about Korah. Korah is a community that exists in the Addis landfill. If you haven't watched the video from August 9, 2010 on this blog, please go back and do that. Project 61 is awesome and we truly enjoyed our time visiting Korah, meeting the people, delivering food and praying with families and giving out Caramela (candy) and dresses to the children. We delivered about 200 dresses to the little girls in Korah. Amazing!Donation sorting, luggage shuffling, dinner at a lovely gallery and rest finished off Dec. 30.
"view from guest house"
Tomorrow half a day in Addis and our drive to Shanto...Stay tuned.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two more weeks!

There are only 14 more days until we leave for Ethiopia. A donation get together will be held sometime next week for the South Dakota team. We have many many pillow case dresses to split up, shoes, undies, soccer uniforms, backpacks for Project Gena, t-shirts, books, sewing kits, and many other items that will be so useful in Shanto.FOVC's new orphanage photo #1

If you haven't signed up to sponsor a child through the FOVC sponsorship program, please consider it! For $35 a month you could change the life of an Ethiopian child forever. If you don't feel you can commit to that amount, think about getting a group of friends/family together to sponsor a child together. Each person, could pay a couple of months up front and sponsor a child for the entire year! Then you could take turns writing to the child and encourage them to do well in school. The relationships you make with these children will make such a difference in each of your lives! For more information please email us bethechangeforever@hotmail.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holy Cow 19 days!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW....we cannot believe how time flies! Only 19 days until we leave for Shanto, Ethiopia! We are so excited, busy and did I say excited!!!! During the home stretch, if you are still considering supporting our mission, please order a t-shirt. We have very limited quantities left so order soon. These quality shirts would make a great gift for the Africa enthusiast on your list!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We have a Lucky winner

Here are some cute pictures of the kids right before Brooklyn pulled out the winning ticket.

They mixed them and mixed them and mixed them and mixed them some more.
And the winner is ----
GREG V. - Sturgis, SD!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Greg!!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who sold tickets for our raffle.
Together we sold 501 tickets!!! The top ticket sales person was Gayle M. with 152 tickets!!! She graciously donated her $50 prize back to Be the Change!!! Together we can Be the Change!!!