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.


  1. Oh LeeAnn, I love it! I'm so proud of all of you Hanks! Love you!

  2. It was a wonderful day! We definitely all left a little of our hearts in Shanto. Keep posting! I love being reminded of our trip!