Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thomas' musings

A few days were skipped and here we are at Dec. 6

Sunday December 6, 2009

Today was Family day at AHOPE. Family day is where the relatives or neighbors of the kids get to come and visit. This happens only 2 times a year. We were so fortunate to be here for such a wonderful and helpful event.

We waited for quite some time before Rahel's neighbor came. The event was a lot of fun. The older kids from Big AHOPE came to Little AHOPE and the kids had so much fun playing together. It was also great to see the reunion between some of the kids and their families and neighbors. The kids were so cute! One little boy befriended me and followed me around always wanting me to hold him. A number of kids would come up and ask to have their photo taken. They loved to see the picture afterward. During the event a group of older kids sang a song and acted out a skit.

The meeting with Rahel's neighbor was wonderful. Alemitu is her name. When Rahel's mother went to the hospital, Alemitu took Rahel in when no one else could. Alemitu was good friends with Rahel's mother Fantanesh. Alemitu brought a translator with her because she doesn't speak any English. Hannah runs a girls home in Addis Ababa and was the one who helped Alemitu find AHOPE for Rahel when she could no longer care for so many children. Alemitu has 3 beautiful girls of her own. Through conversation we learned that Hannah is from Utah! Wow. She raised her family in Salt Lake City! She is originally from Ethiopia. The girls' home that she runs is sort of like a YWCA for the local girls in certain areas in Addis Ababa. It's sort of like Young Womens...only Lutherine.

Rahel has a sister named Kidist. Alemitu took Kidist in when Fantanesh could no longer care for her. When Fantanesh died, Alemitu placed Kidist with her uncle and Rahel with AHOPE. Kidist is HIV negative. Alemitu is so sweet. You can see her love for Rahel and Kidist in her eyes. She truly wants the best for these girls. While talking with Alemitu, Melanie noticed that she didn't look very healthy and her eyes showed such sadness. Upon inquiring about Alemitu's health, Alemitu teared up and we knew. Alemitu is HIV positive. Hannah told us that it has progressed into AIDS and even on the medication, Alemitu's health is very unstable. She is so frail and petite. Hannah has so much admiration for this woman. She is a fighter. When she is not in bed too sick to move, she is out working hard labor to support her girls. Now to clarify - hard labor in Ethiopia is nothing like hard labor in the states. All the digging, hauling, cutting etc. is done by hand and mostly by women. Think construction without the big machines, tractors and tools. Alemitu's biggest fear is that she will die before her daughters are old enough and educated to take care of themselves. She doesn't want to leave them right now - if she does, they will have to beg on the streets. Melanie held her and cried with her and made her a promise that if she died, we would make sure that her girls would be taken care of. We will find them a family to adopt them here in the U.S. or we will sponsor them if they are too old for adoption.

Alemitu formally presented Rahel to our care, asked us to love her as our own and placed her hand in Melanie's. We thanked her for caring so well for our little Rahel and for Kidist, giving what little she had to care for them.

Beautiful Alemitu

All of us meeting and exchanging stories and information

Hannah, Rahel and Alemitu

Alemitu and I made a sweet connection despite the language barrier


Rahel's favorite caregiver. Just look at that smile.

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