What a day!
Exciting! Exhausting! Thrilling. Overwhelming. Lots of details. A few tears (most of them were by people littler than me…). Lots of smiles. And Day 1 at the New EHE Day Care came to a close!
It was a big day at both centers. The old center is now our Baby Day Care and houses 49 kids under the age of 2! That place was…not so happy…today. Those new little ones struggle when they are first untied from Mama’s back and put into the arms of strangers for the day.
As I walked through the rooms to see how everyone was doing, I saw half the room sniffing, lip out, teary-eyed, scared of this forenji. The other half of the children were playing happily, smiling and waving as I came near. I was reminded that not too long ago, these children were the scared ones, but they’ve settled into a place where they are surrounded by love, secure in knowing that Mama will come back at the end of the day and that their needs are being met in ways that they weren’t before. The contrast was stark. My heart was full. I look forward to getting to know these little ones, watching them grow and develop with proper nutrition and health care, and seeing them develop into who God created them to be.
I didn’t venture into the baby day care with my camera. Just the site of my forenji face was enough to make those kids cry, let alone the unknown beast – the camera! So, you’ll just have to trust me when I say there are some teeny tiny amazing little bundles that have joined us! Photos to come in the future when I am not so scary…
Day Care #2 – our new house! – is housing our 2 & 3 year olds. 52 of ‘em! That place is hopping! Wide-eyed preschoolers joined the group not knowing what to expect, with tears slipping down their cheeks. They were first met by a nutritious breakfast that made a few souls think this place wasn’t so bad, but we hadn’t won them over completely.
So we moved on to Plan B – BUNA!
Things were beginning to look up when it was finally time for one of my favorite times of each day – music time! This is a time when you get your grove on and joint in the singing, dancing, clapping, jumping, and all around fun. There’s not a body in the room that isn’t jivin’ at least a little.
Music time is a way to work up an appetite, so the kids then headed off to lunch. By this time, there were smiles all around.
Then it was off to nap, followed by some time reading books. (And yes, it was an official grand opening. I was “christened” – pooped on by a little boy who was sitting on my lap as I was reading him a book. Apparently, his pants had slipped down when he sat on my lap, so he pooped on my pant leg. But, maybe that’s too much information…)
After a fresh fruit snack, it was time for the mamas to return. What a glorious time! Moms & children reunited after the day. Families brought back together – staying together. Orphan prevention. This time of day always gets my heart. This is the way it was intended to be. It is good. Very good!
Beautiful. Simply beautiful. The way a child’s face and a mama’s face light up when their eyes first lock at the end of the day.
What about our 4 & 5 & 6 year olds? They attend a local school and join us after their day is done.
One little story from today. Hana. She’s one tough cookie. So is her mama. That’s probably what’s kept them together. Hana was one of our very first kids in the project a year and a half ago. When she first saw me, Hana didn’t cry . She scowled. I have never seen a little baby scowl like Hana could. Her eyebrows would form an insanely deep, intense furrow, and her eyes would pierce me. And it happened every. single. time. I would walk in the room or glance her way. Over this past year and a half, we have had the privilege of watching Hana grow. Watching her take her first steps. Hearing her learn to talk. Watching her bloom. Now, Hana doesn’t scowl. She smiles. A big, deep, somewhat-mischievous grin. Today, I watched Hana run carefree through the compound while she was waiting for her mom.
I remembered that little scowling baby from what seems like yesterday. I am thankful for this privilege.
Now, the sky is dark. The city is quiet (well, except for the dogs and hyenas, but…). Day one of a new adventurous journey is complete. I can’t wait to see what all God has in store for these 40 new kids and their families. I can’t wait to watch mamas and children come to life as they have the weight of mere survival lifted off their shoulders and they begin to grow and thrive. Sweet! But, for now, I’m going to bed, because it’s late and I’m happily exhausted. And tomorrow is Day 2 of this new adventure!
If you would like to partner with one of these children and their mamas to see families preserved, orphans prevented, souls blossom, check out the family profiles at http://www.embracinghopeethiopia.com/sponsorships/#.UJLQYfX2KuI, choose a family to come along side, and click the “sponsor” link!