We are working hard at meeting the needs of the house each day, its not been too easy, but God keeps coming through. We were low on food in the store and going through the small money we had to selectively shop, and we were called that day by the head of Abia State Women’s Affairs to hurry and come into town because our NGO had been selected by the Governors wife to receive donations. So we rushed there and got to the event just minutes before they started calling the selected NGO’s up. We received 7 bags of rice, a bag of beans, cartons of pasta and Mr Noodles, toilet paper, yams, cartons of soap and Milo (a hot chocolate type drink). Upon our turn to meet Her Excellency and shake hands, she was so happy to see me and know we were working in her State. After they finished handing all the donations out, they asked me to be the Speaker of the Vote of Thanks address to Her Excellency on behalf of the State and all the homes that received donations. I said yes, and spur of the moment with help from the MC, wrote an address to give. The whole event of course was filmed and on TV and the news. So hopefully that has helped get the word out about who we are! We also saw two other friends of ours from in Abia that run motherless babies homes, and they also had been selected for donations.
Also in the last two weeks we have had some specific visitors come by who have been bringing us bottled water and bread! As we have to buy bread every day, it has been such a blessing. Thank you.
Welcome to our new little “son”, Michael!
Michael has finally moved in to live with us. We are so excited as we have been waiting months for him. Yesterday we welcomed him with open arms and he had a good day transitioning while meeting everyone. (Today has been a bit more difficult, but it will get better).
Michael is 2.5yrs old and suffered from Bacterial Meningitis just under over a year ago. He is a strong and brave boy to have survived, although he came out of it having lost the ability, to talk, walk, sit-up, control his limbs and more. It is hope with some intense physiotherapy and daily exercises from us, we will be able to get some muscle tone back in his legs, hips and arms, as well as help with some core body strengthening. He also needs support and work in the way of face/mouth muscle movement and vocal control. He can chew and swallow food (if its cut or mashed a bit) though and drink too! Yay!
Michael loves to smile and laugh and does try to talk to us although words just dont seem to come out. He is cute as ever and is going to be a great joy for us all in this house!
Since the word seems to have been spreading quickly of who we are and what we are doing here in this area (on top of the intense surprise factor when people learn we have been around going on 9 years) it seems we are now starting to hear of more situations. We have had to be so careful in our self description to try and eliminated misuse or misunderstanding of the Foundation, but in that it seems it is paying off as more cases are starting to come forward that fit what we do. There are so many people in need, so many in abject poverty, so many widows struggling with children, there is room for some many projects and programs. For us we have to stick to the guidelines and criteria that we have established so we may succeed at what we do. And as we continue to pray for the right cases and situations, and continue to clarify our criteria and the type of children we accept, all the while helping where we can (helping widows with rice, seriously impoverished families with our own clothes, etc), we are starting to see people come forward and ask for help. Identifying the type of children we have criteria for has been difficult in this area as the people have a great deal of pride in family and self. So much so that rather then admit they cannot care for a child of a late relative, they would keep the child and have it suffer. As we pray against that and show by our love and encouragement and support, we are slowly starting to see a change of heart. It is important for us to show that we are not judging the people or families here, only that we want to try and help where they are not capable.
*We are currently looking into two cases that fit our criteria, waiting on five cases that have been on going, waiting for two more that we hear are coming, and investigating three that dont quite fit our criteria but we will see how we can help.
We have had many more visitors over the last weeks then we have had in a long time. And these visitors are not coming anymore to see the “white people” but rather to discover what exactly is this “Wanted Children” they keep hearing about and seeing around. We have had some “big” businessmen, state politicians, Ezes, Reverends/Pastors and their church members, and some military men. All of them have also come with donations whether on the first visit or the second ones that followed a few days later. Again we pray this is the start of something good. Word seems to be spreading fast suddenly!
We have been able to attend two very large tribal council meetings with the rulers of the entire area of Isuikwuato. We were invited to both of them to come and share about the Foundation. These were extremely important and exciting invitations to get, which we have been waiting for a long time. We were well received at them, and were able to clearly outline the Foundation, its goals and objectives, criteria and needs, as well as the hopeful networking and involvement of these great community leaders. Good questions were asked and phone calls and visits to the home ensured over the next days! It is the start of something good we pray!
We had another birthday to celebrate here! Our “little” girl and first child in the home, has turned 9yrs old. After school lessons we had goodie bags with groundnuts/candies/biscuits/juice and a balloon each, we had some balloons around the house (note that balloons are the most coveted toy here), and some signs and ribbons. We all played games together, coloured, made beautiful butterfly crafts out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper (brought from Canada), read stories, and sang songs and dances listening to music. In the evening we had Nigerian soup for dinner and after with singing Happy Birthday, ate cookies brought from Canada and opened her presents. She got beautiful hand made card that Laurel made for us, new hairbands and a lovely set of three “my little ponies” that have hair clips and combs. Not only has she never had any toy before, let alone her own toys, she has never had a birthday celebration. Personally I have commenced to read her Birthday card over to her five times just this morning as she keeps wanting to hear it again and again. It just says it is for her on her birthday and how much we love her and are proud of her to grow and be a wonderful good child and love her family. As you can see, these things are so important, especially to children who have never heard these things, never felt loved or important, and never had anything belong to them, from a toy to even a house to stay in. Well, overall it was a wonderful celebration and day!
I am on the ground in the village after a bit of time away doing networking and promoting for TWCF. The children and staff have been managing remarkably in my absence. We certainly have a strong team and family here that are passionate about pursuing our goals and seeing them come to fruition.
The weather is very hot although it is rainy season, and the humidity slows everything down for us adults. Yet, the children still play, sing, dance and run around with great energy. Every night we are ‘Wowed’ by loud and amazing thunder and lightening shows. Although on a ‘damper’ note our laundry rarely dries and we are all wearing ‘damp’ clothes all the time (yes, that is a cheesy pun).
We are actively pursuing finding a second home as well as on the look out for more potential staff. Also we are in discussion over some land that looks great, so we ask for continued prayer in finding someone(s) here to purchase it on our behalf.
In the last few months we have had several offers of available land for purchase. While we had always hoped to have land donated it seems there are too many strings attached to something being given for “free”. We are happy to now understand that it may be best to purchase land so that the Foundation will outright hold the deed and ownership titles to the land. So with that said, many of the proposed sites are fairly suitable. We have our work cut out for us in weighing pros and cons of each site, while slowly enter negotiations to gain more information.
We are eager to find the right place so we can begin our permanent project site in Abia. It will be so wonderful to have our homes, and other facilities, built just the way we need them. Also, as time has been going and applications coming to the home for children to be placed, we are at capacity for our first home!! We need to have another home donated so we can continue accepting children while we work toward our permanent location.
So again we have a job cut out for us in now raising funds to purchase the land we decide on. Please join us in prayer, and spreading the word!!
Things have been busy as usual in the village home. With our new children trying to adjust and our older ones doing an amazing job of trying to share and be kind, we also have added new staff recently.
We have a wonderful new young man who has been with us since the start of February, his name is Peter. He lives in the home with us and helps with regular routine of the children, house duties, and supporting learning. We also changed our female house mom and are so happy to welcome a lovely young lady named Amaka. She is doing a fabulous job guiding the children in school learning and everyday routine. So Welcome!!!
We have exciting news…we have just accepted three new children into the home!! They arrived yesterday and are adjusting quite well!
There is Mercy who is around 4.5, Ijay who is about 3, and Emmanuel who is 1. They were in desperate need of bathing and food, and with help from our other children and staff are learning to pace themselves and adjust quite well. They are young enough that they are not too upset about the transition, or rather more excited to be sleeping in a house with a family and having food, after coming off the street begging for food and sleeping outside. It took some serious scrubbing and several buckets of water with Dettol soap to wash away the dirt and grime. We were lucky enough that we had one set of clothes in the house for each size of the new kids! Yay, God is good. So they each have a new set of clothes too.