Having spent 2 weeks each in May, June, and July on sight, I am way overdue for an update! As you have probably seen on FB, the build is well underway. We have a US based green builder, Erik Keller, on sight, and that has had a very positive impact on our build. Erik volunteered to go over for 3 months to get the build moving, but after being there and realizing that everything moves significantly slower without having a local Home Depot, Erik hired on as our building manager and is in the process of getting a 2 year visa so that he can be on sight until the village is built. He has been a HUGE asset to Uryadi's Village! The first two buildings are well underway, at last! The realistic goal in place is that we will have 4 family houses build by the end of the year, and our goal is to move our children on sight before the end of 2016. I can't wait to get them there!
Our amazing permaculture expert, Warren Brush, was there with the team for the 2 weeks in July, and as always when he is on sight,so MUCH was accomplished! The "earth works" is now complete, the irrigation system is in place, and the precious rain water is now being harvested for times of drought. It is currently rainy season in Ethiopia, and we are loving ALL the rain falling! We are growing enough veggies on sight now to supply our kids with great variety, it is such a blessing to see them harvest and eat off our land, such a major step forward!
Another big step is that we have joined with the local government, and become licensed to place babies with local families for adoption! As you all know, the very best thing for a baby is to grow up within the love of a family, and we are grateful that we are now going to be able to provide this for some of our infants! It will be a slow process as we will need to provide training and support for families interested in adoption, and are currently working on implementing a screening and monitering process for prospective families. Local adoption is rather new in Ethiopia, but through the local churches, we have many interested families. Such a blessing for the infants in our care! (if you and sponsoring one of our babies who is lucky enough to have a family interested in adopting them we will let you know )The local government also asked us if we would be willing to provide "forever homes" to eligible (i.e. orphaned) street children in Soddo. These are the children who desperately need a home, an education, and a chance at life.... We were very happy to step up with a resounding YES!
On our trip in July we brought the first of these children home to our center. 12 year old Tigist was basically sold by her homeless mother to an older lady as a house maid, when the older lady died a few months ago, Tigist was left on the street. In that her mother had also been homeless, Tigist had no idea where she may be. Two months ago Tigist was hit by a car and brought to the government hospital. They kept her for two months, but when it was time for her discharge the local police were called as this young girl had nowhere to go.... We got the call and went up to the government hospital to pick her up and bring her "home'.... Tigist was still wearing the cloths she was hit in, complete with blood stains... Sorry for the graphic description, but I do want to share real life there with you all. We popped her in the shower and gave her clean cloths and many hugs...She was very timid at first, but quickly adjusted and is now happily bonding with her care center "sisters" Hannah, Jerusalem, and Lem Lem. My heart aches for children like Tigist, and I am grateful that we are able to provide homes for these children who SO deserve them.... There are more profound stories I would like to share with you, but I don't want to make this message too long, so I will share them over time :-)
Our team on the ground in Ethiopia are the real backbone to this project, Director Henok Desta, Program Manager Sister Amarech Gabrela Bikamo, Project Manager Terefe Dagne, and their teams, work tirelessly and with so much dedication to the project and the children we serve. We could not do this without these amazing individuals and our staff as a whole!
Thank you for your interest and support, thank you for being part of our village and helping support this amazing community of children.....
With So Much Gratitude,