Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas Wish

I came home from work a few days before Christmas to discover the ginger bread houses the kids had worked on that day. The boys decided to make their own style of home instead of being confined to the directions on the box. This is the result of their labors. We have probably the most unique gingerbread house there is.

Their house reminded me so much of Angel Cottage in Nairobi. It is a home that is incomplete. It has no roof. It cannot be lived in yet. Angel Cottage has been on my mind a lot recently and the need for completion was hammered home by an e-mail from Beatrice. Trying to be such a wonderful steward of money that has been donated, she has been purchasing items needed for construction as money comes in and at the best prices available. She was able to get a wonderful deal on some bags of cement that will be needed for the slab that will be the roof. The bags of cement are being stored. Her e-mail brought to our attention that if we store these for too much longer they will become unusable, as moisture will inevitably cause them to harden. It is very difficult to find a dry place to store these with the rainy seasons, and climate in that area. The thought of going backwards on this project was really devastating. We just can't go backwards.

Angel Cottage to me is an example of all that Angel Covers works towards. Yes, it will be a home for orphans and deaf children, but it is more than that. Right now there are deaf children that are being turned away because there isn't enough room in the current Angel Cottage. That means they also aren't in school at Humble Hearts because it is too far and too dangerous for them to walk on a daily basis. What it really means is they aren't in school at all, because there aren't other deaf schools that children from the slums of Nairobi can attend due to the costs. Instead they remain at home. They don't know sign language. Their families don't know sign language. They have no way to communicate to the world around them. Their families incomes are so small, that they most likely don't eat on a regular basis. In many cases they may be abused, as the families don't know how to communicate with them and get frustrated with these children they consider an embarrassment. This is not the way children are meant to grow up.

Angel Cottage would change all of that. It would mean a place to live where they are understood. A chance to learn how to communicate with the world around them. A chance to receive an education. A chance to have three meals a day, and a chance to be cared for medically with things that could normally not be afforded. It is the holistic program for children that Angel Covers strives to help create. But it has been slow. The poor economy here has not helped. My Christmas wish is that Angel Cottage will be completed in the first six months of 2009.

My jaw fell open two days before Christmas when I received news of a donation for Angel Cottage. It was a wonderful donation from a very kind individual that will allow the slab for the roof to be completed. Not going backwards on the project, but forward! It took me from feeling somewhat defeated to being excited and energized about it again.

I need your help. Spread the word. Donate a couple of dollars if you can. Make it your New Years resolution to help see this project completed.

Christmas day was wonderful. I enjoyed time with Kari and the kids. We gave each other wonderful things, but those items just don't fill the voids in life that we know about. This is my, not so secret anymore, Christmas wish! What is yours?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maria's Bouncers

In June, Angel Covers was asked to accept donations for baby bouncers in honor of Maria Chapman's life. The outpouring of support for this important project was overwhelming, and recently 186 bouncers were sent to Hope Foster Home in honor of Maria. These bouncers will be used in Shaohannah’s Hope Healing Home to care for medically fragile infants.

Through such a terrible tragedy, babies will have the equipment they need to develop into healthy, active children. A huge THANK YOU goes to everyone who helped keep Maria's memory alive through the precious children of SHHH.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The babies of Huaibei

How appropriate that we received the Huaibei nutrition update at Thanksgiving time! As I sat down to a huge meal with family and friends on Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help thinking about the beautiful faces of children who have enough food because of all of you. The children of Huaibei are happy and healthy because of your support. These children are smiling more, crying less, and sick less often because they are getting hundreds of cans of additional formula and rice cereal.

Given the recent concerns about Melamine in Chinese formula, we were so relieved to learn that none of the children in Huaibei developed kidney stones. Angel Covers only purchases Nestle’s formula, which has not been shown to have elevated Melamine levels. We are so thankful that the children of Huaibei have remained safe and healthy through this terrible scare.

Additional baby bouncers were also recently sent to Huaibei. Although this isn't part of the nutrition program, the bouncers will allow the babies to be out of their cribs more often and develop fine and gross motor skills. Because there are fewer infants in Huaibei right now, the children will be able to use them even more often.

Another 11 cases of Nestles Neslac formula were purchased for the next 3 months. Combine with other formula, rice cereal, and table foods the children of Huaibei will continue to be happy and healthy. Just look at their faces! You have created these chubby cheeks and for that I will be forever thankful!