Wednesday, June 21, 2006

AHOPE - a must see while in Addis- make room for books, gloves and pain medication!

This is the main compound-and where the little kids live- the building directly in front of you is the main office. to the left is the kids bedrooms and the living/dining area.

See the bright blue gate at the end of the driveway? That is what the gate looks like from the outside...look for it!

This kind woman gave us the grand tour- she was wonnderful She explained that most of the children are now on Antiretroviral medication and that has increased their need for fund for the food budget. They are caring for nearly 60 HIV positive children. They are looking to exaplns this project and care for kids in the various regions of Ethiopia- basically subsidising a family to care for an HIV positive child in their own home.

This is the nurse I met with- stocking their medications. They need everything they can get because many of these things are expensive in Addis.

This is where they eat- its a long table but I had to crop out th little boy. They spend "most of their time" in this room.

This is a bed- they all look like this- there are about 6 bunk beds in each room. Each child has their own bed.

This is the littel girl receiving her gift in the small schoolroom- it was hard to stay composed while giving her this doll. She looked like I had just handed her a check for a million dollors. I am not exaggerating. that was what giving this girl a doll was like.

While in Addis, I was able to visit AHOPE, which is an orphanage for children with HIV. It as an incredibly moving experience. I actually went three times. I was staying at a guest house which was no more than a 5 minute easy walk to AHOPE and so it was easy to go back after I visited the first time. There are two orphanages. One is for the little kids and one for the older kids. I did not know that the little kid orphanage was actually the “old” Layla house. The little kid orphanage is pretty plain- but there is a big paved area to play in outside and they have this room where they eat and hang out which is nice and cool.

The older kid orphanage- is really nice- it has a few gardens and these little school rooms and the big girls were decorating their “dorm” with some balloons and streamers when I was there.

If you have never been to a developing country you need to know that when I say “nice” its nice by the standards of that country- you do not leave there thinking, “Wow these kids have it made!” You leave there thinking, “What can I do to make this better for these kids?”

Some of the kids have been adopted- its amazing because even a year ago that was a near impossibility. And now more are preparing to go home with families. They have so much hope that the kids will find homes and are so open and accepting- I showed up unannounced with gifts for a child who a good friend of mine and fellow CWA family sponsors- they immediately gave Mark and I the grand tour- the nothing to hide tour- they let us take pictures of the kids with the gifts we had brought from the Qualls. We are not allowed to post them- but only use them privately to thank donors etc…so on my blog I have several cropped photos. It was hard to get any pictures without kids because you would take one and suddenly a child would appear.

I know families have come and done crafts with the kids, taken a few for ice cream, played games, kicked a ball around. I spent a lot of time with the nurse because HIV is my specialty and so we hung out and talked a lot and then played with the cars that were donated.

I wish I had done more and I wish I had brought more for them. I brought MANY MANY things that CWA needed and I am glad I did that because they are new and have needs- but I wish I knew more about what AHOPE needed and had figured out a way to bring more- we barely got through each check point with all of the stuff we had!

The last day I was there , I met with the director, Sidisse. She was really sweet and she wrote down some of their current needs. I will post the list hear. I think any family who wants to see a little bit more of Addis and Ethiopia and how HIV has affected not just the children we are adopting but how it affects the children many of whom will be left behind.

It’s easy to do- even if you have just a few minutes and just want to drop some things off.

Here I what they said they need now: (and this list changes)
1) Gloves- she said they ALWAYS need gloves- bring gloves! even if each family brought one box think how that would help!
2) Materials for kindergarten and school- they are building a library and need books- in English.
a) Easy Coloring books
b) Numbers
c) Letters
d) Colors
e) story books
f) Reading
g) Reading comprehension
h) Math
i) General Knowledge books
j) crayons
h) Any other instructional materials (I just picked up some simple math flashcards to send)
***She showed me some examples and they were the kind of work books you find at target, Wal-Mart, Costco and the grocery store- sticker books, coloring books and activity books
3) Multivitamins
4) Pain reliever (we brought both Motrin and Tylenol (generic is fine!) and they were very happy
5) High calorie food products like Ensure- they sell Carnation instant breakfast at places like Sam’s club and Costco which is similar to ensure but cheaper and some in powder packets

You can also sponsor a child there. AAI requires that when you adopt through them you sponsor a child left behind…it’s a great thing to do for the country where your kids come from!

Here is their website:
  • AHOPE for Children

  • And a USA email contact:

    To call them while you are there call:
    0911606723 if you need directions
    you can email them in Ethiopia at:

    but you can just stop by- after 5 the big kids are back with the little kids- in the AM you will just see the little kids if you go to that campus.

    I made the mistake of thinking that everyone brings stuff to AHOPE and they did not need much- I was completely wrong- they need so much and when you go you will see what I mean.

    It is probably easier to visit a place like AHOPE without your new kids- but it is possible with them as well. The first Time we went they were with us- but frankly Dagne kept the baby in the car and when we went to the school we also left Maren with him. The last time I went- I went while the kids napped and my husband was home with the kids- since it was so close- I walked there with one of the guest house staff- she went with me. It was great!

    Thanks- and let me know if you plan to visit AHOPE- I promised to send pill boxes- I figure if I can send a few with a few families I will get them enough over the next few months….so let me know!


    Anonymous said...

    What is the easiest method of getting supplies to AHOPE? Do you know families that will be traveling there in the next few months that might be able to take some items (ie. coloring books, and learning materials) with them?

    PastorMac's Ann said...

    Thanks for this post. I know that you're busy with your little ones. Thanks so much for taking the time to give us these precious pieces of Ethiopia.

    I wasn't the NM person you were thinking about, but thanks for the invite to the CO & southwestern group. I signed up.

    Blessings! Ann

    The Barr Family said...

    The best way to get supplies is with other families who are travelling- there is a coordinator who volunteers to help with some of this or if you are on other lists you can ask who plans to go next and can they take some things-email me if you want to send some stuff and I will get you info on how to do that.

    Brianna Heldt said...

    I'm not sure if I've posted on your blog before, but I love it! Thanks for sharing your pictures and stories and your heart.

    We visited AHOPE while we were picking up our twin sons Yosef and Biniam in February. We sponsor two sisters there, Eden and Addisalem. It was an eye-opening experience.

    owlhaven said...

    Great post!