Archive for May 2011
This is a scary word in my line of work. Institutionalization of children is becoming more and more a fear and problem for projects that serve at risk youth around the world. Well, officially I would have to say we are an institution, but unofficially I would borderline brag that we are not falling into many or any of the pitfalls that accompany “institutionalized care”.
Institutionalization is being highly warned against in the “ children helping international community”. There are some major negative effects of this type of care. This type of care which has too many children in one place, receiving very similar cookie cutter care. A lot of the warnings are especially for young children. Anyway, it worries me. But as I look at what we are doing, I think we have one of the more unique projects in town(or any place for that matter).
We continue to find ways to have the children connected to their families and the community. Ways like sending them to school, community service, looking for apprenticeships, sending them home, and giving them free time. The learning lessons are awesome. My brain always races with excitement for what God will do with all our lessons in the future. As we hope to expand somehow, someday, these lessons will be pivotal to avoiding the trap of “institutionalizing” any children. What we are doing is all about the people and the God we serve. We have the most genuine hearts in our project, seems like we have an unfair collection of them. We also don’t EVER lose focus of why we are here and who we really are serving. We are SOOO far from perfect, ugh, but our eyes and hearts stay on our God!
About the boys: They will be finished school in about a month. AWESOME! Can’t wait to see the results and take a trip or two to reward them. Our newest “miracle boy” is really standing out. Girum was for so long our biggest challenge. Well now he is becoming one of our most trusted, hard working boys. He has even gone from a teachers pest, to class monitor. The teachers really struggled with him in the first semester but now they have appointed him monitor over the class. He has succeeded so much that other teachers are amazed how well behaved his class is when the teacher isn’t there. I am so thankful Muleken, Camden, Betty, and the team held on to this boy. If I had my way he would have been gone a while ago. When they convinced me to ignore his blatant misbehavior and sincere lack of change, I knew God would do something special with him. Awesome stuff we are witnessing.
We are planning summer. Summer means rainy season which I am not looking forward too at all. Coming when I am struggling with not having much freedom or privacy, I hope I can keep my sanity. It’s a challenge to plan a whole summer for 16 boys. We have a lot of ideas though. Camden is leading our new “Creative Arts” department. The boys are learning to dance, will do some drama, learning crafts, potentially art therapy, and more. Its exciting and awesome to watch. The dancing is the best, so awesome to watch them working hard and enjoying themselves. We hope they perform for beza at the end of the summer. We are also looking for apprenticeships, community service opportunities, time volunteering at an orphanage, and more. We of course will have tutors teaching our boys five days a week so we can continue to get them caught up.
We have one boy who needs heart surgery. We aren’t sure of the cost yet, but they will be substantial. We ask for prayers for Yohannis and our ability to come up with the funding.
A me update, I have given up on the car idea(though I secretly pray for a miracle). They are just so ridiculously expensive. I would kill for the freedom to leave Addis sometimes, but getting my license will allow me to rent car, speaking of which I am on my fourth day of trying to get my license.
I leave on Monday for a two week safari!! Aahhh the sacrifice!! Ha. Its going to be unreal, thanks again to my friend Lisa! We fly to South Africa, then to Zimbabwe, then travel through Botswana, I think Mozambique, and finally back to South Africa! Yeah, I am gloating.