Monday, February 1, 2016

It's All About the Shoes Daaaahling.......

When I came back to Sierra Leone in September, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. I a few  ideas in mind but wanted to give it a couple months in the country before I committed to anything.  I wanted to work on figuring out my new role as “wife and mom in Africa” before I took on anything extra. I wasn’t sure what Peter’s job would entail and how I would need to help him.  Well, I think I’ve found what I’m going to be working on. And I’m really excited about it! J

When we were in the States at the height of Ebola, a pastor friend of ours e-mailed to tell us about a group of kids that he needed help with. Their parents were victims of Ebola and they needed help. At that time there was SO much fear in the country that a lot of relatives didn’t want these kids because they were afraid.  The idea of starting our own orphanage was thrown around in America but we could never get the funding to start it.  Peter and I sent some money over as we were able and Marie and I printed out their pictures and hung them on the wall in our house so we could pray for them every night before bed.  We told our friend that we couldn’t get the funding together so f he could find anyone else who could take care of these kids, he should definitely hand things over to them!  We got word a month or two before we came back that he found someone to support the kids.  Awesome!

As we got back to Sierra Leone and got settled, we went to check on the kiddos that we had been praying for. I wanted to see how they were doing and I really wanted Marie to see that the kids we’d been praying for were REAL kids and were going through REAL heartache.  (I think this is one of the biggest blessings in living the life we’ve chosen).  After meeting with the kids and the leaders I found out that yes, they had been receiving help, but it was kind of a hodgepodge of people supporting the kids. One man agreed to pay the salaries, one group was paying for the feeding, one woman paid the rent, etc.  But there were holes.   School was about to start and the kids weren’t going to be able to go because they didn’t have any way to pay their fees, let alone money for their uniforms and school supplies.  They also didn’t have any money for medicine.  My ears really perked up when I heard that. J

Before we left, my dad received a grant from rotary for $3,000 to be spent on “orphan care.”  When we arrived we weren’t sure how we wanted to spend that money but a plan began to formulate.  My amazing husband met with three schools that were near where the kids live and they all agreed to waive their school fees “as their Christian duty” to help. 

We calculated what we would need for uniforms and school supplies. Then my hubby went to town and spent 12 hours……shopping.  He took the orphanage director with him and wouldn’t let Nicole or I go because as soon as they saw our skin color they would jack up the prices.  The uniforms were being made by the school so they didn’t’ have to buy them but they did need to find the supplies, undershirts, socks and shoes.  Shoes.  Shoes were the biggest problem.  You can’t really take 50 kids with you into a big city to buy shoes.  Imagine 100+ mini Goodwills with everyone selling their used clothing.  Except in this case you have to negotiate every price and have multiple people yelling at you to come into their store and shoving their goods in your face.  SO not my idea of fun. J 
Taking 100 random shoes and trying to find all their matches

But my hubby is a trooper so he left the house at 6am (because apparently you get better deals early in the morning) with traced, cardboard outlines of every foot and came back with 50 pairs of black school shoes.  There were quite a few “this won’t do for me” comments during the distribution (all from the girls mind you).  One poor girl with “feet like a man’s”  giant shoes still didn’t fit.  Might have to import those from the States. 

Anyway, after being about a week late getting to school, it was so fun to go there on Sunday night and see all the girls’ hair all fancy for school. J  LOVE getting to be involved in this kind of ministry!

We had 50 bags with each bag having the kiddo's shoes and school supplies

P.S.  I didn't include any pictures of the kiddos in this post since I mentioned that they were orphans.  Friends of mine who have been working with orphans tell me that the government doesn't want us posting actual pictures of kids if we mention in the post that they're orphans. Just so you know. :) 

1 comment:

  1. What size of shoe does the girl need? I will make sure she has a pair when I come.

    Adam Haile (facebook message me so I get your reply)