Kimisagra Orphanage

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Have you ever seen so many beautiful children? I loved taking pictures at this orphanage that we visited while in Kigali, Rwanda. We had a craft time with the kids and just hung out and played. Chris and Jennifer Verme (fellow team members) brought several photo printers and printed pictures for all the kids on the spot. As you can see, the photos were a big hit.

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Imbabazi Orphanage

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Our day at Imbabazi was characterized by charm and beauty. It was a blast hanging out with these kids for an afternoon. One of the highlights was seeing the girls perform one of their traditional dances.

The orphanage was originally a flower plantation owned by Rosamond Carr who opened her plantation to lost and orphaned children in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. I love that this place, the most beautiful I saw in Rwanda, has become a refuge for orphans. Visit their website here to learn more.

Noel Orphanage

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The last orphanage we visited in Rwanda was Noel. We spend two days playing with the children there and found that two days is all it takes to fall in love. I don’t think any of us were ready to leave when the time came.

There were two things about Noel that especially that especially impressed me: 1) It was hard to miss the love the caregivers had for the children. 2) They are taking in the children no one else wants (albinos, handicapped, etc).

The children at Noel suffer from malnutrition due to lack of protein, most of their shoes are falling apart, and many of them share a mattress with at least two other children. While we were there we bought them a few goats and 300 pairs of shoes (that was fun), now we’re on a mission to get them all in their own bed. Learn more here.

Flora

Flora

Flora, the girl who called me Tebi

I didn’t connect with Flora until the last day we were at Noel, but the time I spent with her was sweet. The morning we left the area, we ran by the orphanage to pick something up. Word got out that we were around and just as we were pulling out from the gate several boys came running up to deliver a quickly scribbled note for me from Flora. The note was addressed to Tebi (her version of Debbie). She told me she would never forget me and asked me to come back and visit her (she wants to visit America too, of course). I hope I get to go visit her again someday.

Sandrine

Sandrine

Sandrine, my little apprentice

This is Sandrine, one of the first children to greet me upon arrival at Noel. I found her generous and eager to learn. The first day, she took off her her necklace and put it around my neck, a significant act as most of the children at Noel own nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. The second day, she took possession of my camera and became my photographer’s apprentice. Her pictures are some of my favorites from the trip.

The Bead Makers

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These women have jobs making beads with Mission Ethiopia. We got to visit their workshop and hear their personal stories. Their lives speak to the redemptive heart of God.

One woman shared that she used to spend her days collecting plastic bags in the trash dump. If she collected 100 kg (roughly 200 pds) of plastic bags she could sell them for 6 birr (about 35 cents). It’s no surprise that she wasn’t making ends meet for her family. Now that she has a job with Mission Ethiopia she’s able to provide for her family.

Just when we were getting ready to leave the bead shop the ladies pulled out a Bible and started encouraging each other in the Word. You can see the photo above. It’s one of my favorite photos of the trip.

Promote the cause of Mission Ethiopia by hosting a Mission Ethiopia jewelry party. Visit their website here to learn more.