Saturday, October 29, 2011

Special Needs. Special Kids. Special Times!

Wonderful things have been happening at Grace in the last month!!

I received emails from Cheryl and Kate last week that set my heart bouncing. For those that don’t know, Kate and Cheryl are part of a wonderful team of long term volunteers at Grace, but also very special friends that I am looking forward to seeing again soon. I was so excited about their update that I just had to share it with you all.

In front: Tefare, Gedafew and Abraham in class

Cheryl writes “I can hardly wait for you guys to come back and see the special needs school and our students that we have sent there.  It will make your heart smile.  They are all so precious - it makes your day to see them each day so anxiously anticipating their day at school and seeing their excitement when they return.  Little Abraham (the little boy with Down's Syndrome that we saw in the streets regularly) is bursting at the seams every morning along with Tefare (young teenage boy with cognitive delays) and Gedafew (who is mute) . The three of them seem to be good buddies.  Tefare has assumed the "big brother" role and looks after them.  Fantaye's  (who is 16 and has severe scoliosis as well as cognitive development issues) carer said that Fantaye has been so excited after returning from her day at school that she has been calling out the names of other Grace workers at afterschool care.  She said that she has never seen her do that before.  Nati (6 year old who is Autistic) is still settling in.  It takes him a little time to settle in each day, but when asked he went to the black board on the second day and wrote on the board with the teacher as she reviewed some amharic letters...

Fantaye and her carer at school

...The school is a government run school, so there is no funding for the special needs program.  A man from Holland came and built a block building for the offices and the special needs part of the school along with a playground.  The principal has expressed some needs to us.  I think that it is good for us to help to an extent as they are taking several of our kids into their program.  We got some paper, crayons, exercise books, and a curtain w/ rod (the sun shines right into the window making it quite hot in the room) for their classroom.  They have a break time in which they serve tea to the kids.  They would like to serve bread as well, but they do not have the funds. With our five students there are now 37 in the classroom. The principal said that many of the students come from poor families and would benefit greatly from some bread at break time as many of them come not having had breakfast.  We are meeting with the principal next week to discuss the few things that we can do to help and to invite her to come and tour Grace so that she understands where we are coming from and what we are already doing...”

Nati at school with his Grace Carer

Kate adds “It is so beautiful to watch and Cheryl’s heart is beautiful to behold. Cheryl has been busy settling the kids into their new school and finding ways we can bless the school – simple things like providing some bread for a snack a couple of days a week, a ream of paper, crayons, some pencils and exercise books and a few reading books. Things that most of our schools take for granted but that bring such smiles to the faces of these kids and their teacher.  It is so incredible to see these kids, usually outcast by all, find acceptance and a place to learn...”

Now how fantastic as that!! I am beside myself with joy and cannot wait to see it for myself. To be involved in such a life changing project, to be a part of what God is doing through Grace is so humbling, so rewarding, so amazing. I could not imagine any better place to be, than where God would have us.

To continue the fantasticly busy but blessed month... 
Immanuel team handing out school bags

Catalyst team standing by the swings they made

“We were blessed by two special teams of people, one from Catalyst Church in Ipswich, Queensland (16 fantastic people who blessed us, the beneficiaries and staff of Grace and the local people in Bahir Dar in incredible ways) and one from Immanuel Baptist Church in Duncan, Oklahoma (8 amazing people who made us laugh and also blessed all the people they came in contact with)... They accomplished so much in their short time with us.  We have hot water systems that work in all our centre, a new gate and fence, a great new play area, reinforced play equipment, so many people were blessed with items for their homes and new clothes, our car works, great new shelves, improvements to our small business shop and small business products, kids who have been blessed and had their lives touched by the time invested in them, new backpacks for all our school kids (about 135), an organised aid room and list for our new storeroom manager, surveyed land, held in our clinic, new friends, lots of fun and lots of special blessings for those of us here long term.  I can’t say thank you enough for all they contributed...”

Wow, thank you Catalyst Church, and Immanuel Baptist Church! We so love you guys!

I want to congratulate Marcie and Sefinew who had a baby girl named Naiomi. We are all thrilled for them and pray for their stay in the US, that they get a well earned rest and have every success in raising awareness and funds that Grace needs, in their 7 months they are in the US.

At this point I feel like offering a free set of steak knives, because there is more, there is always more as God continues to do great things among his people in Bahir Dar (as well as our own). And I encourage you to get involved, whether it be through prayer, sponsorship, donations big or small, everyone can be a part of making a difference.

Thank you again for being a part of this journey.

Love Dee xx

Fantaye and her carer Hamelmal at school

1 comment:

  1. So touching!

    Please, come here and comment -