We have all been touched by the stories that Team Tasfa has been sharing with EOR and asked them if they would share with our readers moments of their trip that are close to their heart. In the next few weeks we will be highlighting some of these stories. Thanks Team Tafa for sharing your joy, tears and love of Ethiopia with us. Kim
Aneata, has been an International Adoption Coordinator with International Adoption Net in Colorado since 2007. In that time she has facilitated the adoptions of 71 orphaned children from Ethiopia to homes in the U.S. She has dreamed of traveling to Ethiopia for three years and made her first trip to Ethiopia with Team Tasfa in December 2010.
I first lost my heart to Ethiopia in 2007. As an international adoption coordinator ~ one of those jobs I just fell into because I needed a job ~ I work directly with families adopting orphaned children from Ethiopia. As I learned the adoption process and saw the faces of the orphans needing homes, that job I fell into quickly became a passion. Yabsira Shambel was the first little boy to steal my heart. He was beautiful, yes, almost 2 years old with a turned in club foot, but it wasn’t his beauty or his deformity ~ there was a sparkle in his eyes that just captured me in a way I can never fully explain and that boy was the first thing about Ethiopia that changed me. Forever.
Now I have just returned from my first visit to Ethiopia with Team Tasfa. There were so many defining moments along the way that have stolen pieces of my heart and again changed me. Forever. Team Tasfa is such an amazing group of people and we were all changed by Ethiopia in large and small ways. For me some of the moments were:
~ my very first view of the Ethiopian landscape from the plane window ~ I saw the patchwork of land and colors and I knew I immediately that I found the place where I belong. Forever.
~ the beautiful walk to FOVC (Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children) in Shanto ~ the whole town came to greet us and led us to the gates of FOVC with smiles and music and dancing that was so beautiful and joyous ~ and these people have nothing compared to our western standards ~ their smiles and their joy at welcoming us is etched on my heart. Forever.
~ the children of Shanto ~ those lucky enough to attend school at FOVC and those who spend all day watching outside the gates of the compound. The village children who watch all day know the songs and the routine and their eyes say how much they wish they could go to school at FOVC too. The children (128 of them) who attend school at FOVC were SO happy to see us, so gracious and polite and just starved for love and attention. We spent four full days talking and playing with them and every one of those days stole even more pieces of my heart. Forever.
~ the pillowcase dresses ~ which I know so many EOR friends and supporters are aware of. As we delivered dresses to the village girls outside the gates of the FOVC compound my heart about burst with the joy these little girls had at getting something so beautiful and new. It seemed like such a small thing but those dresses were a miracle to these little girls. Their smiles will never leave me.
~ the sewing machine! Money donated to the widows of Shanto allowed us to purchase a sewing machine for them. It is an old rusted, beat up Singer with foot pedals and a piece of fabric to hold the hand wheel in place. The looks on the faces of the staff when it arrived just melted me ~ that machine was a piece of gold to them and I had the honor of teaching some of the women to sew on it.
Smiles and sewing machines and pillowcase dresses and patchwork landscapes may not seem like enough to steal ones heart, but if you were there with me in Shanto you know exactly what I mean; if you weren’t there, go if you can and be prepared to be changed in ways you never even imagined. Forever.