By Julie Salwasser
I am writing this update as I fly to Ghana on Thursday. I had to leave the Hedase work team a little early in order to help prepare our Ghana Hannah’s Hope Foster Care Home. I will be working alongside Kate McDodson, AGCI Ghana Case Manager, Almaz Asresahin, our Ethiopian Director and our new and excited staff in Ghana! Although I am thrilled for this opportunity I already miss our work team, the Ethiopian work team and the kids at Hedase!
As I have shared in previous posts, it really has been a wonderful week! We have been able to accomplish so much on the project. When I left:
- Library – the foundation is nearing completion
- Latrine – the holding tank is almost finished
- Volleyball court – leveled and a layer of red rock has been spread to cover the whole court
- Basketball court – almost completely covered in concrete and hoops are up
- Soccer (football) field – goals are up and everything is marked off
It was amazing that all this was done almost completely without machinery. Brian, the engineer on our team, commented that it would have been done about the same way 200 years ago. Every bit of sand, rock, boulder, red rock, and dirt had to be shoveled and moved by us and our Ethiopian contractors. The only exception was in the cement we used, but even that was prepared by us. All of that to say, it puts new meaning to the term “manual labor”. Amazingly hard work – but it was actually very fun!
The team will complete as much as they can in the next three days. Then our Ethiopian contractor, Cherenet, and his crew will finish up the project so that the children can enjoy
The school children were also amazing! I have rarely seen such excitement and anticipation for a project! They watched us work (sometimes joined in) and many shared how excited they were for the new additions to the school (especially the library and the sports fields.) Of course, when we could, we played and talked with the kids.
A favorite moment for me was when I played “Chinese Jump Rope” with some kids. The “rope” was made up of scraps of yarn, and other material that would not stretch for anything. Despite the language barrier, it was still so much fun for them to show me some tricks and then watch as I tried to duplicate their efforts. I really had to dig deep and try to remember my elementary school days. At one point, I looked up and the crowd had grown to about 30 kids. I am pretty sure this was not so they could see my awesome jumping skills. This occurred repeatedly. Whenever one of us would start playing with a few kids, suddenly a whole crowd would appear, just wanting to be near us. It was fun and at times slightly intimidating because we did not know what to say next! In those moments, a high-five, knuckles pounding or just a smile was always sure to bring smiles and giggles.
As our plane begins its approach into Accra, Ghana, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been following along with us on this trip. You have encouraged, supported, and prayed for us. You have been champions for AGCI’s mission and are a part of us going and loving on these kids. Because of you, we have been able to give each child a sense of hope and we have helped them realize the greatness for which they are created! I pray that one day, each of you too will be able to go and experience for yourselves the need – and the joy. Thank you so much for sending us! We could not do it without you!
Final prayer requests:
- Friday – for the children we have been able to touch this week at Hedase School, Hannah’s Hope, and the Youth Rehabilitation Center
- Saturday – for safe travels for all the team members
- Sunday – for our Ethiopian contractor – that the Hedase School project will continue smoothly
Thanks be to God for watching over all of us during this trip. His hand prepared our path and has guided us every step of the way.