The orphanage renovation project for the bathroom areas is nearly complete! This downstairs one is almost finished, and the upstairs one is about 90% there. We should be finished with everything in just a few days. It’s great to see such amazing progression on the ground here in Ethiopia. Have never been so thrilled to see brand new working toilets in our lives ; )
This little boy waits excitedly outside one of the areas we’re renovating so he can use a brand new bathroom stall. There’s been a ton done on this project already, and tomorrow we start on tile replacement and painting.
ANOTHER big project that we just got approval on is photographing the kids separately and together to create a sturdy, moveable portrait gallery of sorts throughout the orphanage. As much as we would love, and as much as I hope for each of these children to have a family, the reality is that most will spend their lives in this orphanage until they age out and have to leave. So the people they spend their childhood years with (and the truly caring volunteers who come through repeatedly) is, for all intents and purposes, their family here.
It made us think of how one of the things we love most about portrait work is that when children see their family photographs on the wall in their home every day, there’s this constant reminder that they are loved and cared for by “their people”. So although our first hope, that they have their own family and live in their own family home, may not come to fruition for many of these children, our *other* hope is that this gallery here at the orphanage will serve to show them each and every day what they mean to each other and how they care for each other. That although they may not have a traditional family, they still have “their people”. That they are talented and smart and crazy beautiful and care much and are cared for AND ARE WORTH SO MUCH VALUE, and that they can see that on the walls of the orphanage they live in each and every day. So Tamara is taking many, many portraits, and we are working hard to have them finished and installed before we leave Ethiopia.
These are definitely some rough visuals, no doubt – but as our team strips the bathroom of what the children at this orphanage have been using for years, we are thrilled about the simple dignity of clean, new bathroom fixtures. After all is torn out and the new equipment is installed, we can move on to managing plumbing and drainage leaks and tackling fixture issues in the kitchen.
Big thanks to Larry Leuallan, Erin Elizabeth Costa, Rangefinder Magazine/WPPI, Lauren Wendle Tricia Kelly McCormack, Diane Rausch Belden, Sarah Coppola, Tom and Laura Witt Fenn, and Teresa Prociuk for your major contributions to this specific project! Your donations have been extraordinarily impactful.
And, of course, grateful for the major donations and the ongoing support from Lush Albums.
HUGE THANK YOU!
We want to thank the four Myers children who raised $200 from hosting multiple lemonade/cookie stands, accepting donations for orphans in Africa.
They often explained to “customers” that their family is in the process of adopting and they had been learning about the great needs in Africa and wanted to help. They also explained that they have friends (Beautiful Together!) going to Ethiopia who could take the proceeds and invest it into the economy in Ethiopia by purchasing needed supplies there and then delivering them to orphanages in Addis Ababa.
Pretty wonderful thoughtfulness – a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.
(Literally!) broke ground on the first phase of our bathroom renovation projects at Kidane Mehret orphanage in Ethiopia.
Lots more to go but the work is officially underway!
The project will include renovating 7 bathrooms and making small upgrades to the kitchen.
- Replacing the toilet stalls and pipes
- Repairing the water damage
- Applying a finish to the floors, walls, and ceilings
- Painting and adding a mural
- Updating fixtures in the kitchen
Demo just got underway and we will post progress photos soon!