This is the time of year when our field staff are taking time off in the States for rest and fundraising. I (Debbie) just returned to Liberia a few days ago, anxious to check on the kids in the orphanages we serve. Overall, they are looking well-- healthy and happy.
There were a few girls that I was especially concerned about and couldn’t wait to check in on them. We’ve told their stories before, but let me remind you—
Last week, we shared Anita’s story with you and put out a plea for prayer for her. Many of you responded with concern and have continually asked how she is doing. Some of you even wrote notes of love and encouragement to Anita, which were printed out and hand-delivered to her.
Gifty is a little girl who came to live at one of our core orphanages approximately eight months ago. She had been living in the community with her family but, sadly, none of them were at all concerned about her health, safety or well-being. Each day, Gifty would visit the orphanage in search of food and love. Over time, her visits became more and more frequent until, one day, she simply ended up living at the home. No one from her family fought to get her back. No one from her family seemed to even care.
It's been a few weeks since I first told Emmie's story. Several people have sent messages asking for an update. I am happy to report that Emmie seems to be doing well.
On my last visit to the orphanage where Emmie lives, the first face that greeted me, was Emmie's-- with a huge smile! The scabs on her head, resulting from the chemical burn, are going away. Sadly, the blisters on a young heart, from abuse and neglect, do not go away as quickly as the physical healing occurs.
Do you know when you should wash your hands? The kids at three of our orphanages do… now. Over the last few weeks, the children were gathered together for some learning fun. Paint was the “germ”, and as one child with the germ shook another’s hand the germ spread. The kids were very surprised to see how far a germ can spread without proper washing. The kids then washed their hands in a bucket with soap and water and watched the germs disappear! They learned that the germs disappear with scrubbing.
Today I met a precious girl. I hugged her. I tried to find a smile. I cut off all her hair.
Emmie is about six years old. She was dropped off at an orphanage this week after her step-mother put a chemical on her head which caused serious burns over most of her scalp. The only reason to do so was to cause her harm. There were other reports of abuse as well, so another family member brought her to the orphanage and begged for help. She is in a safe place now.
Last week, with the help of Hannah Anders, a nursing student from Samford University in Alabama, the kiddos at one orphanage got a much needed check-up.
Little Jolene was first! She stepped on the scale and then stood against the measuring tape. She was unsure about how the scale worked but she stepped up anyways. Hannah asked her about any skin or other various problems that may be bothering her, then she looked her over. After that, Jolene was sent over to Uncle Joseph for worm medicine and vitamins and then on to receive a brand new pair of undies!