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Child1This is the theme running to and for in my head lately and I keep hearing others say the same thing, “Never Give Up.”

For those of you who know me, I am not one to give up easily. Maybe I fell on my head as a young child, but I stick with something until there’s just no more glue. I admit my tenacity is to a fault at times, some call it stubbornness, others call it persistence…some even dare call it foolish! Call it what you will, today I am digging in my heals.

I’m referring to the Angel of Mercy Home in Cameroon. We have been disappointed in having our grant for the well declined. After three long years and what appeared a funding success for the well, I was left scratching my head. BUT, as you would suspect, I’m not giving up. The orphans have been waiting for three long years to have a safe place to call home, they’re  fighting bad health and poverty beyond our imagination.. and they aren’t giving up, why should I? The  good thing about the delays is that water has become accessible to the orphan home from the road and will cfinishedlookangelofmercyost less to pipe it in. So, we’ve sent funds raised from donors, sponsors and participants from the Sartell Rotary Golf 4 Orphans. I’m told the work will take about a month. So thank you for your support… the project is lovely and one we can be proud to support.

Even though the work we do is such a small part for the orphans, but it’s a good work and it makes a difference in the lives of orphans. When I think about the orphans in Rwanda, Tanzania, Haiti, Uganda, India and Cameroon, and the devastation of their loss…  give up? Never.

When obstacles get in  the way, I dig in my heels and begin to look for ways to get around, through, over. We’ve made things happen to help orphans have safe shelter and sustainable lives. We can’t stop now.

Every orphan deserves a safe place to call home.

coryraceI’m touched by the giving hearts of family, friends, and colleagues, even perfect strangers who have caught the vision and helped provide safe shelter for orphans. So many have supported our cause from the beginning and more are coming alongside every week. One of our supporters and board members Cory Scheer is taking the challenge with a Basic Needs Marathon well…marathon… http://www.basicneedsmarathon.com/. He’s running 12 Marathons in 12 Months to raise funds for our cause.
Check out his site and what he’s doing to make a difference…Thanks Cory!

Others have also mobilized to fund raise for partner projects serving orphans. We’re soon going to kick off a FUNDRAISING FLASH toward a $5,000 end of the year goal for phase one of the Mercy Homes in Kerala India. Please consider joining our Giving Hearts Club with a fund raiser of your own or an online donation… Simply select Mercy Homes in the drop down menu from our online donation page. As always, 100% of your funds go toward the building project.

I’m also touched by the vision, dedication and perseverance of our partners who provide love and care for the orphans day by day. Both Angel of Mercy and Nibakure Children’s Village have a fund raiser within the next month to help them fundRelindsandemanuel their operations.

Your partnership with us in building safe shelter for orphans has resulted in security walls in Rwanda, Haiti and Uganda; an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor latrine in Kenya and Rwanda; you’ve helped fund an HIV/AIDS home for orphans in Cameroon and a loving family style home in Kerala India. Since our first project in 2009, we’ve raised more than $150,000 and distributed more than half of that since we started raising funds a few short years ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the next few months, we’ll fund phase one of Mercy Homes in Kerala, India, we’ll repair a roof at Ashirvad Home for orphans in India through Halo Foundation, participate in funding a chicken coop to feed orphans in Rwanda and Tanzania. We’ll also send funds toward the boys’ latrine for Ngatha International in Kenya.

There are lots of ways to support building projects so orphans can live securely and well… do what children do! Here are a few more events to help the cause:
Angel of Mercy Annual Fundraiser: https://www.facebook.com/#!/angelof.mercy.773
Nibakure Children’s Village: https://www.facebook.com/#!/Nibakure?hc_location=timeline

It’s always important to remember why we do what we do…It’s for the children…Here are a few of the children your support.   We can’t do it all, but we can all do something! And, just think, our work together has just begun. 

 emanuelle Emanuel, 14, lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. Fortunately he was introduced to Angel of Mercy and is now in their daily care.  He will be one of the first residents of the home in Cameroon your investment helped build. He’s so excited to move into the new home you’ve provided. Imagine for the first time feeling like you belong somewhere! These are the intangibles your gifts provide.

yvetteYvette UWAMAHORO is 10. Yvette and her three siblings lost their parents five years ago. Before coming to Nibakure Children’s Village, Yvette lived in the Kageyo Refugee Camp in Northern Rwanda with her aunt. Life in the camp was difficult, as after school she had to walk long distances to fetch water, look after her little brother, and sometimes cook for the whole family. Today, in NCV, her vision for her life has completely changed and she hopes to one day be a doctor.

 croppedindiagirlSubha was born into a poor family in India. Each day was a struggle for the family to find food to eat. She lived in a slum and was neglected both in health and hygiene. She was not sent to school until she came to Mercy Homes in India. Now, she is studying in 6th grade and is receiving a foundation for a bright future.

The waiting place is from Dr. Seuss’s book “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. This waiting place is the place we all end up in once and a while. One good thing about being in the waiting place is that eventually it ends. In that place, we’ve learned patience and endurance…maybe perseverence.. and eventually you move on to another, better place.

Today, I got word that the grant funds from the International Rotary Foundation are in the account! It’s been a long wait, but soon we’ll get started on the well for Angels Home for Orphans as the project is built and the rainy season is almost over.

Unfortunately, we lost one of the orphans since we began this work. Precious passed on last year waiting for the orphan home to be built. But, there are others still in the waiting place. Emanuel, 14, has been with Angel of Mercy since he was six. His parents died from HIV/AIDS a few years after he was born. He was emmanuelleorphaned and lived with his aunt, and then an uncle.   When he was brought to “Angel of Mercy”, he was not well and suffered from nutrition and protein deficiency. He attended every support group meeting at Angel of Mercy  with his aunt.  Those were some of his happiest moments because everyone in the group treated him with so much love and kindness. Emanuel attends a Government Primary School in the Bambui village in Cameroon. He is presently in class Five. “Angel of Mercy” sponsors his schooling and helps provide dental and medical care.  

 Emanuel is one of the children waiting to relocate to Angels Home for Orphans. His health is stabilized and he smiles more often as he has some hope for the future.  Emanuel has found another family with “Angel of Mercy” and remains a precious child in their care.
If you want to help an orphan, please do. You can’t save them all, but you can save just one. Help us build safe shelter. Every orphan deserves a safe place to call home. Go to www.200Orphanagesworldwide.org and donate securely online.

When we founded 200 Orphanages Worldwide, one inspiration was the act of simply building a security wall around a school playground knowing it would bring a smile to the face of a child.  Today, I imagine the smiles of children, safely playing protected by security walls, children sleeping soundly behind a fence your support has built, and I imagine children laughing and talking with each other in the building you funded, the building they call home. 

Dormitory

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We’re getting reports of the roof going up on the orphan home you helped fund. We’ve asked you for donations over the past few years and you’ve faithfully given. Soon you will see the smiling faces of the HIV/AIDS orphans who now have a home of their own.

Your funds have provided for clearing the land, moving earth, building the foundation, forming the block, crafting the custom designed window irons, plumbing, electricity and now the roof is going up…The orphans will soon have a safe place to call home…all because of you.

Thank you for responding to the call to give.  I hope you will know that it wouldn’t have happened without you.

 

I just received a photo progress report from Relindis Moffor, Director of Angel of Mercy. The Angels Home for Orphans is progressing. We’re at the stage where blocks are being formed. This is tedious, dirty, manual hard labor made even more difficult by the lack of water and tools on the site. (Note the hole being dug with a pick ax). This is not uncommon. In Rwanda, we had to have water hauled in for the mortor for the Nibakure Children’s Village. The water is being hauled to the site in  Cameroon sometimes on bike, sometimes on foot. If someone gets lucky, the water is hauled on a motorbike. Soon, though, water from a well will be supplied thanks to Rotary International. Our local Sartell Rotary Club, Pinnacle Peak Rotary Club and Bamenda Rotary Club along with each clubs’ district and the Rotary Foundation a well will be dug. Rotray exists to help alleviate suffering of hopeless and helpless in countries all across the world. I am a proud member. My local club hosts an annual Golf 4 Orphans so we can raise funds for projects just like this one.

And in the meanwhile, brick by brick a home is being crafted. All this hard, manual labor all so an orphan can have a safe place to call home. So, as you view the photos, think of how much love is going into this home.

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As you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner with your family and friends,take a moment to remember the orphans. They, I can assure you, are remembering you! Thank you for all your help in making it possible for the orphans to have safe shelter.

For the Children, Jan

It’s so great to see the foundation being laid for Angels Home for Orphans in Cameroon. Relindis just sent these photos to me and they brought a tear to my eye. Seeing each foundation stone lovingly laid in place brings great joy to my heart.

 In my last post, I was celebrating the anniversary of our Giving Trip to Cameroon. What joy one year later to see the fruit of our labors, our prayers and our hope. 

I couldn’t wait to share the photos with the Giving Trip Group and they were all as overwhelmed as I was!  I can only imagine the anticipation of the children and staff who will soon call this project their home.

I just received word from Relindis Moffor, executive director from Angel of Mercy in Cameroon about her successful trip to Cameroon.

Her goal on this short trip was to host a ground breaking for the Angels Home for Orphans. This by the way is the name she chose for the project after all the ANGELS who are helping her realize the dream of building an orphanage for those in her care. 

Relindis reported that after taking care of many other bits of business such as getting school supplies to the kids along with scholarships, she organized a ground breaking and reception with the local leaders, the Fon and other dignitaries.  The ceremony included Relindis sharing her goals for the project with those in attendance.

Also a tradition is to put the final block on the cornerstone, indicating from authorities the project is cleared to be built. The builder had some of the land cleared for the building, and the project manager will oversee the projects progress.

Like most celebrations in Cameroon, there was traditional dancing, singing, food and drink. Relindis invited the kids and supporters to a reception at her office.

Relindis also found time to organize the art project for our I KARE KIDS HeART to HeART Exchange. The kids created the artwork project and sent it back with her to be delivered to Eastside Boys and Girls Club. The local club has almost raised all the funds for the pig pen for the project which will eventually be on the site. This new art from the Orphans will be used in the next silent auction to finish the pig pen for the Angels Home for Orphans.

One of the most delightful parts of her update was that little Emanuel‘s health is better. She reported he was clingier and a bit needier than other visits and wanted her constant attention, but at least his health was improved. Relindis just held him close. I remember she was worried last time she saw him while she was in Bamenda,  so I had to ask. It appears his health is better. Emanuel walks two miles or more to the Angel of Mercy office from where he currently lives and it’s wearing on him. She’s excited about having him closer and under daily care in the orphanage. He’ll be able to have consistent care and nutrition, go to school and enjoy his life. The Giving Trip Group didn’t spend much time with him while in Cameroon, but he’s such a little guy and to hear he was sickly and having difficulty saddened my heart. I was glad to hear the report that he is better.

The next progress report will be in a few weeks. The raining season is not quite over, so when possible, the building will begin in earnest.

Next Blog: MERCY HOMES INDIA… STAY TUNED

We’ve cast our bread upon the water. Relindis Moffor, executive director, traveled  across the water to Cameroon on Friday, bringing enough donated funds to break ground and lay the foundation for Angels Home for Orphans. 

 The donations of time and money have come from people all around the country who’s primary goals were to make a difference in the lives of orphans. I believe your and my donations will come back  as this verse states in the form of  safe shelter and brighter futures for hundreds of orphans over the years. Once the foundation is completed, the next disbursement will be made to build the walls. We fully expect over the next few months to have the project completed and soon be home, providing safety and shelter for orphans with HIV/AIDS.  

With your help, we’ve raised enough to build phase one. Relindis has named the project after the angels who have come along side her to help the children. It will be called Angels Home for Orphans. Stay tuned from progress reports as they come in.

Thank you for your donations, your support and for all you do to build the project.

For the Children,

Jan

Upon arriving in Cameroon, the words, “You’re Welcome,” ring out. We all had to get used to the salutation as it seemed to be missing the customary “Thank you”. We adjusted… but what really threw the Cameroonian’s off was when they said thank you and we said “You’re Welcome.” No international incident to report over it, just a few good laughs.

Our Giving Trip team of 8 couldn’t be more excited about our trip to Cameroon. Danielle pictured at the Angel of Mercy Clinic said we reached a whole new level of productivity!

And I couldn’t agree more. Our short time there demanded that we push hard to get in all that we had wanted for the children. Here is an overview of the trip and I am asking the volunteers to share a short summary of highlights for the next blog.

While there, we  were blessed to meet some of the children who will live in the orphanage after it is built, we met the village leader who donated the land to Angel of Mercy, we met the architect, the project manager, the Bamenda Rotary Club and the staff of Angel of Mercy. Much of these meetings were ceremonial in nature, and others were working among and with the Angel of Mercy staff and patients.

Medical Care: Three of our volunteers are in the medical profession and couldn’t have been more touched as they were able to use their gifts and talents to comfort the people of Cameroon. Three of their days were spent consulting with patients who came from miles away to be seen.Angel of Mercy provides periodic free clinics and word spreads for miles. 

The Building: We spent quite a bit of time at the site with the architect and project manager. Workers cleared the land so we could see what the elevations were really like and we were able to visit a building supply store. Christina now has a better picture of the land and Angel of Mercy’s needs. She will work with the local architect to finish the design based on the new information and hopefully we can get started by November which is the dry season. According to the architect, they manufacture the block onsite and it takes 2 months for them to dry. So, that is a consideration.

We decided it would be best to start in Phases when the raining season ends, which is November. Phase one will be one dormitory for 12 children and a caretaker and an administration building with a small clinic. This made more sense given the funds we’ve raised and the immediate needs. The first building will be a model for the 3 others on the land.

The Well: Unfortunately, we won’t have funds to put in the well before construction. This is a challenge, but not insurmountable. A well and security fence is expected to be fully funded and in by next August. The plumbing and sceptic will be in before the water and electricity.

Angel of Mercy  We were able to visit the Angel of Mercy store where supplies are sold to make money for the center.  Relindis has high expectations of her staff and she has great compassion for those suffering with HIV/AIDS, especially the children.  She is building a self sustaining organization, one that will remain viable to serve those with the greatest needs in her home country. She works so hard to make this happen it’s an honor to assist in even a small way.

We spent time with the staff, orphans and patients of Angel of Mercy and were able to give the gifts that were donated to the kids. It seemed like an early Christmas for us, doling out the toys, clothes and candy to all the kids.  Click here for A Slide Show With More Photos

All in all, we accomplished much. And of course, now we have much more work to do. Everyone is already brainstorming on their next fund raiser, knowing we have some dollars to go before we can get Phase 1 built. Our Spring Fever 5K is in February and we hope to have a cook out in Arizona in November. Others have plans for  a D.C. event… Stay tuned! We thank you for your help and support! For the children!

Jan

My dear friend Floriane Brown returned from Nibakure Children’s Village, Rwanda. After a summer of interviewing and taking in children, they now have 16 orphans to care for. She’s back in the states with her family.

Here are a few stories of the children Floriane has taken in.

One 11 year old girl was orphaned by both parents.   She is in second year of primary school.  She does well at school, her favorite food is rice and she loves to dance. Another, 13 year old, was orphaned by both parents, her father left her with a benefactor family when she was two. She hasn’t any relation with her caregivers.  At school she is 7th in her class.  Another group of 3 siblings was orphaned as both parents passed away recently (from HIV). They are joyful still and do very well at school.  These children were cared for by an elder sister prior to coming to Nibakure. There is another sibling group of boys abandoned by their parents after returning from a refugee camp in Uganda. Each one is settling into their new home. 

The stories of these children will now change. They will have hope and a future.

I am amazed, touched and moved beyond words at the wonderful work Floriane is doing in her country.  As one of our partners,  there isn’t anything more fulfilling than seeing the faces of the children now in her care! I am sure there will be adjustments, but the children will be well cared for, educated and have warm food daily. What joy!

I noted in the photos she shared the fence in the background. It wasn’t much, but we provided the initial funds so there would be a sense of safety for the staff and children. This is a small thing, but it made a difference.

We can’t do it all, but we can all do something! I am very proud to be associated with Floriane Brown and NVC.

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