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Saturday, February 11, 2012

January 2012 Visitors

My husband Avery and I recently returned from a wonderful visit with the staff and kids at MCO.  We did not go with a lofty agenda, just to do life with them for 9 days...chores, meals, homework, church, and play.

It had been 4 years since my last visit, and it was so good to become reacquainted with the 10 original children and also to meet the 6 new younger children who joined the home in September 2010.  I've had a partnership with MCO for about 8 years and have been back 4 times to visit, and this time my husband Avery was able to come with me! 

Rachel  and Avery (left) with the MCO family
We were impressed with what we saw- the new beautiful dorm, the garden, and the well cared for pigs.   A year ago they were given 6 pigs for Christmas, and now we can count over 30!  They are beginning to sell some of them and also the manure for fertilizer.  For several meals we ate items from the garden, and for one special dinner we enjoyed the first pig from their farm they'd ever eaten.  His name was "Mr. Wilson."  :)  Meanwhile his stall mate, "Mrs. Wilson," escaped and was corralled back to the barn by the kids and Avery who dove to catch her hoof to drag her back to her stall.

Path beside garden beds to the well
Piglets born December 26, 2011


Avery and friends
I was honored to meet my sweet little namesake, Rachel Ohenatu Shaw.  She is the daughter to the director and his wife, Emmanuel and Shola Shaw.
Rachel Shaw and Rachel Wilson
The home recently got power.  Our friend Joan gifted them a generator, and now they fire it up for a couple hours of light a few evenings a week during study time.  We went to the capital Freetown to purchase a CD player, the first music they've ever had around.  What an exciting moment when all the sudden while washing dishes at the well, we heard the sound of glorious music playing across the yard.  We had a dance party the last night.  These kids can dance!



Martha and I (I love Martha!)
Study time before bed
I brought each child a letter from their sponsor and read it with them individually.  These letters are very special to them, especially the pictures of their sponsors.  I asked them to read their letter aloud so I could get a sense of how well they could read.  It varied from illiterate to semi-proficient.  I asked each of them what was their favorite thing about living at MCO; most of them said school and church.  A couple of them mentioned how much better it is there than from where they came.

Although things have come a long way, we are not yet finished.  Here is a breakdown of what we would like raise funds for in the future:

MONTHLY NEEDS:
  • Full-time Staff Salary:  Educated, live-in house mom:  $100/month  
  • Part-time Staff Salary:  Night guard, maintenance man, tutor:  $50/month x 3
  • Outing fund:  These kids do not get out of the village much.  Most have never seen the beach or capital that are only about a 30-minute drive away!   $100/month 
  • Sewing/bread-making lessons:  $100/month
ONE-TIME NEEDS:
  • Smart-phone: This seems frivolous, but it would actually save hours a week and costs associated with transportation to get to the capital to use the internet cafe.  The director could do business from home over 3G on his phone instead.  $250
  • New perimeter fence:  The current stick fence and sheet metal gate are falling apart and have gaping holes. A new, more secure brick fence is badly needed.  $8000  (Seems high, but this is 1000's of bricks!)
  • Sewing machine:  The more skills these kids have, the better.  $250
  • Brick Bread-making oven:  Another skill to learn, and potentially a good business to sell fresh bread to neighbors. $1000
  • Barn expansion to house more pigs, a dairy cow, and goats:  $5000
  • Vehicle:  A diesel truck would be very useful for their agriculture work and for private transportation.  $15,000 (We have not yet decided if it is wise to pursue this due to high fuel and maintenance costs)

If you would like to contribute to any of these, you can give through an Indianapolis based non-for-profit called Servlife International with whom we have a partnership.  Click here to make a donation.  Be sure to select Mercy Children's Orphanage" under the "Projects" drop-down menu.  Please let me know if you do so we can send our thanks and pictures of how your gift is being used.  Please note that 10% of donations goes to Servlife International for their accounting services.

Dressed up for church (Thanks for making the dresses, Carolyn!)
After this trip, I am assured that all the work put in and the money raised has been worth it.  These are wonderful kids who are happy and loved, who have been given opportunities they would never have had otherwise.  I pray these blessings will have a ripple effect for generations to come.
The good, clean MCO well 
Off to school
Special hair-do by Aminata
Emmanuel and Rachel saying goodbye for now

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Life

The past few months have been full of new life around the Mercy Home.

Rachel Shaw was born to orphanage directors Emmanuel & Sholade Shaw on August 10th. Congratulations on a healthy baby girl!!!

17 piglets were also born this past spring!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recent positive news...

The rest of the kids have sponsorships. Thank you Friends of Freetown in England!

The orphanage director and wife, Emmanuel & Sholade Shaw, are expecting baby #2 in a matter of weeks.

Restrooms have been constructed at last on the second floor of the dormitory.

The first piglets at the orphanage farm are due to be born in late May.

THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Christmas Bacon

A fundraiser was done over the holidays in order to raise money for items such as mattresses, pigs & chickens, and also to find monthly sponsors for the new children. We are happy to say that 6 pigs have been purchased for future breeding and selling, and 4 more child sponsors have been found. 12 of the 16 kids now have monthly sponsorship for food and education. This will be the first time the new children have ever gone to school. Let's pray that they can adjust well to a new home and attending school.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Make that SIX new children...

There are now 6 new members of the MCO family as shown in the photo below:I hear that everyone is doing fine so far, but there are some remaining needs. The home is short on mattresses, basic furniture, and monthly support for the new children. Another eventual goal is to finish the upstairs of the dormitory so the boys can stay there instead of being crowded in the director's house.

This Christmas will be fundraising time to cover these needs. Thanks to those who have already offered support!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beginning 2010

Recent excited news is, as of January 16th, Emmanuel has a new wife, Sholade Shaw! She has moved to the farm to be with her husband, son Steven (named after my dad), and the MCO children. I met quiet, kind-hearted Shola back on the Mercy Ship in 2004. It will be wonderful to have her there at the orphanage site at last.

We are currently setting up $30/month sponsorships through Servlife International for the children. 6 of the 10 have been "adopted" so far. Thank you sponsors!

Also, construction of the dorm continues to progress as funds trickle in. See the recent progress in the pictures below taken in January 2010. It is really neat to see the design sketches I emailed to friends in Sierra Leone come to life.