Christmas photos have arrived from Haiti! Thanks to all of you, the children had a great time celebrating the birth of Christ. Here's what Marc Antoine Michel, our Haiti country director, had to say about the celebrations:
"After a wonderful week of Christmas Advent with a Venture team from The Hallows Church, we had a beautiful Christmas party with the children this year. They learned the whole story of Jesus’ birth with skits, they had fun with the team, and had a special Christmas meal with special treats, including soda, cake, and Christmas gifts. Enjoy pictures below."
2014 was a big year for the children, as they experienced graduations, improvements to their communities, better health and educational opportunities, and most of all, your love and care.
As we look back on our most popular stories of 2014, we see some recurring themes: concern surrounding the Ebola epidemic; celebrations of new beginnings; and God using you, our partners, to provide above and beyond for our children. Thank you for making this such a great year!
Kelly Melton is a Children of the Nations sponsor who traveled to Sierra Leone this fall with a medical aid organization, helping to set up Ebola treatment clinics. She has graciously agreed to share her trip journal, to give you a firsthand view of how the Ebola outbreak is affecting the people of Sierra Leone. Here is an entry from November 19. (You can read Kelly's previous updates here.)
We spent Friday in the village of Mgwayi, for what COTN dubs “cultural immersion day.” Our team split into pairs, and each pair was matched with a family. We spent the morning with a little girl named Aida and her mother, plus a rotating cast of cousins and neighbors who made their way in and out of our circle that morning. Our mission that day was to simply spend time with this family, learning a bit about the rhythms of their life.
Standing in the middle of happy chaos, Rob Allan wonders where to begin. Boys had come from every corner of the community and were bubbling over with unrestrained excitement—the I Love Baseball (ILB) team was here to teach them!
Second-grade student Pasca eagerly walks to her teacher’s house. She can’t wait to start writing a new book this week. Teacher Lindsey, as she’s affectionately called by the children in the Uganda Children’s Homes, will be there waiting with freshly stapled colored paper, just like she is every Tuesday afternoon.
Children look forward to Christmas in Sierra Leone. This is the period when relatives who work in other parts of the country and the world come back home to celebrate. It is a time of family reunification. Traditional festivals are held. Marriages are mostly celebrated during the month of Christmas. People save throughout the year to celebrate Christmas.
When Neil Slate stops, leaning on his shovel to catch his breath, Melida Joseph quickly brings him a plastic chair to rest in. Neil and his Venture Team are building Melida’s family’s first latrine. Here in the batey of Los Robles—an old Haitian migrant worker shantytown in the Dominican Republic—many families still live without basic resources like toilets.