In September 2016, Carla T., Julie N., Shad H. and I, Ann D. traveled to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Between the four of us and some previous travelers 270 quilts were taken to Ethiopia and waiting to be distributed to orphans.
After a couple days of acclimating to the new time zone and the altitude of 7,000+ feet, the three of us went to an orphanage called Sele Enat Mahiber.
This orphanage houses around 70 children from birth to age 18. Disabled children are also accepted and cared for here. When we arrived, the babies were sleeping. We placed the quilts on the sides of their cribs. We noticed that some of the babies were wearing sweatshirts and jackets in their cribs. The nannies dressed them in that manner to keep them warm. The nannies had been praying for warm blankets for the babies. The buildings are concrete block construction and no heaters are available.
As we tiptoed through the nursery, some of the babies began to awaken. They have beautiful big brown eyes. Such precious babies.
Thanks to many, many quilt makers the nannies’ prayers were answered. The babies will sleep much better now with warm quilts to cover them.
The older children met us in a basketball court section of the orphanage. They seemed excited and happy to receive a quilt of their very own.
After a wonderful day spent in this orphanage, we went on to Selamta. This agency helps to support orphans in homes of 6 to 8 children with one or two moms. The children are not necessarily related to each other, but do become like brothers and sisters. The moms are not always the birth moms to the children either, but again, they become families.
Thanks to so many quilters with generous hearts many children will be warmer in Ethiopia. We were blessed to be able to share with these children. A big thank you goes out to each of you who helped to make this possible.
When we weren’t handing out quilts, we spent our time teaching six women to sew. They are all “moms” for Selamta. Someone donated three sewing machines to Selamta several years ago. We were able to oil and clean the machines, teach the women how to do that, also and teach them how to sew.
They each made a pillow case with a flange and a cuff. Not a simple job. The women were excited to learn and learned quickly. Eventually they want to start a business so they can be independent. They also made a drawstring bag. Another group of volunteers will teach them how to make soap. The drawstring bags may be a way they can market the soap.
It was difficult to leave these beautiful women who were so eager to learn a new skill. We were blessed by their cheerful attitudes and desire to learn. Who knows, someday they may make their own quilts.
Ann Drake, Regional Coordinator in the Western US.