Thursday, February 25, 2010

Read our latest newsletter..

at this link:

Thanks to St. Andrew Orthodox Church

in Stanwood, WA for holding a recent fundraiser at their post-service social time. Families collaborated to prepare a lovely Ethiopian meal for the congregation to sample and a special collection plate to benefit AAI was put out. The church raised over $400 for our Humanitarian Projects in addition to the raising of awareness and sharing of Ethiopian culture. There are three families at this one small church who have adopted through AAI--the Millers, Gustaffsons and Wrights-- and we are very grateful to them for hosting the event and spreading awareness about the good work we do. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Images from the Holiday Project at Layla House

Our 2009 Holiday Project was a great success!  Thanks so much to our tireless volunteer Mandie Doak who spearheaded this effort from helping to fundraise to purchasing, wrapping and delivering all the gifts.  Our Santa was Jeff Goldenberg who was in Addis with his wife Naomi Kirtner to pick up their two new children that week.  He was a great sport to spend hours in the red suit under a hot sun giving every single child at Layla a gift. 

The babies participated in their traditional clothing!

A group of the older children even put on a drama for the young ones about the Biblical story of Joseph, Mary and the birth of Jesus.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Massage Therapy comes to Layla House


No, Layla House is definitely not a New Age Spa!  But recently, two massage therapists spent a month there teaching our caregivers the techniques and benefits of infant massage.  A licensed massage therapist,  Lesley Majzlin visited Layla House last March to help with a group of high school volunteers and knew right away she wanted to come back for an extended period of time to share her passion with the children and staff.  She persuaded her friend and fellow massage therapist Ellen Roth to come along.  While there they worked with infants and toddlers as well as some of the older children with physical challenges and at Opportunity House, our facility for special needs children.  Lesley raised the money for her trip and collected many donations for Layla from her friends and clients back home and the quotes below come from her letters to them about her experience.  It is wonderful for AAI to have volunteers with specific professional skills coming to share their talents at Layla House. 


I taught a full week of infant massage classes and it's amazing!  They love it and keep adding in times for classes for me to teach making my days very full!  I have a translator who is relaying all of my teaching into Amharic - so cool! The house mothers are loving it and the babies are very receptive.  I have also been working on the older kids especially those with special needs.
I have been massaging a little baby with no arms who uses his feet to do everything - I worked on his little feet and legs that are so overused and he was smiling and giggling and laughing - I  took a great photo of him after the session! 

The young girl who had both her legs in casts is now cast free!  We are doing some stretches and massage with her to get her legs moving again and she is seeing a physical therapist when possible to ensure she will have treatment after my departure...It is a challenge for her indeed. She is most comfortable when squatting all the way down and scooting her feet one at a time and this is how she "walks".  She has a long way to go and no adoptive family at this time, but her smile is bright and it lights her way....

Thank you all for your support in making this trip a possibility.  Never underestimate how little it takes to make a global difference. Together, anything is possible and from deep within my heart,  I am grateful to have had you along for this journey in this life.