|Children piling in the van for another trip to the doctor's office|
If you've visited Layla House in Ethiopia, you have undoubtedly seen and probably ridden in one of our old red vans. Each day when they are not "in the shop," these vans travel miles and miles with children, staff and visiting parents. They go to medical and dental clinics, the airport, the U.S. embassy, passport offices, the Mercato for food and supplies, and often to small villages in remote areas. They carry social workers to visit children in our sponsorship program, adoptive parents to meet birth family, and staff to visit our partner orphanages all over Addis and well beyond. At this point, they are really on their last legs with engines, bodies, seats and upholstery falling apart. They are spending more and more time in the repair shop which wreaks havoc on the schedule and prevents us from operating as efficiently as we'd like. As our staff there informs us, it's finally time to say goodbye to the oldest red Toyota van and to thank it for serving us well all these years!
Although the situation with our present vans has gone from bad to worse these past several months, we have GOOD NEWS to report. New vehicles are usually very expensive in Ethiopia but because of our recent official agreement with the Ethiopian government to operate and expand Opportunity House, our home for special needs children, we have special permission to import a duty-free vehicle. That means we will be able to purchase a vehicle for about $10,000, a deal we don't want to pass up but also a cost we don't want to pass on in increased adoption fees. A generous adoptive family has already come forward with a $5000 challenge grant----if we can raise the other $5000, they will match each donation dollar for dollar. So every dollar donated to our ETHIOPIA VEHICLE CAMPAIGN, is actually $2! Make your donation count twice.
|Abraham, one of our drivers, embarking on yet another trip with a full van of kids|
Our Ghana program is also in need of a new vehicle. The Ripley Foundation, our affiliate in that country, has had no van for months now and families and stuff are increasingly reliant on taxis and public transportation to get around Accra and to travel to other parts of the country. As our adoption program in that country has grown, we able to do more and more humanitarian work and reach out to more orphanages delivering food and supplies donated by our families and supporters. The lack of a reliable vehicle is the biggest impediment to improving our work there and to giving visiting families a quality experience in that country. Anita Gillispie, our Ghana coordinator, is in-country right now and she reports that sometimes it is very difficult to find a taxi big enough to take three or four kids and a staff member to a medical appointment and that without their own van, they are having to forgo many important errands. So we are also starting a Ghana Vehicle Campaign and welcome any of your donations to get the Ripley Foundation staff moving again!