We have really enjoyed the past two weeks working with Le Maison D’Espoir (House of Hope), an orphanage in Abomey (central Benin). More that a place for children to live, it is truly a place of hope, a place where children can find family.
Will hanging out with children at the orphanage and teaching computer skills; Briana on riding with the girls to go swimming (25 people in one van!)
During our time at House of Home, we did a number of projects around the orphanage, learned how to bargain in the market, taught some computer lessons and a rag weaving technique, took the kids swimming (many who had never been before), worked on our French and Fon language skills, and loved and played with the children.
A highlight of our time was the “Olympics” we set up for the kids, which included events like water bottle bowling, obstacle course, banana eating race, English bingo, soccer shoot-out, and water balloon toss. We even had volley ball with the net made of strung together hair nets! At the end, we had a ceremony in which each kid received a medal and had their photo taken. It was inspiring to see how well the children take care of each other and work together.
Will playing “English bingo,” Briana demonstrating how to peel and eat a banana in 5 seconds, and one very happy medalist.
Our team also spent plenty of long days in the hot, hot African sun. The projects that we worked on at the orphanage included sanding and re-painting dormitories, building a new wall for child safety, replacing hanging electric cables with underground pipes, digging trenches, installing overhead fans in the dormitories, and setting up a new rain entrapment system. We even learned how and helped to make bricks. Temperatures here have been 85-95 degrees and 60-80% humidity, so we were sweating a lot!
Some of the projects we worked on at the orphanage including making bricks, painting, setting up rain entrapment, building a wall for child safety, and burying electrical lines.
Some of the orphanage’s older children are now being trained by a local chef, in hopes that they will be able to be hired by restaurants, providing them with a steady income in the future. So we got to be their test subjects as they prepared all delicious meals for us after our long days of work. Yum!
Briana cooking with some of the students and chef.
Please pray for these children and young adults that they would stay grounded in the ultimate source of hope and love. We will miss the kiddos and friends we made at House of Hope!!