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Together at Christmas

December 28, 2009
When we arrived in Ethiopia, we learned that Kolfe was home to boys “from 10 on up”. The “on up” meant that men in their early to mid-twenties might live there. You see, in Ethiopia, orphans have no where to go once they turn 18. There is no money for college and there are no jobs available. The orphanage lets them stay on campus just to keep them off the streets and out of crime/jail.  This is no luxury hotel, they’re allowed to sleep on a concrete floor inside a barren building with broken windows.  If they’re lucky, they have a mattress on the floor, or a blanket.  If they’re lucky.

I am ashamed of this, but in all honesty, I had no interest in going to such a place.

When the trip to Kolfe got pinched off our busy agenda I was secretly happy.

But God had a different plan.

At the last minute, Tom decided that we were going to go to Kolfe. I happened to have been sitting next to him on the bus and mentioned how I really didn’t want to go. He replied, “Oh, you’ll love Kolfe! …these boys are amazing…everyone loves Kolfe”.


Nine months later, on Christmas day, I am skyping with a Kolfe orphan who I call son and who means the world to me. 

I left Kolfe that day with a piece of a child planted in my heart. And every day since I have been trying to find a way to get back to him.

I checked the computer throughout the day, waiting for an opportunity to Skype. Then it happened!  I heard Solomon’s voice before I saw his face, I couldn’t believe I was talking live with someone at Kolfe!  Then the video flicked on.  It was dark and difficult to see at first. 2pm here is 9pm there. Solomon was the perfect host, I just adore Solomon.  We chatted and he told me that someone was getting Biruk, who was sleeping. There was a huge audience of Kolfe boys behind him, all watching and listening in.

And then I heard “here’s Biruk” and there was a shadow of a boy blending in with the night. Shy. Groggy. I think some boys had to literally push him in front of the computer.

I am perched with all three kids in front of our computer and we say “Hi” with big smiles. He says “Hi” back. Then we talk through Solomon. Biruk understands us, but is not confident in his English, so Solomon translates. For the next hour and half, no one really knows what to say…but no one wants to hang up either. I ask a lot of questions about life at Kolfe and Biruk is content to give one word answers. He’s twelve. Solomon, who is older, fills in many of the blanks. After Biruk warms up, he says things like “Mom, what is your favorite movie?”, and “When are you coming to visit?”.

I tell him that I will let him know when I have an exact date (my heart tells me to jump on the next flight out of Boston).

We show him our Christmas tree and his Christmas present: an astronomy book.  Then I see the smile that melts me.

If you have a moment, please check out Eileen Mestas’ blog to learn more about her son Solomon.  If you have 8 minutes, check out this video, I’d highly recommend listening to her tell her story. It’s awesome. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 28, 2009 7:25 pm

    wow…thanks so much for sharing this! I went and watched her video…oh my gosh! no words!

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