During our week on site, I got to know a pretty awesome kid named Jacob who had been at the orphanage almost his whole life. Although he was abandoned at birth, his umbilical cord was enough to sustain him for two days until he was found by the police. When he was rescued and brought to the hospital, the nurses thought he was a hopeless case and left him on a table to die. Coincidentally, IAA's volunteer and in-house grandmother Donna had just helped her daughter nurse her severely underweight baby to health for the past several months. With the strength and preparation Donna felt that God had given her through that experience, she decided to give Jacob a chance. Now he's the coolest kid ever. Look at this face!
We also had the rare opportunity to see a child come to IAA while we were visiting. After staring for hours at my computer screen, Jane (the founder) asked if anyone was interested in picking up the kids from school. I jumped at the chance to take a break and see more cute kids. When we arrived at the school we were greeted by an extremely touchy headmaster and asked to meet a girl that they desperately wanted the orphanage to house. Her name is Christine, and she was being fed and clothed by a teacher because her mother is mentally ill and her brother can no longer take care of her. She was beautiful and quiet and longed to hold anybody's hand. It seemed that the process would take a long time since she still had living family. The next day, however, her brother came to sign papers and photos were taken of Christine with everyone involved. He was relieved and she was excited. Over the next several days we saw Christine blossom. She started learning some English and was constantly laughing. The other kids took her in as their own little sister. It was an amazing transition, and even better to know her brother could still come visit anytime he wanted!
And then, of course, there is the team! (Top Row) Our trip leader was Brad Crawford, the very same Brad that was in the UK office, leading my Uganda trip, and ultimately responsible for my return to EMI after my internship (ok, only slightly). His wife and my favorite mentor, Alisha, came along as well. In all of their years with EMI it was her first trip! Heather was a former intern in the Uganda office when Brad and Alisha lived there, so they had a happy reunion. Scott is a civil engineer that has actually been supporting the orphanage for many years through his church in Indiana. Coincidentally, he wanted to join an EMI trip and saw that we were going to see the very kids that he has been in contact with. Greg was the other architect on our team, and lives here in Colorado Springs! (Bottom Row) It was both Alex and Kyle's first trip with EMI and they killed it. Fantastic CADers and all-around cool guys. (Myself). Jenni had a unique situation, because her husband is on staff and was at another orphanage in Kenya at the exact same time as us...but they couldn't see each other. She claims it was better for her to focus on her work, but they were excited to reunite at the Safari. Jane Gravis is the founder of IAA and lives near my parents in Texas! I felt like we really got to know her and her ministry very well on this trip...maybe because she stayed up until the wee hours with us! Marisa is our intern this summer. She is in school in California, and will finish up before [most likely] spending the rest of her life with EMI. Austin is the quietest team member, but a super deep thinker that brought up great ideas during our devotionals. Lastly, Ruedi Tobler tried to save a bird's life that the cat carried in. He has about 100 birds at his home arboretum in Hawaii...but was unable to save this poor bird. He's still a good guy, though.