Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asente Sana!

Asante Sana from Florence and her family!

Tom and I invited our housekeeper Florence and her family over the day after Christmas for lunch. (This by the way is the first time a housekeeper's family has ever been invited on the American compound). Florence's children had no idea that they would have a huge surprise when they arrived...presents under the Christmas tree!!

The Simwa family, or also Fred's family as Florence calls themselves, was lucky enough to be sponsored this year by Christin Burgess (Uncle Justin's girlfriend) and the staff at the Westin Hotel in Atlanta. What a miracle they created for this family. They received three large boxes filled with used and NEW clothes and shoes to open from the Westin.
Thank you to the Westin and to Christin for making a huge impact on a family 8000 miles away. Thank you!

Florence and her family also received clothes and shoes from other friends and family. They areceived over 20 additional boxes and money from family and friends...thanks to YOU! And surprisingly, more still came in just today!

The Simwa family has been overwhelmed as well as overjoyed with the amazing gifts they have been given this year. I wanted to share with you the difference all of you have made in just one person's life. It is hard to imagine, but we really did make a difference!

With the money they received, they have been able to buy a plot of LAND!! They had been saving but did not have enough and with the extra money they were able to finally buy it and they will start building on it April. This has allowed them to move out of a very bad part of town where all 6 of them were living in one bedroom.

Florence was able to pay her son Edgar's school fees early with the extra money you gave her. By paying the tuition in advance (as so many can not afford to do), the school told her that if she had any other sons that wanted to go to school there, they would have automatic enrollment when he is ready for school. Most schools here are very difficult to get in and if you don't have money, then you need to know someone. Now, her son Eugene will know he has a chance of getting into school because of you! It is so wonderful!

All in all it was a beautiful holiday. An experience to help a family in need and truly turn their life around was not one I thought I would say when I came to Africa. I feel however that even though this family is still in need, they are doing so much better then when we first came. They have their own land, they will have their own home, they can feed their family and their sons will be able to finish high school. It is again an experience I will never forget.

Please enjoy the pictures of Florence and her family opening presents at our house the day after Christmas. We had an absolute ball! Thanks again everyone! We love you all!

The Simwa family and the Rhodes family picture

Florence opening the very first box of clothes a friend had sent in December.
Little did she know she would get over 20! :)

Florence having fun wither her new coat. Handing out a coat to Fred (Florence's husband) and Eugene with his new stack of shirts and shorts.

Santa Florence passing out presents to the family. Hannah, Chase and Mommy helped too! Florence with her eldest son, Eugene.

(Left) Florence playing Santa and The Simwa Family before they opened their presents.
(Right) Edgar pulling Hannah and Faith in the wagon outside.

Left, Chase handing Faith one of her Christmas presents and right Naomi (the youngest) and Dad, Fred.

I wrapped some presents under the tree from the boxes of clothes we received from Christin and The Westin. It was a beautiful site to see their faces looking at all the presents. It was an unforgettable day for Tom and I. We talked about it for days and will remember it always, especially at Christmas. :)

Florence opening the initial boxes from The Westin. The kids having fun rolling around in all the clothes with Florence.


Love, The Rhodes Family

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