Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about pens lately. Yeah, pens. I know it sounds obscure, but you've had weirder thoughts.

My recent preoccupation with pens stems from Biruk's letter. When you ask a 12-year old orphan who lives in abject poverty what they need, you don't expect the answer to be "pens". "Pens, books for school, shoes, clothes". I have been a parent for 10 1/2 years and never, not once have my kids ever asked me for any of these things. These things fall under the category of "given". It's a given that they will have these essential items, they don't have to want for them or even ask for them.

This has struck me so hard because when I sent Biruk a package, I gave him papers and envelopes so that he could write to me - but no pens. I didn't even think about it; I guess I just assumed he would have access to a pen. Stupid American I am.

The reality of how little my new son has, is revealed through his wishlist. These kids have nothing. NO THING.

After I shared Biruk's e-mail with Eileen, she said this: "They only get one pen and pencil per boy and they treat them like gold. They need them for school and if they get lost or used up they can not get another one."

But God is so perfect because my dear friends Wendi & Sam Henry are headed to Ethiopia next week and I received this e-mail from Wendi this morning: just wanted you to know how intrigued I was by the 1 pen/year tidbit you shared...we are now taking 3000 pens with us to Ethiopia. Hugs, Wendi

3000 pens! Yay!

(in the above photo you will see my sweet son's shoes - the soles worn through to the ground, his truck where everything he owns is kept, and many other sweet boys at Kolfe who are living with unmet needs. )


Shannon- said...

How do I found out what else is needed at Kolfe?

~Seth and Nancy~ said...

it's amazing the things that we have that we don't even think twice about. i'm ready to chuck a bunch of pens just because i have too many of them! wish i could stick them all in the mail and send them to someone that can actually use them!

Erin Moore said...

Nancy - you can! Send them to me and I will get them to Africa!

Nicole Anderson said...

Awesome!! My Dad collected a huge box of pens for Kolfe this summer. I guess the boys went NUTS!! We have another box almost ready to go! I LOVE this post!!

Carrie said...

I'm getting more and more excited to create a care package for Matewos. How do I get it to him?? I wish I could hear back from him faster. I think that's probably a common wish. :)