Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Our Kids Are Ready!

We received word today, everything is complete on Abigail and Emmanuel's adoption! We will go ahead and purchase the tickets and we are good to go, three weeks from tomorrow.
Also we learned today, almost everyone in Liberia excepts American Money. They don't however accept travelers checks or credit card, that's a bummer!

I had an exceptional lunch today with a woman named Georgette. She was born and raised in Liberia and has started a nonprofit group here in Minneapolis called Ajenia Enterprises. Georgette is about two years older than me. She had her first child at 15. She is beautiful, with perfect skin, and a face that shows gratefulness not stress. But she has had a full plate for many years. She came to America during the war and got her bachelors degree. She now works full time, is getting her masters degree and is raising an 8 year old with her husband who is also Liberian - but they met here. Her husband has been here for 25 years and runs a small taxi company. With all she has going on, at least 7 people in Georgette's family are depending on her for all their expenses. She is able to send about 250 dollars a month to them.
Ajenia Enterprises is named for Georgette's younger sister (she has 11 siblings). Her sister was in her mid 20's and woke up one day perfectly fine, until the middle of the day when she started bleeding from her head, and then bleeding outside her head as a result of an aneurysm bursting. Ajenia layed at her home for 45 minutes with a bucket under her head until someone could find a car to take her to the hospital. However the place where she was living, the town of Caldwell, about 25 miles from Monrovia has no good roads in and out of it. She finally made it to the hospital where she was on a stretcher for hours until a doctor examined her and said, there is nothing we can do, take her to John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia. However the hospital only had one ambulance. By the time the ambulance got her to JFK Hospital, Ajenia was unconscious but still alive. Staff there told her family to take her to the mortuary, she would soon be dead. She was never examined by a doctor. That was in 2000. Georgette is now on a mission to build a road between Monrovia and Caldwell and a medical clinic in Caldwell. She is trying to raise money here in Minnesota to do both. Georgette has also been trying to adopt her niece who was five months old when Ajenia died but immigration has kept her in Liberia. Georgette says families in Liberia are extremely tight and close. She said a family giving up their children because they can't feed them anymore would have been like a family doing that in the U.S. BEFORE the war. She says before the civil war there was no such thing as an orphanage in Liberia.

In addition, Georgette found out about an 8 month old boy three weeks ago who was born without an anus. The baby was sent home as a healthy baby and after two days his parents thought it was strange he hadn't pooped. They looked at him and found there was no opening for him to have a bowel movement. He was rushed to the hospital (rushed in Liberia is not our rushed here) where they opened his large intestine and right now they scoop the waste out into a bag to keep him alive. In the last three weeks Georgette has spent all her time trying to find a hospital here in MN that could help this boy. She found one, and the doctor, who's daughter was born with the same thing, has offered to donate his services. Now she is working to get the hospital to donate theirs and an airline to donate flights for Emmanuel and one of his parents. This family has four other children. However time is ticking. The doctor says this type of surgery, yes it is rare, is best done before the child's first birthday. Emmanuel will be one in August.

Why do I tell you all this? These are stories I'm hoping to do while we are there and bring back and air on WCCO. What a difference we could make for the people of my children's country.

To learn more about Ajenia Enterprises, visit their website:


Nancy said...

WOW! It is one thing to read about genocide, starvation and disease and other tragedies in faraway places, and quite another to read about one boy, Emmanuel, and one niece, Gerogette's, who can be helped. It kind of makes words like "What could I possibly do?" and "One person cannot make a difference!" just stick in your throat. Congratulations on the news that Abigail and Emmanuel are ready to go. You are making a difference!

pam kadakia said...

What a wonderful woman and organization! Something worth donating towards!