: We are home. We are exhausted. We are hopeful.
Spending the past few weeks in Sierra Leone, Michael and I experienced some incredible highs. Traveling to any poverty stricken area is a an incredibly humbling experience, but when you travel to places in the world that government assistance doesn't exist and people literally die of poverty...it will break you.
So many of us can turn a blind eye to these things, because the closest we ever get to extreme poverty is the sad commercials with the starving child that last 30 seconds, and then our 'good feeling program' comes on afterward., and just like that the images of such sadness have been removed from our minds. The emotional experience has passed, but being present and witnessing first hand the hurt pain and destruction that poverty plays in a community will haunt your soul forever.
Michael and I were out in the community inatking children for Pikin House and reaching out to families for our Project Salone family sponsorship program, and every family that we came across had a different story, but a similar present. Families still suffering from the catastrophic disaster of the war that ended over a decade ago; families that have lost sole providers, parents or other family members to Ebola and the stigma that it has still left in these communities; The flooding of 2015 that destroyed homes and businesses that haven't rebuilt. These are just a few instances of what has plagued these families.
You see, if you don't have food...you don't eat. If you're sick and don't have money....you don't see a doctor & then you stay sick or worse. Although, Sierra Leoneans embrace the "it takes a village" concept, there is only so much a poverty stricken community can do for others and still survive themselves.
Each intake brought a new perspective on life in Sierra Leone and each intake brought more purpose to Project Salone. There were days where I stressed so much about what was going on...legalities, funding and day-to-day operations....then I would sit and realize that this is Gods plan and he will provide and see us through.
Every case broke a piece of our heart...as we had prayed for God to "Break our heart for what breaks his"...this is a prayer that he fulfilled.
We left Sierra Leone with even more of a drive to fulfill Project Salone and see to it that these children and families have a future...a future where they thrive...where they feel loved...and where they succeed.
Please keep Project Salone in your prayers and click on "Sponsor a Child" to learn more about sponsorships.
As we prepare for Project Salone's initial "Start-Up" trip there are so many things to take care of in the states before departure. The fundraising for the Pikin House Rent and PS Sierra Leone Registration Fee's was the first big step for Project Salone. We felt so blessed that God called people to partner with Project Salone and make a difference in the lives of so many in Sierra Leone. We were absolutely blown away by the open hearts of friends, family and complete strangers.
Our second step has been getting together supplies to cram in our suitcases and take over to Pikin House. I had reached out to people on Facebook (friends, couponing queens and strangers) and they have been so generous with their supplies and time to find the best deals on items we need for the center. I mean we have had people donate things from first-aid items all the way to hair for the girls coming into the center to get their hair "planted" (braided) for probably the first time. Such a treat, and I can't wait to post pics of that!
Opening a center in Sierra Leone has found us with a few challenges. First of all we want the center to feel like "Home" to the kids we are bringing in. A place filled with comfort, hope, safety, love and a promise of a future. We want to do all of these things without "Westernizing" the home too much. When we try to change the culture to what our American standards/expectations are of bringing children up, it can work against the children's favor. What happens when they are re-homed or united with a family in Sierra Leone and have had an experience of a home that is not like most in Freetown, Sierra Leone?
Stay tuned to and watch us find our balance and enjoy this beautiful journey with Project Salone.
If you feel led to donate items to Pikin House here is a list below:
First Aid Items: Bandaids, Peroxide, Children's Chewable Tylenol, Children's Cough Medicine, A&D Ointment, gauze, medical tape, thermometers, Probiotics, Chewable Vitamins
Hygiene Items: Deodarant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Soap, Sanitary Pads, Combs, Picks, Lotion, Qtips, Dental Floss, Twin Bed Sheets
Baby Items: Onsies, Cloth Diapers, Baby Wipes, Diaper Rash Cream, Powdered Formula (Any Brand)
Toddler Items; Flip Flops, Boy/Girl Shorts, Underwear, Tank Tops, Educational Books
Small lightweight toys (easy to pack in suitcase)
Girls: Panties, Summer Dress, 1-piece Swimsuits, Tank Tops, Shorts, Skirts, Flip Flops, Tennis Shoes
Boys: Underwear, Swim Trunks, Collared Shirts, Shorts, Dress Pant, Flip Flops, Tennis Shoes
(We will always need these items, so feel free to donate at anytime. We will take them over each trip)
If you feel led to donate any of these items you can drop them off or mail them to
1011 Crossings Blvd Spring Hill, TN 37174
God Bless All of You!
At Project Salone, we are all about full transparency! So, we wanted to give an exact update on where the funds are going that were raised over the past few weeks. During our first push, you all have given $10,988 towards radically transforming the lives of orphans in Sierra Leone. (YOU are amazing, by the way!). Here is exactly where that money is going:
Year 1 Rent: $8,000
Registration Fees in Sierra Leone: $2,678.14
The remainder will go to cover Credit Card fees for online gifts and supplies for Pikin House! If you ever have any questions about where your money is going, please let us know! We would love to talk to you! Stay tuned to future ways to partner with us!
Thank you! You are all Amazing!
Due to all of your generosity today and over the past few weeks, we have hit our initial goal! We quite literally could not have done this without all of you giving and sharing and praying. There are still ways to partner with Project Salone moving forward and we will still have needs come up over the next few months. So if you are still feeling a pull to give or partner with us, do so! And stay tuned for more information coming soon from Project Salone! We are certainly celebrating tonight!