Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Incredible News Keeps Coming!

So much joy and confirmation in one day! See email below from Lauren A., who is Ethiopian Orphan Relief's Partners and Projects Chair.

I am so proud to inform you that parts 1 and 2 of phase one will be financed  by EOR. We have your banking information and will be wiring the sum of  $21,800 USD to your account. Time to start building Desalegn. We are so excited and proud to be a part  of your dream.

What does this mean? When we travel to Shanto, we can help build an orphanage!

If our group moves fast, I have identified flights on Lufthansa for under $1300--a rate that is truly unheard-of. Of course, nothing is locked in until we reserve flights.

Do you want to come and change the world?!
Hi, Friends!
Things are happenin' with regards to this FOVC trip! Today, I heard from an actual DOCTOR who is very interested in joining us. His wife is a nurse, and she would come, too. This man has experience doing medical missions to Haiti. I just can't believe how valuable it would be to have a physician with us--both for our group and especially for the villagers on Shanto.

We received this email (below) from Desalegn last night.

It looks like this trip is going to happen. Who is with us? I believe if we have hearts to go and serve and help and love and change the world, God will help us work out the details of the finances and logistics. I will be doing my best--for God, for our group, for FOVC, for the children and for Shanto.


(This is a photo of Desalegn with Dave.)

I have a huge thanks to you all on behalf of the poorest children, FOVC’s staff, the community of Shanto and myself. When FOVC wasstarted in August 2006, the only things I had plenty was faith, hope and love and five/six impoverished orphans. But today those three things have become food, clothing, education and medical supply for my children. These all happen due to the help of mighty God and you all. I thank you so many times for these all uncountable things.

Today I am writing this email to you all because I have received anamazing email from Lory (our Promotion, Mobilization and Fundraisingwing Director) which tells that over twenty farenges will going to visit our children, and villagers. It is really miracle for me and my community!

Yesterday I was discussing the issue with my staff and we agreed all the dates considered for the trip are good. However, the first option that is December 25(29), 2010 to January 8(9), 2011 is the best time for our children and community. Because in this time we have our own annual festival on Dec 24/25 (which is called Mother’s Day for our children) and national festival (“Gena” or Ethiopian Christmas) on Jan8/9. I believe it will be three and four fold happiness for my children if that team visits us on this time. But every time which is good for the team and you is good for us.

The other thing what I want to inform you is “What would the team do then?” question: (It is still free and you can moderate it for the convenience of the team and you.)

•Some of the team members can help and train our Finance and Administration workers with accounting and finance skills and help External Auditing of the organization and prepare Annual External Auditing report to the Board.

•The Board members (I think the Board will be fully structured at that time) can have its meeting and evaluate every performance of the organization and forward its comments and prepare future plan for the next year.

•Some members of the team can help us with our orphanage building construction .

•Some can teach the kids and staff English Language and other moral and Environmental Science subjects.

•Some others can help us providing skill trainings for our staff and community members

•And so on.

For the question related with Motel, I will check whether it hasenough rooms for the team or not and forward it to you. I think I have provided you with all the necessary information.

If you have any instruction, comment and etc please let me know it. Thank you once again for the great works for our organization and the children!

With great Regard, Desalegn Daka

Monday, June 28, 2010

FOVC trip?!

Here is an email I just sent out. Are you interested in coming, too?

Hi All,
You received this email because you have indicated a possible interest in traveling with us to visit Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Southern Ethiopia.

I am not yet free to share details, but HUGE things are happening at FOVC! It's amazing! And it's time to start planning!

If you want to read/learn more about FOVC, then please visit their blog at Desalegn Daka, our friend and the founder of FOVC, is also very active on Facebook.

At this time, we are looking at potential dates to travel. The options currently under consideration are these:

  • December 29, 2010 to January 8, 2011
  • January 2, 2011 to January 12, 2011
  • March 10, 2011 to March 20, 2011

We expect to be gone for about 10 days. Currently, airfare is running about $1500 per person for all of these dates. I do not yet have in-country travel, food or lodging costs, but I have reason to believe the trip will run approximately $2500. A board member is working on getting 501c3 status for FOVC, which--I believe--will make our expenses tax deductible.

"What would we do in Ethiopia?" you ask.
We expect to spend the first couple of days in Addis Ababa. This is the capitol city of Ethiopia. We will stay at a guest house there, rest up and do some sight-seeing. There will also be opportunities to visit Children's Heaven (, the leper community that is located in Addis, the world-renowned Fistula Hospital and possibly a service opportunity or two.

Next, we will travel approximately 5 hours south to the small city of Sodo. I am hoping we will stay in the new motel there. During our time with FOVC, we will be based in Sodo.

FOVC is located in the village of Shanto, approximately a 30 minute drive from Sodo. At the time of our trip, FOVC will be working on building its new orphanage facility. We will help with this project. We will also deliver much-needed supplies to the children there. Finally, our presence will provide life-changing support and encouragement to the orphans, vulnerable children, FOVC staff and villagers of Shanto.

In addition to the things we hope to accomplish for FOVC and the village of Shanto, I know the children and the villagers desire to welcome us with a festival, cultural dancing, street races and etc.

After three or four days in Shanto, we will travel back to Addis via the beautiful lake country of Ethiopia. You can expect to see hippos, monkeys, baboons and more.

And, or course, wherever we go in the country, you will see the beautiful, warm, welcoming people of Ethiopia.

If you decide to join us for this adventure, you will never be the same!

Please let me know if you have questions, and if you are interested in the possibility of traveling with us. Once we learn who is interested, we will need to set the dates for our trip.

I am praying that we will find a "medical type" person to travel with us. This could be a nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, etc. Based on our family's travel experiences, it would be very beneficial to have a medical professional on our team. Also, a "medical type" could really serve the people we will meet in Shanto, too.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, insights and questions! For those of us who travel together, I look forward to planning and preparing for this trip.

With love,


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Overheard... Bereket and I walked upstairs to get Amelia up from her nap:

BEREKET: I'll tell Amelia I went swimming today.

ME: No, don't tell her you went swimming while she was taking her nap, it'll hurt her feelings.

BEREKET: Amelia, I went to TARGET!  (With a big smile, he whispers in my ear that he is teasing her.)

And he shops at Target? I guess he really is becoming an American.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A few of our favorite things

Nephew Evan, Cousin River and Grammy came to town last week to take part in our annual trek to Grand Lake. (Dave was at a conference in Michigan for brainiac theologians/academicians.) Grand Lake is just about my favorite place in the it there! (So basically, Dave and I were both in our own little corners of heaven. Just not together. Not that being together would be hell or anything. Just sayin' last week, we had our separate versions of heaven. And that's ok.)

Cousin Riv and Meels at Winter Park.

Sister Abs and her favorite Brother at Winter Park.

These two really do love each other!

The Big Boys of the Park.

A hug along the hike.

All the kids! (What a fun mini-van full....some of the time, at least...)

Every year at Grand Lake, we take a picture of all the kids on this old-fashioned farming thing-y. This year, we had a couple new kids in the group--Cousin Riv and BEREKET!

Abs and Ev.

Abs and Meels in front of our favorite cottages in the world.

La Piece de Resistance: A Moose! Every night, after dinner and before dessert, the tradition is to hop in the mini-van and go moose hunting in the park. This night, we found ELEVEN ELUSIVE MOOSE--a record!

Sister + Brother

Somewhat unrelated photo: Dave's favorite part of Father's Day!

Hittin' the Bowen Trail!

A Mama Bear and a few of the cubs.

A Mama Moose...calves (fawns? moose-lets?) hiding in the brush behind her.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Then and Now

Bereket "then":
(Kinda pale, kinda sad, looks a bit lost.)

Bereket "now":
(Same sassy sense of style, right down to shoes on the wrong feet.
But TOTALLY different kid!)

Mr. Handsome

And he lost a tooth!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Taking a cruise was a fine vacation solution for our family: The Bigs were able to have some independent fun. The Littles were happy to go to the kids club while Mom + Dad + The Bigs explored and snorkeled. Dave and I read a few books! And we were all happy to be together while enjoying the too-many-to-count activities.

The only draw-back: we were super-busy and it was hard to get good pictures of all of us together! Nonetheless, here are a few pics...

Grand Cayman.

Grand Cayman.

Getting ready to swim with stingrays in Grand Cayman.

Bereket sitting in the window of our room, "looking for dolphins."

After our stop in Cozumel.

Goin' to Belize.

More goin' to Belize.

The Howlett Men...goin' to Belize.

Dave Howlett, International Man of Mystery.

Our Bigs are beautiful!

The patriarch and matriarch of the clan.