[Guest post by the Reverend about the orphanage we work with in Africa.] THE IDEA
It was hot. Africa hot.
The director of Children’s Redemption Orphanage Home (Frank), the caregivers for the children (Abubaka and Victoria) and I, sat on a handmade bench and sweat. I asked, “What business could we start that would generate revenue for the orphan homes? What business could we do here that would enable us to help more children?”
The answer was unanimous.
I sure could have gone for some ice at that moment.
Frank and his colleagues explained how valuable ice was in their setting; they described how most locals dried their catch in the sun or by fire. Doing so enabled them to preserve the fish for travel and sale at markets near and far. However, dried fish was not worth near as much as chilled fish.
If we had a way to make ice and sell it to the fisherman, their sales would increase, revenue would be generated for CROH and more orphans could have their physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual needs met.
I saw the beauty and simplicity of their idea and I was in. All we needed was several thousand dollars.
Upon arriving back home, I told everyone that I encountered about The Ice Project. I described the need and the plan, and I waited.
Finally, I received an email from someone I did not know named Linda that read, “I am interested in supporting a child in Sierra Leone. Please contact me to tell me how I can get started. Thanks so much.”
I explained to Linda that we currently did not have any children that needed sponsors, so she had three options
One, she could wait until a precious little boy or girl came and start supporting then.
Two, she could start supporting a yet-to-arrive-child now and the money would be used on various items (mattresses, bunk beds, etc.).
Three, she could give to the Ice Project.
I also attached a picture of the 18 wonderful children, which, I’m pretty sure, melted her heart because she responded with, “Oh my gosh, thanks for the picture, I'm so in love!”
Additionally, she wanted more information about The Ice Project. I sent her facts, figures and totals and closed the email with this, “Don't feel obligated to put any cash towards this; it is entirely up to you. If you can give 10 bucks, great! If not, great! Follow whatever the Lord leads you to do.”
Linda responded with, “Well, don't freak out but I would like to donate the [needed amount] all at once. My husband recently passed away and surprised me with a bit of money to take care of end-of-life expenses. I've done that and I have just about [the needed amount] left over. He would have loved to help with this; the concept of helping them to help themselves would have been right up his alley. In earlier days, he would have hoped to go over there, help set it up and [help get a] business system going. So, I would like to donate this remaining money he provided me to this project in his name: Harry T. Kelly.
God is good.
In the midst of personal tragedy, Linda chose to be generous and show kindness. Generations, literally generations to come will be changed because of the gift; unknown numbers of orphans will be reaping the fruits of their concern.
If you ever had the blessing of meeting Mr. Harry T. Kelly, I’m envious. I did not know the man, but because of my friendship with his wife, I can say with certainty that he was a thoughtful, generous, compassionate human being. When he saw a need, he met that need. He loved his wife, his children and his neighbor, even if he/she was on the other side of the planet.
We are working right now to open the doors of C.R.O.H. Kelly Ice. Because of this small business, ice will be provided to local fisherman, and sustainability and security will be brought to Kadiatu, Paul, Joseph, Christopher, Esther, Haja, Usifu, Muhamed, Raymond, Hasanatu, Esther, Sorie, James, Aminata, Ishmel, Zinab, Mayamu and Junior.
On behalf of all the kiddos and staff of Children’s Redemption Orphanage Home:
Thank you to the Kelly family.