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During our team visit to Monrovia, we were given the chance to take a look at a typical orphanage in this poverty-stricken country, in order to help us understand how most Children's Homes are run. It was heartbreaking and made us realise that Everland would be like a palace in comparison.
ABOVE: When we turned up at this orphanage, Eleanor (right, in the white dress) was busy teaching the children, in spite of her having just lost her elderly mother the day before. She knew that she had to keep going for the children in her care. Forty-five children are taught in this little classroom, and 15 of them live in the building, under Eleanor's care. Once caught up in the civil war, she was parted from the children she so loved for a time, and soon after this, she had an illness through which one of her feet suffered from gangrene. We shed tears with her while there, for her plight, her strength, and her incredible resilience for the sake of the children.
ABOVE: Two tiny rooms containing two bunk-beds and one single bed are home to at least 15 children. And yet, they still smile and still have hope in a brighter future :')
ABOVE LEFT: This little girl is called Gloria. When Dee asked if she would show us her bed, she ran to the bottom bunk and pointed as Eleanor watched and smiled.
ABOVE RIGHT: Eleanor is joined by her son. Normally she does everything herself, but her son came back for a while recently. Here you can see that he has built her an oven. Now they can cook cakes and bread as well as the cassava that is growing on their land.
ABOVE LEFT: Little Gloria was extremely fond of MJL Trustee Karen, not wanting to leave her side.
ABOVE RIGHT: Kim points to educational material on the classroom wall as Gloria takes it all in.
ABOVE: Only basic food and cooking utensils are available and all are put to good use as they cater for the many children who live and study in this place full of hope. Our trip to find out what orphanages are generally like in the area was humbling, heartbreaking and inspiring, all at the same time.