Last month we went on a two week journey to collect children from different villages for our Children Home in Turmi. We visited three tribes in the South Omo Zone (South Ethiopia) and were able to bring back children from the Arbore, Hamer and Kara tribes.
Finding the right girls isn’t
an easy job and requires several steps:
- Parents need to be convinced that school
education is important and that an early (childhood) engagement/marriage is not all a
Elders have to be convinced that security issues
are taken care of (because of inter-tribal conflicts) and that Omo's Morningstar Children is taking good care of their children – i.e., by having a fenced
compound with guards and staff accompanying the children daily on their way to
|Discussion with village elders|
- Children have to be identified with an ability
to learn, with a personality which fits to the existing Omo's Morningstar children,
and a willingness to leave home, their tribe, and culture to start a new
life in OMC’s children home
- If a child is engaged (as early as 4 years old)
the future husband has to be consulted and convinced as well
games, followed by bible story teaching time with singing and dancing are great
tools to learn more about a child. For example, when a child is able to answer
some questions from the teaching time she is attentive and willing to speak in
front of her friends. Also when a child is active during the dance session
it is seen as a positive factor for selection.
Playing games: sharing,
creativity, and ability
to follow instructions
are things to observe
aggressiveness can be monitored
by playing tug of
time I observe if a child is willing to share, to help others, able to follow
instructions, and/or is creative. Eye-hand coordination and logical thinking
are other observation points. Can you see the scientist in me?
logical thinking ability
Selection is cruel -
The main selection criteria is however the
family status, i.e. orphan, poverty, risk of child marriage, mingi,
Goat BBQ'd on sticks
The selection process in a village/tribe takes easily two days. Therefore an
overnight stay in my tent is often required. Sometimes a goat is slaughtered and served in traditional style late in the night.
After a two-week journey visiting three tribes and
endless villages we have 10 new arrivals in our Turmi Children Home.
|Some of Turmi's Children Home children|