Welcome to The Nicol Family Blog.

This site is designed to keep our friends and family up to date with the ongoing events that take place in the lives of the Nics (The Nicols) James Ch 1 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.............

The BIG day has arrived!!!!

Well today Berhanu and I drove up to LA and met with Karen for his pre-op appointment. Everything went well.

We also met up with the film crew again and they got some good footage of Bernie riding his bike round the garden, it was so cute!!!! and also scary at the same time. Unknown to him by this time tomorrow he will be through the first stage of back surgery.

After we were finished with the crew we went to the zoo, where we spent the rest of the day.

Right now I am in Ronald McDonald House just beside the hospital as Bernie has to be at the hospital for 5.30am!!!!! He is fast asleep after speaking to Bethany for half an hour on the cell phone (don't ask me!!!! I do not know how someone who cannot speak a word of English can speak to someone who cannot speak a word of Amharic for half an hour!!!!!).

Please pray for wee Bernie that God keeps his wee body strong through this long operation, and that our GREAT physician leads Dr Skaggs hands. We thank the Lord for Dr Skaggs and his team. Pray for each person that enters that operating theatre tomorrow, that they will feel something different, and that something being the power of prayer.

Thanks once again, will keep you posted through out the day tomorrow.

I am hoping to attach a photograph of Bernie with his pumpkin that we carved tonight before he went to bed.
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And so the story unfolds......?

Hi Jim,

thanks for your kind words. At the moment, I'm in the amsterdam

airport, heading to Ethiopia.

Yeah, I really like Berhanu as well.

Here's what my volunteer, Chloe, wrote about Berhanu:

While most 8 year olds spend their day in a 2nd grade classroom,

Berhanu Haptu spends his day helping his elderly grandmother with her

daily chores and caring for his 7 year old sister. When asks what he

wants to e when he grows up, Berhanu ponders, , looking towards the

sky, before slowly answering "stoo-dint." The closest school is 6

kilometers, away, and with Berhanu's poor health, the daily roundtrip

commute of 12 kms makes school impossible for Berhanu.

Both of Berhanu's parents died before he was old enough to remember,

and his 24 year old uncle has assumed the multiple roles of mother,

father, and legal guardian. His uncle, Sisai, is a 10th grade high

school student as well as a farmer and primary caregiver for his

nephew, niece, and mother. The family earns their living by leasing

their small plot of land and reaping a quarter of the farmer's yearly

harvest. Sisay is not able to quantify their yearly income monetarily,

but can only tell me that a good harvest will yield them 6 quintile

(600 kgs) of dura, a type of wheat.

Berhanu is soft and gentle and sidles up to me as his uncle speaks,

eager to examine my fingers, separating them one by one. Berhanu's own

hand remains hidden under the worn cuff of his sweatshirt, a deformed

claw with 3 fingers. It is, as he believes, that by hiding it he has

convinced himself that it is not there. I roll up his sleeve to play

with his hand the same way he plays with mine, but he is quick to

catch me before I complete the first roll of fabric. He looks up with

a sheepish smile. It is interesting to me that Berhanu is so much more

self-conscious about his congenital deformities of his hand than the

exaggerated sickle curve of his spine, but perhaps, in his 8 year old

way, he is choosing his battles. I want to tell him that both battles

can be fought, But I am afraid the ruin the silence of our exchange.

Berhanu's dream is to 1 day be a student. Mine is that he may one day

let me play with his hand the same way he plays with mine.

I am about to send 10 patients to Ghana for spine surgery. If you know

anyone interested in help to fund this (about $12K a kid), let me


My mom lives in Laguna Niguel, and I'm happy to meet you folks next

time I'm on the west coast, and talk about future projects.

Best wishes and thanks,


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