Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello from Addis Ababa!!

Hello from Addis Ababa! 

This is our fourth day here in Ethiopia and boy oh boy this has been quite the experience. It is hard to believe that this is only the fourth day because, by the grace of God, we have been able to get so many things done at the school and other things on our to-do list. So let's cut to the chase and talk about the things we did, saw, and experienced today, because I know that is what ya'll are wanting to know :) Our morning started off as it normally does with the exception that Todd made some AMAZING  french toast (we were lucky enough to inherit a chef on our team). The first stop on our schedule this morning was at the AHOPE HIV Orphanage. This was a first for a lot of us and it was definitely eye opening, as most of the trip has been. Upon arriving at the orphanage we emptied our donations out of our van and after a meeting with one of the employees, we were given a tour of the orphanage. We got to see the room where they keep all the medicine and we also got to see the bedrooms where the kiddos sleep. After our tour we all went outside and got to play with the kids and as I was standing on the porch I spotted a little girl who was off by herself and I was drawn to her. She was a beautiful little girl with big brown eyes but the thing that struck me the most was how closed off she was. All the other children were playing with us and having a good time but she was off by herself. After talking with her for a few minutes and watching her reactions, it hurts my heart to think about how closed off she is at six years old. Sometimes when I look and think about the children here (in the AHOPE orphanage and the Kechene community), I have this feeling that I need to save the world. What I am coming to realize more and more while we are here is that there is a difference between having basic knowledge on how things are in third-world countries and actually experiencing it.

After we were done at the orphanage we visited a transition home for teenagers with HIV who are too old to be in the orphanage. In this transition home these girls and boys are taught skills that will help them prepare to live on their own once they must leave the house. While at the girls transition home we had a very different experience (for most of us). We were asked if we wanted to watch a chicken being slaughtered. And, of course, the boys and some of the girls were like "Oh yeah cool!" …not. So in case you are wondering, yes, a chicken does run around for a few seconds after its head has been cut off. :) The most exciting, and slightly stressful ;), part of the day was when we arrived at the school to register some more children for the kindergarten. It was an afternoon full of conversing with the mothers, playing with the children and running after them when they were about to do something dangerous, and painting the gates of the school and the courtyard wall. So many things done today! :) The older children even helped us with some painting. It was also an emotional afternoon for some of us as Binyam's dream and Awake and Alive's vision came alive. The classroom is 99.9% done! The flooring was laid, the tables and chairs were put in, the curtains were put up and the school looks good. It is so amazing to be able to be a part of something as big as this. Even though we aren't saving the world, we are changing the lives of children and families in Kechene and that is a beautiful thing. God is good :) 

Our last, but most certainly NOT least, experience was tonight at Bright Future. As most of you don't know, Ethiopians have a tradition for New Years (which, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is now 2005. In Ethiopia of course… :) in which they buy a goat, slaughter it, and then have a celebration that consists of cooking the goat over a fire and then eating it with friends. Let me tell you, this is not a concept that most of us are used to but it was actually fun. We had an awesome time hanging out with the kids, playing table tennis, sitting by the fire, lighting a 7 foot tall torch, dancing around it, and of course eating goat meat! I'm pretty sure most of us can still hear him bah-ing in our stomachs… ;) It was very cool to experience a different way of celebrating New Years, and none of us minded trying goat because this tradition is only something that people who are more well-off get to experience because goats are expensive. So it was very cool to be able to celebrate with them. Well everyone, that is how our day has been here in Ethiopia. Praise God that the rain held off long enough so we could get some things done. Thank you for being so faithful to the blog and in your prayers for our team! 


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