Wednesday, February 15, 2012

more from ET

Tusday monring we went back to the Children's Hopechest care point in Chappa, the same place we had been the day before. We had 2 things on the agenda there. The first was to take pictures of 143 kids that still need to be sponsored. Caleb and I worked on this task while the rest of the team did some activities with the rest of the kids. The culture was a little different there (not as touchy-feely and a little more reserved that the rest of Ethiopia) so it was interesting to see the kids reaction to having their pictures taken. Overall it was fun seeing all of the kids, and we were able to find every kid on the list we were given. The other thing we did was serve the kids a feast. Someone back home had donated funds for the feast. The team bought a small brahma bull (which was referred to as an ox), some injera (a kind of bread unique to Ethiopia) and several cases of soda pop. The bull was walked on to the property Monday afternoon and was then butchered after the kids left. Some of the staff stayed up all night butchering, preparing, and cooking the meal. The main dishes were 2 kinds of stew, one spicy and one not, which were served on top of the injera. We used a bucket-brigade approach to get the plates to the kids once they had been filled. It was a lot of fun and the kids were so excited. Many of them probably only get meat a couple of times a year, so it was a real treat. After they had eaten, each was given a bottle of pop. We weren't sure if it was the best idea, but the local staff insisted. It was the first encounter with pop for many of the kids. Some drank it way too fast and felt bad; other spit it out because the sensation of carbonation was so foreign to them. All of the kids had a blast regardless. The staff then served our team a couple of small but special dishes they had prepared. It was some of the best Ethiopian food I've ever had. The selections included tibs (which is small pieces of marinated beef served on top of injera), a kind of powdery paste made from butter & false banana (which is the root from a tree that look like a banana tree in every way except it doesn't produce bananas), and last but not least pieces of raw fat from the "hump" on the neck of the brahma bull. The Ethiopians told us we didn't have to eat the raw fat, but I thought it would be fun. It was actually really good!

We left Chappa in the early afternoon for the drive (about 5 hours) back to Addis. We stopped on the way and ate a late lunch/early supper at a really nice resort on Lake Langano. The food was pretty good, but they had ice cream which is rare here & was really nice in the middle of a long, hot car ride. Driving is always an adventure here, but it is even more exciting at night. I lost track of how many goats, donkeys, cows, people, cars, trucks, etc we almost hit on the drive. Our driver is a really cool older guy who is really great at what he does. We got back to the guest house about 8:30 and were disppointed to find that the internet wasn't working. It was probably good though because we all went to bed earlier than normal. This morning we went to a couple of different ministries in Korah, one of the poorest slums in Addis that started as a leper colony about 80 years ago. It is next to the city's trash dump from which most of the residents of Korah glean their existence. This first place was called Mission Ethiopa, which was founded by the same guy who owns the guest house we're staying in. Mission Ethiopia rescues women (about 35 at present) from the streets and gives them work makes beads & scarfs which are mostly sold to Westerners. The wages they earn are enough to provide them with housing, food, clothing, and education for their children. The women start each day with an hour or two of praying for one another and their community, singing and dancing. They have truly become a family. It was fabulous to see healing and redemption among a group who had previously been literally some of the most destitute people on the planet. I will be bringing home lots of their handiwork if anyone would like to buy some & support thier ministry. We next went to Empowering Hope which is a day care for single women in Korah. The day care services are provided at no charge to the women so they can go to work. The goal is to try to keep the women from having to give up their children for adoption for no reason other than abject poverty. They have about 60 kids in the program. The children are given 2 meals a day, medical care, some clothing, and some food to support the nourishment of the rest of the family. They also do some microfinance work with some of the mothers to give them greater opportunities to earn a living. This afternoon we are heading to Hope for the Hopeless, which is a Children's Hopechest drop in center for street children in Addis. We are then going to dinner with a couple of missionaries. The trip has been really amazing, but it is starting to get long. I really miss home, especially my beautiful wife and wonderful children. Time goes fast here though, so I know I'll be heading home before I know it. Thanks for reading!

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