January 11, 2011

Ethiopia: Part 1

For the rest of this week, I am going to do several posts about my trip to Ethiopia November 2010.  I wrote in a journal while I was there, so there will be some of that.  Don't forget pictures, because there are a lot!  I took so many when I was there, and as I go back and look over them, it makes me miss being there.  I can remeber being in the rooms I took pictures of, holding the hand of the little girl who smiles up at me from the computer screen.  I remember living with the team, we grew to be a family.  There are so many memories, which is part of the reason why I want to do these posts.  I hope you enjoy it, and if you would like, head over to my mom's blog, Olive Shoots and Muddy Boots, to learn more about the trip and our adoption.

November 17, 2010
Today we went to Trees of Glory, a school that is about two hours out of the city.  There were only twenty-four of the one hundred kids enrolled there today.  The reason: The parents of the kids learned that we were coming, and that we were Christians.  Because most of them are pagan, they believe that we are coming to convert their children.  When we first arrived we got a tour around the grounds.  They own about twenty-seven acres, and have thirteen buildins on it.  This place was once used by the Japanese, who were building the roads.  When they left, the buildings were vandalized.  Windows are broken and the only well is filled with rocks.  The men on our team are going to work there almost the entire week.  During the tour, we were taken to a small river, where there were cows and goats grazing.  Farther down, there was a bridge that we had passed on our way in.  On the side of the bridge, just over the railing, was a truck that had tipped over. 

 We prayed over this bridge because the people who live near it believe it is cursed.  They offer sacrifices on it, and throw spices into the water, all because there has been so many crashes there. 

We went into the school after the walk, and saw the kids practicing their English letters.  They were very shy, and did not come up to us like the kids at the other school did, but they were smiling and peeking at us.
We brought balloons, jump ropes, beads, crayons.  These kids had never seen markers or crayons before.  They did not know how to color.  It was humbling and so sad all at once.  I could picture my brothers at home with their bucket of markers, saying that they didn't want those ones, they wanted different ones.  Yet, these kids did not even know what a marker was.  They did not even know what a simple joy it is to color, something we take for granted here.

These kids were actually on our way to the school.  They were shepherding with their grandfather, who made us pay him for passing over his land!  We gave them suckers, and some attention they may not normally have gotten.

Because we are not allowed to eat the food they cook, we ate our own lunches.  In Ethiopia, they have a coffee ceremony.  They roast, grind, and brew the coffee right there in front of you.  They also serve popcorn on the side!

We left Trees of Glory with heavy, but happy, hearts.  We saw hope and joy, but poverty and depression as well.  We were not gone for good.  In just a few days we would return to meet more of the children, and for my family, our sponser child.  To be continued...

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