Monday, November 14, 2011

Ethiopia: Day 4

(Alright, I'm too tired and don't have time to write today and keep up with everything, so this is going to be short(ish) blurbs to help me remember what happened and I'll fill in the rest later. Sorry this might not all make sense!)

I was up late, and didn't sleep that well.  I got up at 6 to make sure I got a shower this morning.  Wifi was working, so I skyped / emailed again. SO great to talk! Breakfast was heart shaped waffles with super runny syrup. 

We left around 8:30 for the 30 minute drive to Kind Hearts, and stopped for water and fruit (for the kids) in an apartment complex area.  

Apartment complex area where we stopped to buy fruit .

We pulled off the main road and down little dirt path - and arrived at Kind Hearts School.  It is in a very poor community.  

All the kids were lined up clapping and singing songs for us. I recorded them, of course.  Most of the songs were in English, too, which really surprised me!

YouTube link:

 I walked over to where the little kids were standing and spotted Matt's little sponsor-boy, Yitbarek, right away. Too cute and very outgoing, ornery, leader - VERY active. I got a couple videos of him playing. He is totally the cutest little guy here with such a big personality - always smiling and teasing girls. Always in the front of the line. He's new here and not too sure what to think about all of us. it just kills me that Matt isn't here to meet him. They have a lot of the same personality traits and they would have so much fun together! This little guy was meant for him!!


I looked around in the sea of kids, and couldn't find my sponsor-girl, Bezawit. One little girl kept coming up to me and shaking my hand, introducing herself, but I kept saying hi and walking around trying to find my Beza. There were multiple girls named that and I was really sure she wasnt mine. She didn't look anything like the girl in my picture. Well apparently I ignored her enough, and she came back with an 8x10 picture of my face, ha! And the letter I wrote her via email a couple of weeks ago!

Everyone cracked up at the story, and it was pretty funny, but I kind of felt awful. She had spotted me right away (my hair was a giveaway) and I didn't recognize her at all!  She has lots of curly hair and is just beautiful - and so smart!  Her hand never left mine (or my pocket) the rest of the morning. I had to get a translator (we only need one here because they all speak Ahmharic) to tell her I was just going to the bathroom (another hole in the ground - but waaaay worse than TOG) and would be right back because she wouldnt let me go! I brought a couple of Ahmharic to English kids picture books. Beza can read and speak a little English. The kids loved going through the books with me - and I painted a few nails too, but wasn't as crazy as TOG. Walked around and played with kids...and took lots of pictures. 


They held a traditional coffee ceremony for us that afternoon.  Popcorn and kollo (Ethiopian trail mix) and cookies - and coffee. Didn't try the coffee, but everyone said it was great. Recorded beautiful song that kids sang that said Jesus is the truth, way and life. 

YouTube link:


Two years ago (in 2009) Childrens HopeChest toured Kind Hearts care point. On verge of closing. 68 kids then. Teachers not being paid and children not getting fed. HopeChest immediately sponsored those kids and stepped in before government shut it down. Now have 140 kids through grade 3.  Raised money for well and playground equipment - need more buildings now to go through grade 6. 

Tour of grounds. New kitchen built this year. Library funded by church in St.  Joe, MO. I gave them the two Ahmharic books I brought and you would've thought I gave them the world. They asked me to write in them and just shook my hands and thanked me repeatedly. 


Guard's house (on left) and library (on right)

New kitchen

Inside the kitchen

Class room on other side of kitchen



The books I gave them
Surrounding land is just beautiful. Just on the edge of town. Hills and acacia trees and open fields.  (Definitely feels like Africa. Still can't believe I'm really here!) Hot in sun, but pretty cool in shade.  I get why the kids layer their clothes now!

Water project for school and entire community (5,000 people) on the property.  Well pumps 9 liters per minute. Underground pipes run from well up hill to reservoir. More than 113 meters deep.  Need generator now so can use it.

The reservoir where the well pumps water to

There is a tannery nearby - their waste runs off into the stream so water is very polluted. During rainy season kids can't come to school because water gets too high to cross. Bridge is entrance to community. River smells SO bad - can't even describe it. 


Entrance to the community

Bridge the kids have to cross

Guard's house (from the back)

 Walked back to school - kids having lesson outside. Gave Beza my leather bracelet that said "Bring Love In" in English and Ahmharic. Bought it to support a family adopting from Ethiopia back home.  It was a little big, but she looooved it. 

While kids lined up outside the kitchen to get their lunch, we ate ours, too. Julie (pregnant): "If it's not recognizable upon first viewing, I'm not eating it." It was carrots and potatoes...not sure if they were cooked or not. Thank goodness we had bread - and super sticky peanut butter. 

Saw little girl carrying baby outside gate who didn't attend Kind Hearts. She wandered in when we were eating, so of course we fed them, too. So sad. 

Finished tour with classrooms. Third, second, first, and kindergarten. Rooms painted by same church is St. Joe that funded library. NEED money to build another building so school can go up to 6th grade before next year!  Otherwise the third graders (BEZA!) will have no where to go!

Went to bathroom again and saw a little boy eating all by himself with flies all over his face. Ugh - that's the worst! Took a pic and it still makes me sad just to look at. 

The bathroom at Kind Hearts

Started a big soccer game with kids, but only so many can play that. Started GIANT game of duck duck goose. Kids LOVED it and thought it was hilarious. I sat by Beza and Yitbarek (who translator finally told who I was - he grinned really big).  I got picked pretty early on in the game but didn't want to catch the poor little guy. So I was out and had to sit in the middle. That game didn't last too long...

Duck-duck-goose - in Ahmharic

Got out some I SPY books and the kids were really good at those. Black scratch paper that you scratch with a stick and color is underneath was next. Not much of an attention span with these kids. Drew some pictures and English words for the kids. Noticed on one of the girls that she had sharp sticks in her ears to pierce them. Talk about painful!!

This little girl, Beti, was found abandoned.  She lives with a care-taker now.  But she is the cutest and brightest little girl with such a wonderful, outgoing personality.  Can't believe someone would abandon her!!

Beti in my sunglasses

Sticks in Beti's ears
Said goodbyes at 3. Lots of hugs and kisses (they love to kiss you on the cheek) and ciao's. Yitbarek came right up to me with both arms up!! Made me SO happy!! I scooped him up and he gave me a kiss!! Heart melting again! Some of the kids chased us and ran along side the bus as we drove away.

They'll kiss anything they can get ahold of!

Before we left, we gave the staff enough money to buy everything for a big feast for the kids - four goats and everything else cost 5210 birr (about $300).  (And if I haven't mentioned it yet, there are goats EVERYWHERE in the villages and even in the middle of the city, just wandering the streets!)

Drove 45 minutes or so to Onesimus, another drop in center / orphanage in the city that works with the street kids. Onesimus means used to be useless but is useful now. 
There are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia and over 60,000 street children in Addis alone.  The social workers at Onesimus visit children on the streets and just make friends with them first. The first beneficiary has dropped in to Onesimus more than 70 times and he took first grade 6 times before he passed. Family visit is second step (if they have a family).  Then the children, if they are willing, are invited to the drop in center for showers and meals, counseling and sports uniform, but they still go back to the street.  Finally, the last step will start if they keep coming for two months. They are allowed to move in to the orphanage or "halfway home." There are currently 9 boys and 7 girls in the halfway homes. They strongly believe that education is the only way to make a change, and they also provide seed money where they can for families to get out of poverty and start making money themselves. Provide food and support for around 20 families who are  barely surviving. Really cool organization. Director has big visions and truly believes in these kids. He says their first need is just love. We got a quick tour of the place and it's really nothing more than a few rooms and two buildings. The kids are great - hard to believe they have nothing and live on the streets. They sang some songs and danced and clapped and just seemed so happy. It's just not fair. These kids are so sweet and bright. They just got dealt an awful hand in life. Makes 
me sick to think about. There are 200 kids there and only 20 are sponsored. I think I've found my next mission... 



Little girl standing outside her house when we left
We weren't there at Onesimus that long.  Left for dinner at Arcobaleno Italian restaurant.  Fancy place with candles and roses on white table clothes and nice art on the wall. We were all just slightly underdressed and smelly after being with the kids all day. I had homemade ravioli and it was pretty good. Helena sat next to me and had injera and traditional Ethiopian food, Julie on other side had cheese pizza and it was really good!  (Lost the lens cap for my camera at some point between the restaurant and the bus!) 

Headed back to guest house around 8. Internet and wifi working again. So great to get to communicate a little!

Tomorrow I'm taking a break from working with the kids and heading to Lalibela. Google it, it looks pretty cool. I was excited about this trip, but I think I would rather just spend more time with the kids now. It's only one day though. Flight leaves  at 7am tomorrow (Tuesday) and we come back at noon on Wednesday.  Should be a very interesting trip. No idea about Internet out there, so  may be out of commission for a day...

Picture from phone for today: me with Yitbarek...right after I spotted him this morning!

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

  1. Oh terri, I can't take it. I wish I was there to help! Safe travels on your mini-trip :)