Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ethiopia: Day 7

I posted that last Day 6 update before the day was really over! I just got so excited we had wifi that I just sent what I had typed right away!

Dinner last night was some sort of soup - not really sure what was in it but I'm going to guess cheese and potatoes and some other vegetable maybe. It was actually really good. Either that or I was just starving from no lunch! Also had some fried chicken - I tried a leg but didn't like it. And my camera battery was dead and my phone was on the charger, so I didn't get a picture of it!

We sat around and talked and looked at each others pictures in the lobby for quite awhile. And emailed of course! Everyone was really excited to have some communication with loved ones back home! I waited up to FaceTime with a certain someone on his lunch break - and it was awesome!! Made my night! :)

Went to bed around 11 and slept pretty well. Got up at 7 (more FaceTime!) and quickly showered before breakfast at 7:30. Cinnamon rolls! Well, rolls with some cinnamon on top anyways. They were warm and they were good!

Today is day 3 for these khaki pants and they are starting to look and smell like it!! I have other clothes, but these just go with anything! I'll have to switch tomorrow...

Left the guest house at 8:30 for Kind Hearts. Saw a guy dragging a goat up a big hill just as we left. He had his front two legs in his hands and was making him walk/hop (quickly) on his back two. The poor goat eventually collapsed as we drive by so I'm not sure what happened after that. Probably just got dragged some more. :( Ugh, it was just awful! I hate when people are mean to animals!!

Goat (with front feet tied together) on the right...

It's always sad when you see an animal that is starving or being abused, but it's a little different over here because there is usually a child right next to that animal in the same - or worse - condition... And that I just can't take...I've had tears in my eyes on far too many occasions this trip. My heart is just broken for the little faces in this country, and it's so hard to feel so helpless. I mean, I know we're making a difference. How big, we will never know. But the work will never end - it will never be enough. There will always be one more child who needs a hug. Always one more mouth to feed. Hard to stomach. But I'll never give up...I know that. I won't ever forget these children - or the ones I spent time with in Haiti or Nicaragua. The images are not something that just go away. There is a verse I have printed on a picture of my kids in Nicaragua that I have on my desk at work and look at every day: "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act. Proverbs 24:12. I feel like since Ive been blessed enough to have these experiences,I am responsible to do something about it. To at least try and make a change. Ugh - tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Okay, I'm done. Much easier to think about how happy these kids are this week!!

Arrived at Kind Hearts about 9:15 and played with the kids for awhile. Beza and Yitbarek both remembered me! Got some cute pictures with both of them! One with Yitbarek wearing my sunglasses - he thought they were pretty cool so I can wait to give him his care package later today! Matt put some in there for him!!

That is the LINE for the mery-go-round!!

They're so patient!

A bunch of kids had a circle going singing some songs and one person got picked each time to dance in the middle. I happened to see one little girl all by herself under a tree, so I went over and scooped her up and brought her over to the circle. And of course as soon as I got over there, I got picked to dance in the middle! I didn't put the little girl down - she had to dance with me - and I think it was the only time I saw her smile all day. God only knows why she is so sad or what her story is. I probably don't even want to know... (Update: just found out that little "girl" wearing pink is actually a boy! So hard to tell sometimes!)

YouTube link:


Boy or girl??

Beza wasn't too fond of me plying with other kids. She would run over and shoo them away and stick her hands in mine, ha! It was too cute... Very protective!  Took lots of pics of the beautiful little faces here.  Just can't get enough of them!



 I snuck away from the circle to go play on the monkey bars with a group of boys. Yitbarek was over there and when I picked him up an swung him around, he screamed like a little girl! I about died laughing at him! I chased him around for awhile and he would just squeal every time I got close. I tried to record it because it was just soooo cute, but of course as soon as I got my phone out, he stopped running and wanted to pose for a picture!


How cute is that face??


We broke up into our groups again and went to work.  I did my "Story of Jesus" cross project again today with the kids here. We came up with a good way to keep the groups separate and identifiable: colored tape on shoulders - my first group was the orange group. Once I got them all lined up, I went down the line and rolled all of their sleeves up, shook their little hands, gave them a big hug and looked them in the eyes with a big smile. You would be shocked how special just that made them feel - it was written all over there faces and you could see it in their eyes how important they felt. And they ARE special and important. Something so little can mean so much...


I took them in to one of the classrooms, and I requested the same translator, Helena, so I didn't have to do a whole lot of "teaching." She knew the drill from when we did it at Trees of Glory, so I got to sit with the kids and help them make the crosses instead of teaching/talking.

They were not accustomed to glue either! I had one little guy that absolutely would not touch anything with glue on it! And I accidentally got a little glue on one little girls finger, and I wish you could've seen her poor little face! Her eyes got huge and she looked at me so shocked like she just could not believe I did that! And she just held it out like she had no idea what to do with it. I couldn't help but laugh at her, but she was not pleased! It was really funny how each of the kids personalities really came out during the project. Some listened intently to Helena and wanted their cross to be just perfect an wanted to do it ALL themselves. Others could care less if you did it or if half of it was upside down.



Yitbarek was in my second group (6 groups again for 40 minutes each) and he was totally the best one! He listened and as soon as he knew what was next, he wanted to be first - and he wanted his to look good! Lots of pictures of him and the super cute little boys in his group. (One little guy wasn't interested in the cross project, so he just laid down and yawned really loud. Apparently I'm not exciting enough!).


It's pretty cool how much you can get across with hand gestures. But I do know a few Ahmharic words now: smile, sit, wait, push (on the cross once it's glued), hello, bye... That might be about it.

Beza was in my third group and she was such a good little helper! She knew enough English to help me and he other little girls out. And then she stood up at the end and talked about what she learned. I was so proud of her! :)

In the middle of that group, one of the translators came and got me to give Yitbarek his care package. I was so excited I sprinted all the way across the playground! Yitbarek knew what was up and was pretty excited. The translator read him the letter from Matt and showed him the pictures. He just stared and smiled... He REALLY liked the pictures. We unwrapped the shirts and tried on the sunglasses, looked at the Chapstick and colored pencils and paper, and his eyes got huuuuge when he saw the beef jerky and cheese! It was too cute. I think I underestimate just how hungry these kids really are. The translator said he wanted to eat it, so at the end I have a cute video of him trying to say thank you with his little cheeks so full he can barely talk! He didn't really know all that stuff was wrapped in new shirts until the very end (they were face down), and he seriously was so pumped for the super hero t-shirt!! He put it right on and just grinned real big and looked again at the picture of Matt holding that same shirt!! It really does mean SO much to these kids to get things - especially pictures - from their sponsors! Once we had gone through everything, he sat on my lap and kissed me on the cheek. I just melted. He is so stinking sweet and cute!! Lots of pics and videos of all this, of course. He had a smile from ear to ear... :)



After all that, we did some more crosses and made it through three groups before we broke for lunch, which was rice with some sort of meat and vegetable. It was pretty good, and I had a banana for dessert. We had another "coffee ceremony" after that, which meant more popcorn and cookies! Still haven't tried any coffee, but I'll try and buy some before I leave. Everyone says its the best!

We went back to the classroom around 1:30 for more cross projects. Three more groups. I really get the feeling they don't do a lot of arts and crafts projects! They were just so proud of the crosses when they were done...crooked and falling apart or not! I can only hope they will look at them again someday and think about us being here and remember what they learned today and what the little pictures on the cross stand for!

We finished a little early with one group so they sang the alphabet for us - in English! Of course I recorded that... These kids are just too cute!! Then we taught them "Yes, Jesus loves me" - they are so bright and learned it right away.

Jesus Loves Me:

One other group sang a song for us, too.  It says "This the way I wash my face...  This the way I brush my teeth... This the way I put my clothes...  This the way I walk to school..." etc.  It's pretty funny, and the kids LOVE singing it! 

This the way I...:

Little boy in 5th group was holding his crotch, so I had the translator ask if he had to pee. He said no, but I think he just didn't want to leave he group and miss out on the project, because about 10 minutes later, his pants and the cement around him were wet! Poor little guy peed his pants! I quietly told the translator and she had him leave, but a few minutes later he came back in...with a teacher and still in the same wet pants. He doesn't have any other clothes, and he was really sad that he was going to miss making the cross. :( I don't know if no one noticed or if they just didn't care, but he sat right back down next to me and we just kept going. Yuck...

I had to go to the bathroom (again!) and someone had gone #2 and missed the hole. It was just sitting there on the ground right in front of it! Ugh - it was all I could do to squat over that without vomiting!!

During the last group, I got to go give Beza her care package! She got so excited when she saw me running across the playground! It was a pretty similar scenario to Yitbarek's...lots of smiles and hugs and kisses. She loved her chap stick and headbands...and ate the beef jerky immediately. My niece (Allie) helped pick out the black, sparkly shirt and she loved it, too! She was so grateful and just hugged and kissed me several times. Going to treasure those memories (and pictures) for a long time!


"Can I eat that??"


Got a kiss after she read my letter!





Went back to finish lessons with kids after that.  Once everything was done (we made it thruogh all of the groups), I went out to play with the kids and spotted Yitbarek in the playground sporting his new shirt and sunglasses!! He even posed for a picture. Such a big personality! Just love this little guy!

We got all of the kids together for one big group picture with all their new stuff! I spotted Yitbarek on the end so I went and sat by him - he ended up sitting on my lap for the picture. All these kids are just SO happy! I know I already said this, but it really is just such a blessing to be a part of this!

We left Kind Hearts a little before 5 and went back in to the city (have I mentioned yet that this place is on the edge of town?) to a place called Tomoca to buy some coffee. Everyone has gone on and on about Ethiopian coffee, and this place is supposedly the best, so I bought a couple pounds (some ground, some not) for people back home. Then I got sold on the cute gift bags for them. Theeeen I had to get a little ceramic coffee pot and base to sit it on from a guy on the street. It was 30 birr - come on! (That's less than $2!) And his mom made them (supposedly). I couldn't pass it up...



I bought one off the top shelf.
One of the girls is sick. First one to go down!! She took a taxi back to the guest house. For everyone else, the next stop was Yod Abyssinia for a traditional Ethiopian dinner - and some entertainment (dancers)! It was a really cool restaurant! I got a good seat right up front in the middle so I could seethe stage - and let me tell you, those people could move it! I've never seen any human move like that before. I mean, the girls' heads would just whip back and forth, the guys would open and snap shut their shoulders/chests, and move their feet/bodies while their heads stayed completely still.  It's really not even worth me trying to explain either. I took a couple of videos of it early on, but I'm not sure it's going to look as cool as it was in person! Plus the dances built up and got better and better towards the end of the night, but of course my phone was dead by then! Julie got one of the end I think though. I can wait to upload all these videos and pictures.

YouTube Links:

Nice music before the crazy dancing started.

A funny skit (funny if you know Ahmharic) they performed about marriage.

Oh yea, and the food was almost identical to what I had at Elsa's Ethiopian Restaurant in Overland Park. So nothing new, but it was still good! And there was a coffee ceremony after dinner (they're really big on coffee ceremonies over here) and guess what the lady was using to pour the coffee?? The very exact coffee pot I had just bought off the street! I was so pumped when I saw that! It will definitely always remind me of Ethiopia...because I'm pretty sure we've had at least one coffee ceremony a day since we've been here!

See the big bowl of popcorn?? That always comes with the coffee!


Okay, that's about it for today. It's 10:30 here and we just got back to the guest house a little bit ago. Long day! Tomorrow we are going back to Kind Hearts for our last day there. We will do more activities with the kids again and have the big feast with the goats we're buying in the morning!

Pic from my phone for today: Yitbarek wearing his new shirt and wrapped up in his new blanket!

Sent from my iPhone

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