Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ethiopia: Day 9

I woke up at 6:30 to the sound of the generator being fired up. Still no electricity (so still no wifi)!   It only ran for about a minute, but nothing ever turned on in the guest house. They have been trying to get a maintenance guy over here all  night to look at it - but no luck finding one.  I guess this is pretty common in Ethiopia. On the trip Karen lead last year, it was off for several days! So we've been lucky I guess! My phone is completely dead now, too...

I slept pretty well last night with my earplugs in, but Monica and Julie both have nasty colds now, so they're both snoring and coughing and sniffling all night.  Oh, and there were mosquitos in our room this morning (I don't think I got bit), so I checked our window, and sure enough, it has been open just a little the whole time we've been here! No wonder its been so loud in here!

No shower for me  this morning.  I just can't do the ice cold water thing - not unless I'm desperate anyways, and two days is not desperate! I just threw the same black pants on and a clean tshirt, washed my face, and called it good. Didn't even touch my hair - its looking pretty crazy today!

Breakfast at 8 was oatmeal. But not just normal oatmeal. It had some serious spices in it!  I don't even know what - cloves I think? It was really good, but by the end of my bowl, my mouth was on fire!

We left around 8:45 for the long drive out to Trees of Glory.  Some people wanted to buy some kollo to take home, and we needed to buy some oranges for the kids at TOG.  Fruit is a real treat to them because there isn't a fruit stand anywhere nearby. So we took a different way out of town to stop by a super market for the kollo. I was pretty surprised at how dead the city was on a Saturday morning. I guess they were all out late last night?? 


A lot of the cars here are lined with fur!
We pulled up to a little market on the side of the road, and everyone piled in to buy whatever they wanted...kollo and coke and candy and pringles...  I didnt want to join the madness in there, so I walked around outside and watched some men unload some vegetables from a truck. They were shoveling onions out of the truck and into a basket on the ground, and onions were going everywhere.  One rolled clear over to where I was, so I picked it up and walked it over to them...and asked if I could take a picture. They said I could, and then aaaalll those grown men just cracked up when I showed it to them! They all started posing and wanting more - it was too funny!  The men here kind of have an almost child-like personality it seems like... I love it!



Next stop was a little fruit stand at the edge of town to buy oranges. I didn't buy any kollo at the first place, but decided to hop out at this place and buy one little bag so my brothers back home could try it. It was like fifty cents!  It tastes okay - not that great - but it's something different.  Once we had our bags of oranges, we set off over the mountain and through the country side. 


The drive was pretty uneventful  - nothing too exciting. We did notice some carvings in the rock on the side of the mountain that were of the churches of Lalibela! Not sure how we missed those the first two times over. Saw lots of kids herding cattle and working fields...lots of women hunched over with their backs loaded down...same sad story. 

When we pulled up to TOG, a lot of the kids were playing soccer, and a few were on the playground equipment.  Once we dropped our stuff for the salvation bracelets in the classroom, I went right out to search for Mita!  She's pretty easy to spot with her crazy hair - and shes not usually in a big group playing... But I looked everywhere and just couldn't find her!  

The teachers started lining everyone up to separate them into groups...and I still didn't see her. I asked the teacher if she was there - well with hand motions and saying her name, and she shook her head and her finger and said, "Mita Tafesse - no."   Uuuuggghhh!!  I was SO excited to smother her all day - and hopefully see her in her new clothes! Nobody knew where she was. I guess kids just don't show up sometimes. That kind of put a damper on my day right away...


I brought a pair of my rain boots to wear in case it was rainy and muddy here.  It hasn't been - the weather has been great - but I don't have room to take them back home with me, so I left them with Simret here at TOG.  Surely they will get some use during the rainy season!

Goodbye, rainboots!  Enjoy your new life in Africa!
We did two groups of salvation bracelets before lunch, but we put masking tape around the ends to keep them from freying this time. It went much smoother. And we got Helena again, so we really didn't have to teach at all. It's tricky here though because everything still has to be translated from English to Ahmharic to Oromiffa.  

Tariku - now sponsored by my good friends!

I forgot to print off T H A N K Y O U on paper before I left - to have the kids hold up for a picture to use for a thank you card back home - so I had some of the kids draw and color block letters on paper to use later in the day... Better than nothing I guess!

When we broke for lunch, we all went and helped serve the kids their big "feast" of injera, sheep, rice/veggies, and coke! Its so cute how they all sit their patiently, but you can see the excitement in their eyes! And it amazes me how much they can all eat! Their little hands and faces are just covered in red sauce from the meat...lots of pictures. It makes me happy to know they all got full bellies today!

Walking down the hill for lunch

A plastic tub full of injera


When we were done serving the kids, we went back up the hill (saw some beautiful sunflowers I hadn't noticed before) to have our own lunch.  Some pasta with tuna in it (it was edible) and the leftovers from the kids meal.  Misikre somehow managed to spill the meat sauce the kids were eating ALL over himself, and April spilled hot milk (for her coffee) all over her pants.  We were a messy group!



We had three more groups after lunch to do salvation bracelets with.  At some point, I happened to look outside the window and saw a young lady with a beautiful little baby strapped to her back. I've had two cute baby blankets that were hand-made to give away, and haven't really found a baby yet to give them to yet!  So I grabbed one of the blankets and ran out of the classroom to her. I motioned that I wanted to give the blanket to the baby, and she nodded yes. Oh my goodness, was that baby cute! I took way too many pictures of him wrapped up in a new, soft blanket!  Some lady from Canada also sent some little knitted hats and sweaters for babies, so I went in and grabbed one of those for him, too. He looked adorable with it on! (I went back over there later and asked to hold him and got even more pictures!)


Simret (TOG director), me, baby, caregiver, baby's momma
The pics from when I went back later in the day (right before we left):


When the last group was done with their bracelets, I asked Helena if  I could grab a few kids and run down to the old well to get a picture with the thank you letters. She said sure (she would come translate) so I quickly grabbed 9 kids on the end and motioned for them to follow me. I took off running down the hill with all of them squealing and smiling - right on my heels. I had on flip-flops and they're a little more used to the Ethiopian rocky country side! We ran and ran for quite awhile, and for the life of me I could not find the old well site! I really wanted to climb down around it and hold up the signs (I get something in my head and then will do anything to get it, ha), but after we had been running for awhile, I decided I should probably just take it at the site where the new one will be - for the sake of time and safety. The place where the new one will be is just a cement slab right now.  I think I have pictures of the old well from the other day, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure it would have been safe or even possible to get them all down there around it. So I tried to get them lined up and all holding the signs the right way...but it wasn't working too well. And we realized when we got down there that Helena only speaks Ahmharic and they only spoke Oromiffa! So the pictures aren't the best, but they'll have to work!

I herded them all back up the hill to everyone else, and they were all getting lined up for a big group picture. It's such a process to get that many kids organized! But we did get some pictures - some of just the kids and some with us in there, too.  After that, we said our goodbyes to the kids, who were already late leaving (again). It was much easier today for me since Mita wasn't there. I still gave and received lots of hugs and kisses, but I'm just not as attached to any of the other kids as I was to Mita. So no tears! :)




We all went back in to one of the classrooms as the kids were leaving to talk with the staff and give them some gift bags we put together.  Turned out they had little gifts for all of us, too!  I got a little pink weaved basket - that I'm sure my niece will love! One less gift I have to buy tomorrow, ha!  It really was so nice (and unnecessary) for them to get us something! They prayed over us and told us how thankful they were for us. It was pretty moving, and I was closer to tears during that than I was leaving the kids. Simret, the director of TOG that lives there with the orphans, just has such a heart for the kids. I mean they are her life and the love she has for them is so obvious. It's great to see that...

The pink basket I received as a gift (now in the posession of Allie)
After we talked about the needs and future goals they have for TOG, we hit the road for the drive home. There was a cop on the side of the road as we drove through one of the little villages, and we waived us over. Our driver was kind of frustrated, but all the cop wanted was a ride, ha!! We all thought that was pretty funny. (And we didn't give him one!)

These TOG days are bad for me... Just too much time in the van to think about everything! It's been an interesting week. I cried when I left Kansas City, and I cried when I left the kids here in Addis. Whats wrong with me!? Ha! ;) Which life do I really want? That's the question, I guess...

We got back to the guest house around 8:30.  Still no wifi, but we do have electricity! Got another quick email out on the computer in the lobby.  Dinner was injera and some kind of meat and bread. I really wasn't hungry at all - I had a granola bar on the ride home - so I just had a piece of bread. 

It's 9:30 here and I'm exhausted - again. These days fly by but really take it out of me! Tomorrow (Sunday) we go to church, out for lunch, shopping in the afternoon, back to guest house for dinner, then to the airport for our 10:15pm flight!

I'll be home soon!

(Picture from my phone today is of the baby with his new blanket! I have way better ones than this on my camera, but this is the only one I got on my phone...)

Sent from my iPhone

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