I just got a fancy new iPhone this week (I know, it's about time), so I'm hoping to be able to update this blog a few times throughout the trip with how everything is going. But just in case I can't, here is an outline of what the plan is:
Friday morning - leave Washington DC at 11am for a 13 hour non-stop flight to Addis Ababa. When we land it will be 7:45am on Saturday morning there (10:45pm Friday night back here). Hopefully I'll be able to sleep on the plane, because as soon as we land and quickly check-in at the Ethiopia Guest Home where we will be staying, we are driving to 'Trees of Glory' - one of the care points north of the city. We will spend the day there with the kids, and I will finally get to meet Mita, the little girl I originally started sponsoring. (I got some bad news a couple of months ago that Mita's older brother, Derebe, was removed from the care point by family members earlier this year, probably to work and earn money for them instead of receiving an education.)
Sunday morning we will go back to Trees of Glory (TOG) for a church service there, and then we will do our activity/learning stations with the kids and deliver our care packages. I'm really excited to get to give Mita the things I brought for her!
Monday we will visit the other big care point in Addis Ababa called Kind Hearts (150 kids). We will meet the staff and tour the facilities, and we will again get to deliver care packages to these children from their US sponsors. Since I was no longer able to sponsor Derebe at TOG and new children enrolled at Kind Hearts, I started sponsoring Beza (11 years old) there. I hope she likes the things my niece and I picked out for her!
That afternoon we will visit another NGO in the city called Onesimus - they work with some of the thousands of street children who live in Addis Ababa. While these children't aren't "sponsored" and we don't have care packages for them, we do have blankets to give them, and I know they will love having some Americans play with them and love them, even if it is just for an afternoon. Monday night we are planning on going out to eat at Metro Pizza House - pizza in Ethiopia should be interesting!
Tuesday morning, some of us decided to take a short flight to Lalibela to visit the rock hewn churches there that are a UNESCO world heritage site. I've heard/read that these are really something to see, so while I'm so close, I figured I might as well give it a shot. We will stay the night in a hotel there that night and fly back to Addis early Wednesday morning.
Wednesday will be spent at Kechene Children's Home, which is another big orphanage in Addis. We will do bible-based activities with the children and deliver blankets to them.
Thursday we will go back to Kind Hearts and do more activities/projects with the children and deliver the rest of the care packages. That night we will eat at Yod Abbsynia.
Friday will be our last day with the kids at Kind Hearts. We will have a special lunch there prepared by the Kind Hearts staff and children. (I can only imagine what that will be!) We will have to say our final good-byes to the kids there this day, and after my short trip in Haiti, I know how hard that is going to be.
Saturday we will go back to TOG north of the city for more lessons/activities/projects with the kids (we have all of these organized, so hopefully it will run smoothly). We will again have a special lunch prepared by the staff there. Last year, they bought several goats on the side of the road and killed them/chopped them up in to a stew right there in front of everyone! Then it's more good-byes to those kids. I think these two days are going to be the hardest. I know it sounds like such a short time to form any sort of bond (3 days at each place), but I just know I'm going to get attached to the kids again...
Sunday we will go to a church service in Addis and then we will have some free time to do some shopping after lunch at a restaurant called Island Breeze (couldn't find anything about it on-line). Our flight home leaves Addis at 10:15pm Sunday night (1:15 Sunday afternoon back here), and I will hopefully be back at 6:45am on Monday morning.
So that's my upcoming trip. I hope it all goes well, that the kids love the activities we have planned for them, and no one gets sick! Wish us luck! :)