Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 4: Trees of Glory & Korah

I slept great last night. Still can't believe how this all worked out. How I'm staying in an awesome house with a bed, my own nice bathroom, etc.  Just not at all what I expected! That was one of the first things I thought of when I woke lucky I am.  (That and if the San Antonio Spurs won last night!)

I had my alarm set for 6:15 this morning, but I woke up a little before then. Made the bed, sorted through my clothes, and hopped in the shower.  My nice, hot shower. :)  It had been a looooong time since I showered. Well, I showered in DC Saturday morning, but I didn't wash my hair. That hadn't happened since Friday morning! Yuck! Felt amazing to be clean again, wearing some makeup / clean clothes and having my hair done!

I fixed two pb&j  bagel thins for breakfast, and sat down at the table to check my emails. Can I just say again how lucky I am to be staying with Sophie?!  She has internet. Reliable internet on a laptop on her dining room table. And she's so ridiculously sweet!!

So after checking and responding to a few emails (and eating my pb&j's), Alex showed up.  (Driver Alex...this is going to get confusing.)  I called Alex, the HopeChest staff member, and let those two work out where to meet.  In Amharic.  Much easier for all of us. :)  Okay, going forward, driver Alex is still Alex, and HopeChest Alex is going to be Al.  He won't appreciate that, ha. ;)

Leaving Sophie's house in Addis
 Alex is such a good driver.  I swear I always have the worst luck with drivers.  I mean I almost always get the craziest, worst drivers in whatever city I go to.  But Alex is really cautious.  Such a welcome change!  I feel so safe with him.  And he's super nice and tries to be a tour guide with his limited English.  He said a stadium was a studio, ha.  Had to set him straight on that one.  We saw a lot more of the same sad existence that so many people have here in Addis.  So many just sit.  All day.  Sit on the sidewalk and swat flies away.  What kind of life is that!?  

(Just happened to turn on my camera on the drive, and realized it was almost dead!  It was fully charged the day I left, but it must of gotten stuck on some time and drained the battery.  SO NOT HAPPY about that!!)

We did see a lot of other people worshiping and going to church today.  Today is a holy day here, but it really is celebrating the end of the previous government that got overthrown 20 years ago.  I don't know much about what happened, but apparently the last government murdered thousand of Ethiopians?  I'm going to have to look it up when I get back home...

We picked "Al" up near his neighborhood, because taxis were too busy and full to get him to Mexico square where we were originally going to meet.  It really was so good to see him again!  He's such a great guy, and has such a love in his heart for the kids!  We chatted for most of the long drive out to Trees of Glory.  Up and over the mountain - where we saw lots of women running with branches on their backs.  I remember them from last time.  They walk up to the mountains to pick these branches, run them back down to Addis, all to sell them for a couple of dollars for their family.  They have to be in crazy good shape!

The road to Trees of Glory is very windy, and as we came around a sharp corner, we saw a giant truck with a large trailer completely turned over in the middle of the road.  It was blocking the road and had dumped its entire load of sand/dirt all over!   Pretty scary...  And right before that, we saw a motorcyle who had just rolled over, and after the big truck, we saw a van slammed into a guard rail on a bridge!!  Must be a dangerous road!

Along the way, we also saw lots of people carrying the big yellow jerry cans of water.  I saw plenty of this last time, but I still can't wrap my head around having to get water from a spigot half a mile away, and carrying it back just to start the day.  One little girl couldn't of been 4 years old.  :(

I always have so much time to think one the long drive to Trees of Glory, through the wide open country.  Seeing all the little kids fetching water and herding cattle made me wonder what their lives would end up like.  What if they had the chance to go to school and get an education like the kids who have sponsors now at Trees of Glory?  You know, it's all about the ripple effect.  We just have to be the ripple.  Just get it going.  Just change one little persons life by loving them, feeding them, educating them, and making sure they have a relationship with Jesus.  Just one little life at a time.  And then praying they grow up to do the same - keep the ripple going! :) If everyone did that, the world be so different.  If those who were blessed enough to have resources to help change maybe a couple of lives, it wouldn't even be a ripple.  It would be like giant tsunami wave of lives being changed!  So that's why I'm here I guess.  I think it's important to try and get the ripple going... :)

Anyways, we pulled up to Trees of Glory after what seemed like an eternity.  You know how when you're excited to get somewhere, it takes forever!?  Yea, that was this morning.  Most of the kids that attend Trees of Glory only come on the weekends and attend other schools during the week.  So unfortunately, my Mita wasn't there (she was yesterday though!)  I was just so thrilled - and that' an  understatement - to see a row of 6 water spigots when I pulled up, that I couldn't possibly be too terribly disappointed for missing her.

(The first water spigots I saw when we pulled in.)

Simret gave us the grand tour of the whole place and all of the updates.  And let me  tell you, there have been some serious updates in the past 6 months!  When I was there in November, we were still raising funds for a well to be dug and plumbing to the buildings.  Check that off the list.  The well is fully operational, the donkeys have water to drink, there is irrigation for gardens for vegetables, the kids have showers to use and flushing toilets, the cooks have clean water IN the kitchen, AND the surrounding community even has access to clean water via two 10,000 liter tanks at the top of the hill - all provided by the well we worked so hard to fund.  I seriously just stood there clapping and cheering every time we saw more water and said, "I just can't believe this!!"  When we got to the actual well, Simret teared up and said, "There are no words..."  She is obviously beyond grateful for this.  Having access to clean water on the grounds changed their lives and made everything so much easier!  OH - and don't forget they just got ELECTRICITY in all the buildings, too!  They've only had it for two weeks.  All the changes were just SO AWESOME to see.  That's all I can say.  Just AWESOME. (Lots of pictures to come...)

After walking around and seeing everything, I got out the orange backpacks and craft projects for the kids.  They are the most grateful little things I've ever seen! They loved having something to call their own (they literally have nothing in their rooms besides a bed and a blanket) and they had fun with the "Jesus Loves Me"  craft I brought - a little safety pin thing with beads for their bags.  Alex wrote their names on the bags for them to keep them apart (my permanent markers works I great!) and then we had to take off to make it back to Addis.  It was a short trip, but so totally worth it to get to see them with running water finally!

We picked Sophie up at her office around 1pm and went straight to the new care-point in Korah called "Hands for the Needy."  It is a little different from the other care-points I have visited, as it is just a feeding program, providing lunch every day for 210 kids.  Well, I didn't know that, and we missed lunch.  Which means we missed the kids!!  I was pretty bummed about that, but we did talk to the guy who is running the place, who just happens to be a former resident of the trash dump, and graduate from the Young Life program.  His story was pretty incredible, and we watched a documentary on life in Korah.  

Two little guys just outside the carepoint

Korah is absolutely the most deplorable conditions I have ever seen.  I mean, they literally live in and off of other peoples trash.  Come on.  How can that be, right?  That doesn't really happen...  That's what I kept asking myself, until we drove right up to it.  We were a ways away from the people from where we were, and the smell was enough to keep us away, but there were loads of people out there digging through the trash that was being dumped from a truck.  It totally blew me away.  It's always one thing to see pictures, but you still feel somewhat detached - until you actually see it with your own eyes.  There are children who right now are digging through trash just so survive.  How do you go to sleep at night knowing that?  How do you drive away and not do something?  If I could have, I would have walked right out there and snatched up each and every one of them and took them...somewhere.  I don't know.  That's just the problem.  The government is fully aware of this community, and they are doing nothing to help it.  Sick. (Sophie has never been exposed to anything like this and had no idea it even existed.  She was literally sick to her stomach and almost in tears.)

The Korah trash dump - taken from my phone

That kind of put a little damper on the day.  I mean, just seeing that kind of messes with your head.  We drove around a leprosy/Aids hospital nearby trying to find a little arts and crafts shop they have there, but it was closed due to the holiday.  

Next stop was a shoe store - I don't remember what it was called - but the shoes are made out of all tires!  They were closed too, of course.  (Update: Shoe Rebels is what they are called!) 

Third stop was a little German bakery to get a little treat, but more importantly, to use the free wifi.  Struck out again.  After we bought a pastry, we found out the wifi wasn't working.

Fourth stop was finally successful.  A fruit stand to buy fruit for dinner tomorrow night.  Kiely, Alyssa, and Matt are coming to Sophie's for dinner!  Sophie bought two huge bags of all kinds of fruit for a whopping 110 birr.  Ridiculously cheap.

When we finally got home around 5pm, Sophie laid down to read/nap, and I stuffed 145 bags for  Kind Hearts with a little water color paper, 3 qtips, and the pin craft.  It wasn't fun, but since I didn't get it done before I left, I had to do it then.  It took about an hour, and once I finished we left for dinner. 

I really wanted to go somewhere with wifi so I could talk to Matt, so we went to a German place called The Beer Garden Inn.  It definitely had a German feel to it. The tables were big beer barrels and they brew their own beer.  It was a cool place, but very loud and our food was awful.  I ordered some German something I couldn't even pronounce, which turned out to be fried noodles, I think.  Bleh.  It was totally worth it to get to imessage and eventually Skype though!

The German Beergarden where we ate dinner
After dinner, Sophie and I walked across the street to a little cupcake shop.  I needed something sweet after my awful dinner!  It turned out to be a good decision.  I ordered a "pink berry" cupcake, and it was almost comprable to my moms strawberry cupcakes.  And I freaking LOVE my moms strawberry cupcakes!! (AND they had wifi there, too!)

We were there just long enough to eat our little treat, and then Alex was there to take us home.  And that's where we are now!  It's getting late, and I have another full day tomorrow, so I'm going to get to bed soon.

Tomorrow morning, once we drop Sophie off at work at 9am, Alex and I are going to pick up Al, and head to Kind Hearts.  OH - funny story: Al told me the there was a medical mission team there last week and Beza went up to everyone saying, "Do you know Terri?"  HA - made my day.  How cute is that!?  She has no idea I'm coming, so this is going to be fun!  Then we're heading back to Korah to see the kids during lunch, THEN to Kechene, then to FashionAble to see the factory, then home for dinner with friends!  Going to be a crazy day, so I better get some rest!

Will try to write more tomorrow!


No comments:

Post a Comment