Oct 2, 2011

ET Trip Recap: Day Two; Part One

We were up early for our second day in Ethiopia. Our team couldn't wait to get to the center and meet all of our kids. We decided to take a couple of the soccer balls that we had brought along and headed out for the day.
Our center is inside of Korah but only a two minute walk from our guest house. That was the first thing I remembered about Ethiopia, walking every where. I loved it. Since we still didn't have our paperwork from the government, we were not allowed to legally feed the kids we were wanting to assist, so we were just allowed to play and profile the kids. That was the only instruction I needed.

We handed a soccer ball to some kids that were standing inside the gate and I took the other inside our community center. There were about ten kids inside and I thought about just tossing the ball to them so they could play. Then I saw her. A teenager. Leaning against her wooden cane toward the back of the small building. She smiled at me and hobbled forward. I put the ball on the ground and lightly moved it her direction. Her face exploded with a smile and she steadied herself and kicked it back.

While The Hero and the rest of the team played thumb wars and a hand slapping game, me and my new friend Thisgae kicked the ball back and forth for almost a half hour, before Yemamu came to get me for a tour of the facility grounds and to start profiling the kids. Our center is about two acres of fenced land smack in the middle of Korah. There is a community center, a shower facility, a cooking building, a storage building and two outdoor huts. There also is a small garden and plenty of room to keep it growing. Yemamu and Sisay have done an amazing job of already planting some corn and have plans to continue to expand the food choices and vegetation at our facility.

As we exited outside the community center, THAT smell hit my nose and my memory. Since it was rainy season, there hadn't been a lot of peppers drying outside. Berbere is the mainstay spice in Ethiopian cooking and the only way to make it is to dry a LOT of peppers before they are ground and added with other flavors. Our cooks were drying peppers outside and the smell was like smelling baking bread at my Nannie's house; I immediately felt at home.

We the rest of our team spent the day touring the grounds and playing with the kids, Yemamu and I profiled about twenty of our kids. It seemed to take forever because of the translation delay. I felt awful that Yemamu had to keep stopping because when he would give me a name like Bilielieu, I had to make him stop and spell it.

Hearing our kids' stories were horrifically beautiful. Some came alone, some with their parents but all came with a need and they were praying that they fit into Hands For the Needy criteria in order to receive food and education.

The story that stood out the most that first day was the father who brought in his twins, whose mother had been run over by a trash truck while working at the dump and had lost her leg. I just couldn't imagine that digging through a dump was considered going to work. I never again could complain about traveling to an air conditioned office every day.

Our team was exhausted but we had to leave for the day to pick up our last missing team member from the airport and check that Abby and Amy's bags had finally arrived. And I had a dinner date that I wasn't going to miss for the world...

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