Oct 13, 2011

Ethiopia Trip Recap Day 5

I had a lot of excuses for going back to Ethiopia. I wanted to see K, LoPa products needed to be purchased, kids in our program needed to be profiled, office space needed to be secured and paid for, Hands for the Needy needed supplies brought in; but all these excuses with the exception of seeing K could have been done by any one other than me. I felt extremely selfish taking The Hero and I away from our family for 10 days without a really solid reason, but I booked our tickets praying that we were being obedient.
Three days before we left, we learned that Hands for the Needy paperwork continued to be held up in the government office; we were still being denied governmental approval to be a fully functioning non-profit and therefore we could not feed any of the kids in our program. One piece of paper being signed by one man was all that was keeping sixty kids in our program from receiving two daily meals.
I had my mission. God was sending us to Ethiopia for such a time as THIS.

The Hero, Yemamu and I set off early in the morning for the government office on Tuesday. Since most of the children at our center were still celebrating with their families for the holiday, our remaining team went to help treat a woman in Korah who had been run over by a trash truck.
The official at the government office was less than helpful. Our paperwork had been on his desk for almost four months and we only needed one more signature to make us legitimate. He was less than thrilled to see us. He explained the program was outlined perfectly but that he was a very busy man and didn't have time to sign the paperwork. I explained that I could not feed the kids in our program without the proper paperwork and that I would not leave the country until our paperwork was final. He said to come back in the morning. Again, I explained I would not leave Ethiopia and he this time promised to sign the paperwork in the morning.

We returned to the guest house, gathered our team and walked to lunch. Yemamu was obviously worried that the paperwork would not be signed, but I assured him I would make good on my promise; I would send The Hero home on Friday morning and stay here until we had the proper paperwork in place.

As we walked to lunch, a loud voice across the street kept calling Yemamu's name. It was one of the artists that LoPa partners with, Cherinet! He offered to take us to one of his studios, which was just around the corner from our guest house.

Me and the Ethiopia Picasso:

An example of his amazing work:

We finished lunch and of course our daily dose of caffeine:

Since our day was suddenly blank, we ran some errands.

Someone needed new shoes.

Tom needed a haircut.

We needed supplies at the guest house.

We drove all over Addis.

We played with the camera.

The picture of my necklace is significant because it is my JunkPosse Africa with tiny heart with K's name on it. When we met almost two years ago, I was wearing it but K had no idea what it meant. As we were driving down the road this day, he grabbed the Africa, said "this is Africa." I smiled and told him he was right. He grabbed the heart and said "this is me." "Yes, son. It is you, right next to my heart."

We played new games.

We fulfilled one of this mama's life long dreams, to push my son on a swing.

We cuddled in the grass.

We discovered new things. Like Abbey's head lamp.

We just played.

The air was perfect and still. The mood was soft and light. Other than being denied our government paperwork, it was the perfect Ethiopian day. I wanted to do it again. And then again. And again every day again after that.

As I took a breather from getting my butt kicked in soccer, I whined to God:

"Why can't it be like this forever."
He whispered back:

"Why cannot you not accept these small gifts? Each moment of each day is a gift if only you will open it and realize it."

I shut up.

And went back to playing soccer.

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