Monday August 8, 2011
Our first day in Ethiopia went well. The day started at Korah, which is the part of Addis Ababa which is full of 170,000 people who have been shunned from the rest of society. It is fully of the poorest people in Addis, Lepers, and others who are deemed worthy to live with the rest of society. The vast majority of the people here support their families by picking food from the dump nearby. It is also where our team leader Roger's daughter Zoie was born. Obviously, he has a special place in his heart, and as an adoptive father myself, I can relate as I thought about getting to visit Landri's home village. Also, everywhere we visit in Ethiopia is an opportunity to see and think about our future child from this great country.
We met up with the Band of Brothers, who are our hosts for our time here. They took us to their church (constructed of bamboo sticks, tarps, and plastic flooring). We sang a few songs with their kids and then went for the tour of Korah. We saw their orphan home (houses about 50 kids and run by the great people at Project 61), visited a couple of lepers in their home, saw the neighborhood school, and finally visited the Leaper hospital which was built by the Germans many years ago. They are amazing people. Despite being severely handicapped, they are happy to speak with us and shake hands (few people here ever touch them), and they make some amazing crafts. They begin by taking raw cotton and spin it by hand into string and eventually make blankets, quilts, tablecloths and all kinds of other great items.
After lunch we began the extreme home makeovers. We mudded the walls of a family's home to repair the holes. We also gave the mud a quick skim coat with plaster to prep it for paint tomorrow. With all of my construction background, I have never done any of this before. The home is about 8 x 8 with a small door and no windows and it is home to a family of 4. They only have 1 small bed and their coffee table is their kitchen table. It was great to be able to give back to these people.
The evening ended with some great food back at the Ethiopian Guest House and relaxing with good friends.
Sunday August 7, 2011
Uganda has been amazing, but it is time to move on. It was hard to say goodbye to Canaan's Children's home. Pastor Isaac is one of the most amazing men that I have ever met. He has so much love for everyone and his joy is contagious. Everyone wants to be around him and be more like him. I hated to say goodbye to him.
It was also hard to say goodbye to my little guys, Richard and Stewart. They were attached to my hip for the past few days and we spent some treat time bonding. It is heartbreaking seeing a 10 year old little boy cry when you leave him.
The travel was a little bit like planes, trains and automobiles, but we made it to Addis. After being exhausted and drained for several days, it was great to have a little bit of an emotional break. We hit the ground with renewed energy at the thought of a new country and a new challenge.