As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ethiopia - Trip One - Day Seven

Sunday, August 7, 2011
We woke up this morning after a wonderful night of rest. We ate breakfast, and then visited with Gary and Peggy awhile before we headed to church. The church building was made of cement blocks, and was open to the outside - there were no doors or windows. It had a dirt floor, a stage, and wooden benches. It was a chilly, rainy day, and many people stood out in the rain to welcome us as we arrived. We entered the church and sat near the front. On one side of the church, all of the little children sat together facing the center. Many of them were dressed in rags and had no shoes.

Everyone sang several worship songs. One of the elders of the church, Dr. Tesfaye, sat between Chris and me and translated. Then, they asked Gary to go up on the stage and introduce us, so we all went up and stood beside him, facing the congregation. Gary told them, in Amharic, who we were and why we were there. He then handed the microphone to Chris, who thanked everyone for welcoming us and allowing us to worship with them. Everyone clapped for us, and we found our seats again. Then we listened to the service and had several prayers. After church, many people from the congregation came up to meet us, and all the children crowded around and just stared at us. When I would pat their shoulder, shake their hands, or talk to them, they would smile from ear to ear. Everyone was so joyful and sincere, even though they had absolutely nothing of material value.

 This group is standing just outside the church.

 The inside of the church.

These 2 beautiful girls were thrilled to have their picture taken!

Gary and Peggy took us to a restaurant for lunch, where we ordered traditional Ethiopian food and macchiatos - Yum!!! We then went across the street to a little grocery store, where Peggy bought us some roasted barley, sugar, and cookies.
An Ethiopian grocery store! The clerk stands behind the counter and grabs whatever you ask for - kind of like an old general store here in the U.S.

 Gary and Peggy

Some beautiful flowers we saw. 

We took a tour of Gary and Peggy's other schools, one of which is still under construction and is being partially funded by Lifesong for Orphans. Peggy runs a feeding program at each of her schools, so each student is provided with a hot, nutritious meal during the school day. 
 The finished school, with three flagpoles out front - one for the Ethiopian flag, one for the Oromo region flag, and one for the U.S. flag.

 The school's restrooms.

 The kitchen.

 One of the classrooms. School will begin this year in September, right after the Ethiopian New Year.

 One of the gardens that produces food for the feeding program.

The newest school, which is still under construction.

After our tour of the schools, we headed back to Gary and Peggy's. After packing up our luggage, we opened the tub of donations that our Sunday School students back home had collected. Gary and Peggy were very thankful for each item, from the Farberware pots and pans to the school wall clocks and children's vitamins. Another family in our travel group donated colored pencils, composition books, and other school supplies. Peggy gave us some spices and an Ethiopian calendar to take home, and then Raj arrived and it was time to go. They said a prayer for us, and then we climbed into the van to begin the journey back to Addis.

We took a different route back through the absolutely beautiful Rift Valley. The scenery was breathtaking, although we couldn't get any great photos because of the rain and the moving vehicle.

When we got back to Addis, Raj stopped at a gas station to fill up the car. I had to...ummm....use the facilities really bad. We asked an attendant where the bathroom was, and Shana and I made our way around the side of the building according to his directions. When we found it, Shana opted not to go. It was just a hole in the ground behind a little door, and the smell was awful. The floor around the hole was covered with who-knows-what; I tried not to think about it and just got out of there as quick as I could. Never again will I complain about gas station restrooms here in the U.S!

Ephrim, the man we met earlier this week, had invited us to his place for dinner. Raj drove us to his house, which was beautiful. The home actually belongs to some missionaries from Texas who are back in the states right now; Ephrim and his wife live there and take care of the place in the owner's absence. He took us up to the third floor and out onto a balcony, where we visited and had awesome views of the city below.

 Here is Ephrim and Raj!

Ephrim's wife prepared vegetable soup and pizza for us, and it was delicious. We met the guard and his little boy, to whom we gave a big bag of jelly beans. We also handed out all of the granola bars and snacks that we had left, as they don't have those kinds of food over there. Then, we sat around the table and visited while Ephrim showed us pictures and videos of Ethiopia on his laptop. I even got to hold his newborn baby girl for awhile!

We enjoyed our time with Ephrim and his wife so much - they are really wonderful people. Ephrim told us to look him up the next time we come and he would love to drive us to see more of Ethiopia! At about 9:30, he drove us to the airport, and shortly after 1:00 AM on Monday, August 8, we boarded a Turkish Air flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Goodbye for now, Ethiopia! We hope to see you again soon!

1 comment:

  1. I SO hope that we can do some of these things this time around, and I am so glad that you got to experience a bit of Ethiopia. I have loved reading about your trip this week!