It is morning on the 3rd day in Addis. We have been here for two days and can hardly find places for all the things we have seen, heard, touched, experienced. On our first day, we went to the National Museum with Awetu (formerly a Stanford University professor) and his sister Lensa, learned some of the history of Ethiopia and saw the skeleton of "Lucy". We then drove through Addis and met some fuel wood carriers with whom we would set up a meeting for later in the day.

These women and girls carry 100 pounds of Eucalyptus tree limbs on their backs each day which provide approximately 1/3 of the fuel source for the city of Addis. For this incredibly arduous journey, they are paid 2 birr or about 25 cents. We ate a traditional Ethiopian lunch with our hosts and our drivers, Leul and Temesgen, and then met with 75 fuel carriers and their protectors - men, women and children - in a Eucalyptus forest at about 11,000 feet elevation. We interviewed them with our interpreters and learned more about their lives and what they might see for the future. (One little girl said she wanted to "go to school and get a real job".)

We continued into the little town at the bottom of the hill to see the shop of the Former Fuel Wood Carriers Association. They have learned to make fabrics - scarves which cost 40 birr (8 birr equal approximately 1 dollar), and to grind corn and grain.

On our second day, we visited Hope Enterprises' feeding program (HopeEnterprises) which touches 17,000 people each year on a $1.3m budget). We fed lunch to hundreds of young children - they sang to us, said their prayers...while they were eating lunch, we sat with them and played. They were completely engaging, adorable, bright -- many spoke English to me, as I tried my few words of Amharic on them. One told me he liked Michael Jackson and another showed me some of his dance moves. Our gracious, wise, phenomenal host for the day was Dr. Minas Hiray. After seeing these poor children being fed, he took us down the street to a program which provides lunch for boys living on the street -- some were not wearing clothes, but rather pieces of material pinned together. This was a particularly hard group to meet --- about half still smiled brightly and waved and would engage with us when we spent time with them.
At this location, we watched former commercial sex workers who now make ceramics for their living. Many of us purchased and will bring home their hand crafted nativity scenes.

From there, we went to the Fistula Hospital where we were greeted warmly by the director Annette Bennet. We were also able to visit with an American woman - who used to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics -- she took a trip to Ethiopia and was reading The Purpose Driven Life -- looked up and saw a man whose legs had been crippled scooting himself along on a skate board --- and decided she had to do something different with her life. She has now started a home for fistula victims waiting for their operations at the Fistula Hospital... Amazing woman -- we gathered some incredible stories there.

I am being asked to get on the road -- we are heading towards Roggie Village and Nazereth --- we will be gone from Addis for 3 days and two nights. There will be no email contact available.

More to come - but perhaps in a few days.

We love and miss you all! Keep praying for us -- for strength for the journey.

God bless you!