Day 4

Following a night’s rest at the Bekele Molla resort, we headed back to Roggie Village in the morning.  We stopped short of Roggie Village so that we might walk down to the site of The Well.  Of course, there wasn’t much to see.  The well is capped until they get the pump and water pipes installed, which they begin next week, and they have buried it in thorns in the interim to keep anyone from trying to uncap it.  Although our hearts broke for the women who still carry loads of water over long distances, we rejoiced at the idea that The Well would be carrying water right into the village in a few short months.
Our team thoroughly enjoyed the walk to the well and then to the village and the school, surrounded by the incredible beauty of God’s creation – bright yellow and red birds, flat acacia trees, lush foliage, spectacular vistas captured in the cool morning sun, workers in the fields (men and women), the overall beauty of the Rift Valley and, of course, spending time with the women and children of the village along the way.  Seeing young girls, carrying two-year-old siblings on their hip or on their backs, broke our hearts.  But what joy, in the eyes of everyone we met.

Once the team reached the school campus, we were surprised by the HOPE students leading several hundred goats.  The 100 goats purchased by the Shepherd’s Village summer collection last year have multiplied, in some cases, two or three times.  We were reminded how offerings to God are multiplied by Him.

We finished our time at Roggie by singing with the students, playing in the schoolyard, and saying our goodbyes.  Steve Hammack has already begun his work to plan for a teacher training team and vacation Bible school team that would join forces and work for at least a week at Roggie.  Part of his idea would be to have a large feast at the end of that trip, where the entire village is invited to a two-oxen barbecue and Pastor Mattheows is invited to deliver a sermon.  What a vision!!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

We left Roggie in the late morning, and stopped for lunch at Aros Restaurant. When we came out to the bus after lunch, it was discovered that the HOPE truck that Zenebe and Steve and Pastor Mattewos had ridden in was locked, with the keys inside. All the guys had different opinions on how to unlock it, using wires, screwdrivers, rocks, and wedges, with the women making encouraging comments and giggling. After about an hour a stranger came out of the hotel, brought his car key and tried it – voila! The door opened.  Many loud cheers! 

How many men does it take to unlock a truck door?  Thirty, plus one Mercedes key.  This hilarious interlude rejuvenated us for the rest of the ride back to Addis Ababa, tired but blessed by God’s love for us.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Our drive back to Addis proved a little more eventful than we hoped, with the driver backing into a wall as he tried to turn around in a narrow area, followed by a “fender bender” where traffic squeezed together so tightly, that our bus knocked the side mirror off a mini van.  None of that would have presented a dramatic situation, were it not for the fact that our bus driver proceeded to step out of the bus and, in the middle of traffic, begin a half hour argument with the driver of the other vehicle.  (The team vowed to get another driver for the journeys to Dese and Lalibela.)

We returned to the Ghion Hotel, exhausted.  Most of us grabbed a quick bite to eat and retired, looking forward to our first time of rest on Saturday, since we began our flight back in San Francisco, four days prior.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Highlights from our time at Roggie:

  • Being greeted by the entire village upon our arrival: the men standing in a line, the women and the children near the back;
  • The children erupting into song as soon as we entered the classrooms, their beautiful, exuberant voices;
  • Seeing Kuffa for the first time, sitting in his seat, so little;
  • Kuffa being so shy, not recognizing the significance of the occasion when we were introduced;
  • Meeting Kuffa’s mother, seeing her walking toward us from a distance, so beautiful, her shawl blowing off her shoulder; greeting her for the first time;
  • Helping with the photo/video project for the Roggie sponsors, meeting each child in the school, saying their names, holding them close;
  • The girls wearing handmade bead necklaces and acacia thorns in their ear lobes, their hands covering their mouths when they smile;
  • Walking to Kuffa’s house with Kuffa and Zenebe, the whole team behind us; meeting Kuffa’s father on the path;
  • The beautiful, breathtaking, dramatic scenery of the cliffs and the lake around the corner from Kuffa’s home, his mother having no warning that we were coming and greeting us so warmly;
  • Going inside the house and having Grace show us the traditional Ethiopian greeting, teaching us how to hug Kuffa’s mother, his birth mother, and his grandmother;
  • Watching his mother take out the photo of our family that we had sent to Kuffa two years ago, meeting her other son, her daughter (just like us: two boys and one girl); and
  • The connection of two mothers, the union of two families, the love of a child, halfway around the world.

God is here!