Dat 5

It rained hard last night!  For most of the night, the rain came out of the sky in buckets.  “Zenebe” or rain falling, is what they say here.  Four members of our team awoke early, and in the post-rain, early morning hours, went on a puddle-hopping run.  Over to Meskeles Square, they ran laps with hundreds of Ethiopians who were running, playing soccer or, for the more serious, doing drills that seemed impossible at sea level, much less than at 9,000 feet elevation.  (Imagine climbing 100 long stairs, sideways, but at each level, with one foot on one level and the other on the level above, you squat and, in a burst upward, you rotate 180 degrees as you move up one additional level.  Or, one of our favorites, hopping on the toe of one foot up the entire flight of stadium steps and then back down, only to do it on the other foot next.)

Saturday saw our team split into three different sub-teams – seven who went to see the graduation of the HOPE Enterprise vocational students at the Addis Ababa school, five who trekked through the city with wonderful guides, taking in the sites of Addis, and four who simply chose to rest at the Ghion nursing colds or who ventured out for a bit of shopping.

Graduation

Steve Hammack led our team members to the HOPE graduation, joined by Susan Clarke and her team.  In a last-minute surprise, Steve and Susan were asked to hand out the certificates of graduation.  Unlike the ceremony of reading names in the US, this ceremony ROCKED, as they played Ethiopian music and people clapped to the rhythm while the names were read.

Our team was humbled by two aspects of the graduation – the seat of honor in the front row that our team was given, and the fact that many of the graduates wanted to have pictures taken with our team.  Team members were hugged, kissed and photographed.  Then team members were fed a wonderful lunch by the culinary students at the vocational school.

The early afternoon welcomed another gulley washer.  Streets turned into muddy brown rivers and every effort to remain dry resulted in frustration and failure.  One little girl at the graduation was dressed in a nice cotton dress that was soaked to the bone.  As she shivered, Sara Johnson offered her raincoat to the little girl.  At the end of the meal, the little girl approached Sara to return the coat, but Sara insisted that she keep it.  What a gift for this little girl.

Site Seeing

The team members taking in the site were regaled with stories of historic and current Addis.  First, the team visited the replica of Lucy at the National Museum.  Although most team members were ready to leave having taken in the site of Lucy, the guides insisted that they take the time to see the other historic artifacts and paintings.  The guides displayed their pride in their country and worked to show our team members a wonderful time around the city. 

Following the National Museum, the team members drove towards Mount Addis.  Along the way, they saw people heading to church, fuel carriers with their oversized bundles on their backs and people approaching the van, begging.  The team visited the former King’s palace and ended their outing with tea and lunch at the Sheraton Hotel.
What contrasts!  To see the poverty, the toil and the dirtiness, contrasted by the wealth, the hope and the pride in the country, left the team members melancholy, but hopeful.

Resting

Four team members remained behind; Noelle to rest and hopefully put her cold behind her, Lil, Todd and Emily to rest and to prepare logistics for the remainder of the trip.  (With the surprise of the Vocational School graduation on our agenda, the remaining time in Addis had to be re-scheduled.)

With this down time came an unexpected blessing as Todd and Lil were able to spend time with David Klaus and his mother, Dr. Carolyn Klaus.  (Many of you will remember Dr. Klaus as the educational speaker for the pre-brief time for the AIDS strand of the first Compassion Weekend.)  David is a design fellow at Stanford’s Design School and, in particular, works with Professor Jim Patell on a class called “Extreme Affordability.”  Only three years old, this class challenges students to meet one of the great needs of a particular country by designing a product for that need that could be manufactured at extremely low costs.  Prior classes have focused on the 1.6 billion people in the world who are not on the power grid and moving water.  The class, where Todd has been a guest lecturer since its inception, is looking at working in Ethiopia next year.  (Woo hoo!!)


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We had our first, complete team debriefing today, and God is changing us.  He has a heart for Africa, for Ethiopia, and he is using this trip, the people of Ethiopia, and the members of this team, to transform us to be more like Him.  He is working.  He is using this community of believers.  He is showing us how to love others in His name.