Day 2

Day 2 Picture 1Our team hit the streets today for our first day of ministry activities.  We started the morning at HOPE meeting with Zenebe and learning about the history and extensive ministry of the organization.  In the background we heard the voices of children singing at the top of their young voices.  As we walked down the stairs to assist with serving breakfast, we were greeted by clapping, singing and the beautiful smiles of the children.  The kids were warm and exuberant and seemed as happy to be with us as they were to have a meal to eat.  We were touched by their generosity as they offered to share their breakfast with each of us.   Jen and Jackie worked in the Kitchen serving food to the children. The rest of us hugged and shook hands as many of the children greeted us in English.  We tried our limited Amharic on them as well and they loved it.  Did you know that Hope feeds 650 street and homeless kids each day and that about 350 of them are attending school?  We headed to a second facility where HOPE also serves breakfast to older street kids.  This place is also known as the Ceramic Shop.  There we met a smaller group of children who were more subdued and a little more challenging to engage.  We learned that these children are almost all orphans who live entirely on the street and do not attend school.  It was hard, especially for the moms on our team, to grapple with what life must be like for these children day in and day out.  We also briefly met some of the women who work in the Ceramics Shop.  We will return and spend a morning with them on Thursday.

Day 2 Picture 2Our next stop was at the HOPE school campus where Zenebe gave us an extensive tour.  We saw students at work in the vocational schools including the electrical, plumbing, machine, and wood shops.  We also got a demonstration of new applications of solar technology that teachers and students are developing that would allow families to use solar energy to heat water for their homes.  We were impressed with the quality of the education, the creative application of resources, and the obviously smart and talented students, including many young women.  We were treated to coffee in the wing of the school where students are taught cooking and hospitality skills and exchanged greetings and hugs with the younger children.  We returned to the main HOPE offices to participate in the lunchtime feeding program for adults.  Again we were struck with both the magnitude of suffering in the city and the love of Jesus that is so evident in the work of HOPE.  We learned, for example, that HOPE serves a vegetable stew and never a meat stew because they want to provide for any needy person and that including meat would exclude Muslims.

Day 2 Picture 3We spent the last several hours of our day at Ellilta, a recovery center for ex-prostitutes.  The Art Therapy team of Ana, Jen, Ann and Claudia led the young women through several creative exercises intended to serve as “ice breakers," allowing us to begin getting to know one another and to introduce the women to the idea of using art.  The rest of the team of Bennie, Teri and Lisa joined with the girls in the exercises and enjoyed interacting and laughing with one another.  Doris met with the Elilta counselors and taught them some of the foundations for the use of art that the Team will be using tomorrow with the young women.  We are eager for the days ahead when we will get to know these dear young women better and spend time with them in their therapy and  introducing them to some new vocational skills.  We are planning to spend the entire day with them tomorrow both at Elilta and at Chocolata for some cooking experiments.  Thank you for your prayers for us and for the beautiful people of Ethiopia.