We left Project Mercy before 9 AM: destination Roggie Village.  We said goodbye one last time to our heaven-sent nurse-translators (except for K’dist who speaks Oromo, Amharic and English and went on with us). 

Dust was the theme of the day.  We left the main paved road south of Butajira and headed Southeast on a dirt road, past Enseno where we had held clinic for three days.  We passed a huge market on the outskirts of Ziway with many foods spread out on the ground, including peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and cabbage.  There were animals and people of all ages as far as the eye could see.

After an hour and a half of eating dust on the dirt road, we reached Adamintulu 30, a major north-south highway, and traveled more than 50 kilometers to the turnoff to Roggie.  The paved road was wonderful and wide, but we shared it with large trucks and small animals at high speed.  A welcome but brief break from the dust.

The very bumpy track into Roggie is about 10 km long, bordered by red flowering aloe, blooming century plants, an African yucca, prickly pear and pencil plants.  We realized we had reached the savannah in the heart of the Great Rift Valley – very dry and arid and a lot like the Mojave desert.

When we reached Roggie, the desert wind really picked up.  Dust blew across the school compound (recently fenced-in).   The kids greeted us at the gate with cheers just loud enough to rise above the wind.  The medical clinic was quickly set up as the dust began penetrating every exam room, infiltrating every corner, and covering every surface.  More than 40 patients were seen in the afternoon, and the 50 new kindergarteners were assessed for general health and growth.

Roggie village is growing by leaps and bounds, rising up from extreme poverty.  Despite the dust, the day will be remembered by us for the sweet, beautiful children, the longsuffering adults with new hope in their eyes, and the chance we had to see Jesus and share just a little in his suffering.