Day 3
     Addis

Anne Badford, Robin Connell, Dana Engelhardt, Alice Herbst, Cindy Hwang, Chong Lee, Jasmine Lee, George Savage, Carolyn Scheppler and Andrew Stinger

PicturePrayers serenaded us from the local mosque, bright and early at 4:30 this morning.  Most of us rolled over and put pillows over our heads, but George, Chong, Cindy and Andrew headed out for their first morning run.  Despite our jet lag, we all made an early start and were excited to see Addis in the light of day.  The SIM guesthouse where we are staying is very comfortable, with a beautiful garden out in front, but the best part is our gracious cook, Wynshet, who prepared us fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, and a bowel of tropical fruit for breakfast. 

PictureAt the SIM Lideta headquarters we were blessed by a time to worship with the Ethiopian staff.  They sang in perfect harmony, songs of praises and even though we couldn’t understand the words, we joined them in spirit as we clapped along.  Then we headed out in small groups for home visits.  SIM offers a holistic program to HIV-AIDS patients: distributing antiretrovirals, giving financial,  nutritional and emotional-spiritual support to its beneficiaries.  We were moved by the stories of how the lives of these women and their extended families have changed as a result of being in the program.  Many of them were bedridden and preparing to die as little as 6 months ago, and now they are up caring for their families.  Their bright-eyed children are now enrolled in school, and were all home today since it is a local holiday (Saint Michael’s Day).  They all reached out their hands to shake with us, and greeted us with their happy smiles.  A highlight for our group was sharing in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and then praying with a woman who we visited in the slums.  While her home is smaller than many bedrooms in the US, she was a gracious host and we could see the joy in her eyes as she shared her story and served us her homemade bread and coffee.

PictureAfter lunch, we were escorted by our hosts around the corner, to a hidden gem- the coffee house.  We were treated to the local specialty of macchiato coffee and chai tea.  Macchiato is espresso in a small cup with cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar- a combination of drink and dessert all in one.  As we walked back into the neighborhoods new sights and smells aroused our senses.  Since yesterday was Ethiopia Easter, many families had roasted goat, and the goat parts that cannot be eaten lay in the streets.  Since the sun was out, women laid our baskets of grain, (corn, tef, wheat, and amaranth).  Others were washing clothing in basins and hanging out their laundry in the alley.  Two little boys, probably 5 and 7, were hanging out with their small herd of goats near the SIM house, grazing them and controlling their movements with their small whips.

As I write the team is working together sorting medications and supplies for our clinic tomorrow.  We have thousands of pills, hundreds of tubes of cream, and umpteen miscellaneous supplies.  I am so encouraged by the spirit of service, cooperation and joy all around me.  There are many sights in Ethiopia that could make us sad and discouraged.  We are humbled to see the extent to the poverty, and complexity of these social problems, but we are confident in our loving and merciful God.  We are honored to bring our skills and supplies to Ethiopia.  We pray that we will also bring some relief and healing to the people we meet in the days ahead.

[Computer Guy’s Note:  A car accident took out a nearby telephone pole; our internet access in Addis being dial-up, we’re currently without a consistent means to log on and send you our updates.  Please be assured that we are safe, sound and thriving, and that we’ll send our updates as often as we can!]


Dessie

Keith & Marji Hansen, Tonja Kearney, Frank & Sally Marsh, Mimi (Yemisrach) Migatu, Judy Sullivan, Mike and Raquel Van Noord

PictureAfter arriving in Addis Ababa via Ethiopian Airlines from Washington Dulles International Airport, members of the Dessie team spent the night of 19 April in the Serving in Missions (SIM) headquarters guesthouse in Addis Ababa before flying early on 20 April to Dessie – an hour flight in a small chartered plane piloted by Solomon, a veteran pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  It was a beautiful morning, and the view of the countryside northeast of Addis from our low-level flight was spectacular with green farm land transitioning into a rugged region with deep gullies and small villages of subsistence farmers perched on high bluffs and plateaus.

Meeting the Medical Officer af a Dessie clinicHaving arrived safely in the town of Kembolcha, which was a half hour bus ride from the small dirt-strip airfield, we checked into the Hope Enterprises (HE) school complex guesthouse, which will be our home for the next ten days.  Hope Enterprises and Life Wind ministries are two of our primary sponsors and partners during this period of service.  After lunch, we headed into town to visit three health establishments to introduce ourselves in an effort to cement a collegial partnership with them.  It is important that they see us as bringing value to the community and cooperating with them so that what we do during this short period of time has more lasting value and provides for follow-up by the local medical/health authorities.

Judy playing with kiddo in clinicOur final stop was at one of the local churches with whom we are working in Dessie for a formal welcome in anticipation of our close working relationship during the coming week or so.  The young kids sang several songs of inspiration and put on a drama demonstrating the importance of reading and understanding God’s written words.  We returned to the HE guesthouse to find that our luggage had arrived by truck (the small aircraft that brought us to Dessie could not accommodate our many bags of personal items and medical supplies.Mekane Yesus kids singing

After a delicious evening meal at the HE guesthouse, our team spent time thanking the Lord for His faithfulness in bringing us and our luggage safely to Dessie.  We sorted our medical supplies and made plans for the first of our days of health screening of local children.  We all are still somewhat jet-lagged after our 50-hour trip from San Francisco to Dessie, so we looked forward to a good nights rest and to an exciting day of service the following day (21 April).