Dat 7

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PictureOur day started with group devotional time, lovingly led by Alice on compassion, “suffering with.” This was followed by a nourishing meal and cheerful fellowship that included food sculpture and a discussion about whether or not to eat the egg yolks. Many decided against the high cholesterol choice, leaving Chong with a plate full of yolks that she was urged to juggle—she declined.



PictureWhat we did . . .
The team split up into two groups to go on home visits in the Bole (Anne, Andrew, Dana, Chong, and Jasmine) and Kolfe (Cindy, Alice, Carolyn, George and Robin) areas of Addis. Our host translators took us into the homes of several people who are beneficiaries of the SIM program (healthcare, meds, rent assistance, faith ministry, and food). The teams went on foot through their respective neighborhoods visiting and checking in on the health and wellbeing of each person and their families.

What we saw . .
Bole: A more urban setting with houses close together, made of tin or mud; even one with a cow stall. Although houses were somewhat larger in these neighborhoods, there was still the distinct picture of poverty and challenge in daily life—littered streets, sewage issues, pollution and the constant background noise of city traffic.Picture

Kolfe: More rural and hilly with vistas of downtown Addis and beautiful mountains. Lots more trees, greenery and open space between homes. Also larger houses with more rooms and sometimes furniture. Mud houses here too and some built with branches. Still clear poverty in this area, but not as oppressive in its appearance.


What we experienced . . .
A variety of sights, sounds and aromas! Heartbreak and compassion for a woman who wept about the poor health of her three year old son (mother and son HIV +); worry for a young man with HIV and uncontrolled diabetes who was unable to work and struggling to pay his rent; concern for a young mom of two daughters with untreated epilepsy.

PictureAnd then . . .
true hospitality in the homes of lovely and gracious women; relief at meeting single mothers who are getting healthier; joy at meeting a woman who overflowed with happiness and thankfulness for her improved health and family situation; deep gratitude for cured TB in a young mother; purpose in being able to offer vitamins, medical reassurance, and prayer to each of these people; hope and abiding trust in God; growing fellowship as we shared our experiences and reactions with each other over another wonderful meal from Weineshet!


Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,

Tonha taking a second to restWe have not had telephone or internet connectivity for over three days and counting thanks to road construction (read: cutting all lines followed by the complete removal of every inch of smooth asphalt in Dessie and replacing it with large rocks interspersed with axle breaking potholes).  Despite Keith and Melaku’s determined efforts to find an internet café with an intact web connection, we have been thwarted in our efforts to give our daily updates.  Nonetheless, we have been very busy and want to give an account (albeit delayed) of our last 48 hours.

Our Friday and Saturday clinics were held in the temporary sanctuary of the Mekane Yesus church, one of our four partner churches and schools.  The Friday clinic was by far the lightest of any clinics to date in terms of numbers of children screened, yet it was one of the richest and most meaningful days we’ve had.  This is not to say there weren’t initial frustrations.  The temptation is to measure our success by the numbers of children seen, our efficiency and results: we are accustomed to our competency and reaching our goals.  Clearly the Lord had something else in mind for us on Friday.  As we reflected on the day, we saw that we had been able to forge much stronger connections with our Ethiopian brothers and sisters through time together, laughter, and many deep conversations.  A very solid sense of unity and a glimpse of God’s broader purpose in our time here came out of the day: to fully depend on him with our work here and to leave the results to him.  As Sally likes to say, “He is big, I am little…”

PictureSaturday’s clinic was robust with many children being seen.  Team unity was strong and we enjoyed the time spent with our partners.  Puppet shows, bubbles and stickers were the hits of the day - Raquel is a kid-magnet!  Each clinic session has seen many people come to know and accept Christ as they see and feel his love for them.  We finished the day with a very supportive family meeting attended by over 100 parents and children.

One final thought.  The problems here and elsewhere in the majority world are immense and have not arisen overnight.  Neither will they be solved in the short term.  They are the product of human nature, well established patterns of dependency, and tremendous inertia keeping the current systems and patterns in place.  The CHE program and our clinics fly in the face of what most Ethiopians have come to expect from western medical teams (read: financial handouts and free medicines).  The CHE staff and volunteers are the first to bring an impetus for self-sufficiency and finding local solutions to local problems for the people.  During our time in Dessie, we have become even more inspired by their efforts in what is a difficult and long uphill climb.  It has been an honor to be fellow workers in the opening rounds of the fight. 

For more information on CHE and LifeWind International, go to www.lifewind.org