PictureTuesday was a sad morning as we bid an early morning farewell to our “deviants” who headed off to adventures in Kenya. The sadness passed, however, as we boarded the bus and were “on the road again,” this time to visit Project Mercy. Todd had been to Project Mercy in 2007 with directors of Pura Vida Coffee which partners with Project Mercy.  The rest of us had not.
Back in the spring, as part of the Ethiopia Initiative leadership team, Steve met and had dinner with Marta and Demy to learn more about Project Mercy. At the end of the dinner, as the bill was being paid, Marta mentioned that Project Mercy included a school with 1,500 students. This was a big surprise to Steve since all the talk had been about the amazing hospital they had and how MPPC had sent medical teams to work there.

Steve asked Marta and Deme if they were interested in training for the teachers at Project Mercy and Marta responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”   So it was that this surprise revelation at a dinner in Palo Alto provided the stimulus for our trip to Project Mercy to investigate if it might be an appropriate location for a future teacher training trip.

PictureThe three hour trip south of Addis was on a good road through beautiful countryside. We passed farmers plowing their fields with their oxen as has been done for thousands of years. We passed several hundred people gathered in a field, sitting, talking, perhaps for a market, but clearly in no hurry. 

Finally we arrived in the town Butajira and turned west towards the mountains.  After a short 10km drive on a dirt road, we came to Project Mercy located at the base of the mountains.  What a gorgeous location!  Kurt commented, “It looks like Hawaii without the surf, or perhaps the mountains of the Big Sur coastline!”

PictureThe K-12 grade school grounds were beautiful. Beyond the immediate school buildings, we found guesthouses for 20 visitors, a dining hall, an organic garden, an orphanage for 80 orphans, a dairy farm, vocational training facilities and a place for women heads of households to make baskets. What an amazing place! A short time later we drove up the road and toured the hospital, a small but very modern facility by Ethiopian standards. After our hospital tour we returned to the school campus so Steve and Jeff could meet with the headmaster, Getachew. By the end of their meeting they had arranged tentative dates for a training next summer. No commitments yet, but what had been an idea is now a possibility. PictureWe will see where God leads.
Our trip back to Addis was uneventful. Dinner was an encore performance at Arcobelano restaurant, one of the tastiest places to eat western food in Addis.