Day 8

PictureWe started our morning with a brief devotional at the HOPE school given by Pastor Matthewos and Sintayehu.  The devotional was followed by Steve’s presentation on the “Testing Effect” and brain research.  It was a wonderful reminder of the importance of regular quizzing in the classroom.

The team then broke into our regular groups for morning sessions.  In the high school group, Kevin gave a fantastic introduction, summing up what we were all thinking – for the most part, our group only really knows our hotel, the school and the road between, which is not beautiful.  The truth is, for us, the teachers and administrators of HOPE are Ethiopia.  And thus, Ethiopia is incredibly beautiful!  The human example that represents this amazing place is love, sincerity and generosity, exemplified by the Ethiopian’s big hearts and quick smiles.

PictureMid-morning coffee break is a precious time indeed.  Buna is served in small shot glasses, with a taste and strength that gives Peet’s a significant run for its money.  It packs a punch!  Bowls of candies (in very crinkly wrappers), tiny star-shaped sugar cookies and toasted barley are put out for snacks.  These morning treats are presented and offered with such care, by the catering and hotel students at the Addis Ababa HOPE vocational school.  They exist as a simple example of our welcoming hosts.

These coffee breaks also serve as our time to build connections, hear the reality of the Ethiopian classroom and solidify Tiff’s final freshman project each year of leaning into the concept that “we are more alike than we are different.”

PictureToday was the high school team’s first planning session with the teachers.  We met in eight small groups that were split by content area, where we sought to support our Ethiopian colleagues with lesson planning based upon the strategies already reviewed.  Four groups will present tomorrow morning and four on Friday.  The small group conversations were organic and stimulating, with our team’s teachers learning as much as we felt we taught.  Everyone is excited to see the presentations tomorrow.

In the other groups, the teenagers performed a skit in Amharic for their 8th and 9th grade students, modeling what they are asking the students to do by the end of the week – perform skits in English.  (These teenagers are very brave souls, indeed!)  The elementary team focused on math concepts today, although Jocelyn reiterated a common thread among all groups – the break and lunch times where we can connect and learn from one another is just as valuable as the conference sessions!  We are learning Ethiopia “through” these teachers!

We are drained, but filled!  We are exhausted, but awakened!  And we will never be the same!

The “saga of the overhead projectors” continues.  Each day this week, Todd and a member of the HOPE staff have followed-up on glimmers of hope that the bureaucratic labyrinth would find an end and a resolution so that the projectors could find their rightful home at the HOPE schools for which they were intended (rather than the cargo holding area of the Ethiopian Customs Authority).  Today, on the second visit back to the office described by Todd in yesterday’s post, we came on step closer to that reality.

PictureTodd was told that the Customs Authority had determined that the $245 the team had paid for each projector was, in fact, the reasonable value for those items.  (It helped that Todd had a Staples packing slip with that price on it.)  It was then explained that the Customs Authority would issue a letter to that effect, thereby allowing the Customs Agents at the airport to impose the tariff on that amount.  We were told to expect something close to 65% to 70% of our cost as the tariff.

Again, we were asked to come back tomorrow for the letter.  Another reminder that things don’t always happen on “our” time, but in the “right” time.