PictureToday was the fourth day of the teaching conference at the HOPE school in Addis Ababa.  After our team collectively drank several cups of our favorite Ethiopian “buna” (coffee), we boarded the bus and drove the 20 minutes to the school. 

The day began with a wonderful devotion that Christine shared with us and a talk about student assessment by Jeff (complete, of course, with a version of our now favorite song “Growing Our Minds and Hearts . . . Everyday, Everyday!”  Everyone then divided up by grade level and another day of teaching, learning and discussion had begun.

As we walked to our classroom with our Ethiopian colleagues in full conversation about the day ahead, I was again reminded of the warmth, hospitality, compassion and enthusiasm shown by every one of the teachers we have met here.  On Monday evening, I prayed that I would make good connections with these teachers – and my prayer has definitely been answered – especially my new friendship with Martha. 

Martha is an elementary school teacher herein Addis with a smile that is absolutely priceless.  Yesterday, during our coffee break (yes, we are well caffeinated here!), we began talking about our lives and discovered we have a great deal in common.  We agreed to meet up again for lunch and bring photos the following day to share.  Today, during break, we sate together “oohing” and “ahhing” over the photos of her recent wedding and laughing about all kinds of things.  Our plan for tomorrow is to exchange email addresses so we can keep in touch.  I feel like a nine-year-old who has just met a new friend at summer camp and I love it!

I love that a smile, a hug and the joy of having a new sister in Christ can transcend all language and cultural barriers.  I look forward to tomorrow – a day to celebrate the past week, especially the relationships that have been formed amongst all the teachers present – and to spend more time with my new friend Martha.

Eureka! Today we received the needed letter from the Customs Authority that will permit the release of the projectors.  Or at least that is what we are led to believe.  Todd picked up a sealed envelope (which he was told not to open).  He had a glimpse of a copy of the letter that was inside during his three-hour wait at Customs to pick up the letter, but it was all in Amharic.  It is now too late in the day to pick up the projectors, but plans are being made by HOPE to pick them up on Monday.
Please continue to pray.