OH...the precious street children in Ethiopia!! They will break your heart. There are over 150,000 street children in Ethiopia. Most run loose during the day without a mother or a father. You will find many begging on the streets or selling items like chewing gum or shining shoes to make whatever money they can to survive. Throughout our OH trips we have continued to run across some of the same kids. Well Team 2 decided to invest in these kids and show them that they are loved....and what an amazing day it was for some of them.
We, in America, take something as simple as a shower for granted. In Ethiopia, most people trying to make a living and survive do not have running water. They rinse off out of a bucket by splashing themselves with water with no soap. Team 2 rounded up close to 15 of their little buddies from the streets and brought them back to the guest house for a warm shower first. These kids had never had a shower before.
Lauren sent me these pics along with some of her own words. I will share.....
"As we dressed the boys we learned a few thing about each other. I learned that majority of them do not own underwear, they just wear whatever pants they have. They learned that us Americans wear underwear and SOCKS! I handed a boy a pair of socks and turned around for a second. When I turned back around... they were on his hands. We both just stared at each other blankly and after I got over the shock I corrected him. Poor boy had never had socks to keep his feet warm.
After each kid would take a shower they would walk around the guest house in their towel waiting for someone to clothe them with all the donations. In with the old out with the new. They definitely were not too concerned with keeping up with the smelly rags they were dressed in.
Alida formed an instant connection with this transformed little girl. She arrived in literal rags, with no pants or underwear on. We bathed her in a warm bath that was instantly filled with dirt, but once the grime was removed she came alive. This little girl she fell in love with had dark brown hair, but after giving her a bath they came to find it was a light red color. All the dirt had built up in her hair to make it seem darker. We quickly learned that her hair was also infested with lice. But once Alida got ahold of her, they were attached to the hip for the day, lice and all. Lice isn't gonna stop us from giving love to the children
Most of the children lack a father figure. Evan provided them with love and SOCCER all day long, and they loved every second of it.
It's truly amazing what a warm shower and good clothes can do for a child's self esteem. We saw these boys come alive with smiles that we will never forget.
Kate Carter had the brilliant idea to bring a photo printer, that you simply put a memory card in and out come the pictures. So we got pictures printed on the spot and they each got a picture of themselves to take home! I'm sure that was one of the first times they've gotten that opportunity, considering the people taking pictures of them come in and out of the country so quickly. Good thing we got them looking so sharp for their first picture.
Here is our after pic of all the boys spic and span, with their new items in tow, ready for our next big adventure for them.
The ZOO!! We loaded them up and took them to the zoo, where many first experiences took place. It was probably most of their first time there, and it was my first time to be allowed to throw candy in the monkey cages. Apparently zoo rules aren't as important in Africa haha. A few of them got to ride the ferris wheel, and I think they smiled and laughed the full five minutes! They were having the time of their lives, and to think on any other day, and the day following this one, these kids would be begging on the streets.
The team made an executive decision to sacrifice our lunch to these kids we were now buddies with. They scarved every bit of it. Their smiles say it all.
After our fun-filled day with the children came to a close, we were faced with the grim reality that they lived when we had to return them to their homes. This is the house that we had to drop Alidas favorite and her brother off at. This impacted many of the team members that had fallen in love with these two children, and Alida plans on visiting this family again before the end of the trip to work out a sponsorship.