Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ethiopia 2012, TEAM 2, Day 1~ Korah

written by Phil Chapman

I can't believe that we are calling it a day, and it is only 7:45 PM in Ethiopia. The entire team is extremely tired from the trip and from some great hard work! The flight to Ethiopia was fantastic. Many enjoyed the entertainment that Ethiopian airlines has to offer, while others spent a lot of time watching the flight status monitors (you can watch how fast you're going and see where you are currently located). I personally enjoyed sleeping as much as possible. We were thankful that we all basically sat together on the huge airplane so that we could strategize our exit when we touch ground in Addis Ababa.

We then took a 15-20 minute drive from the airport to the Ethiopian Guest House. We were greeting by not only the staff members, but a large amount of kids, including Sammy, Matt, and my favorite named, Texas :-). The kids swarmed us as we attempted to make our way down the street to the Guest House because the street was under construction…not sure what they are doing to it, but there are large mounds of dirt and gravel piled every 100’. After we were somewhat acclimated, Matt Swartz wanted to give a new soccer ball to the little boy Matt. That started an entire soccer game, so many of the team members had to join in. The Ethiopian children showed us how to play soccer by “taking us to school” many times even though they were wearing sandals and we had our nice tennis shoes. The ground hard sharp rocks sticking out all over and there was a barbed wire on one sideline and a 3 ½ foot trench on the other side…perfect for a soccer game. We had a ball, got muddy, and made a lot of little ones smile. Oh, I also gave little Texas 5 Birr (Ethiopian money which this amount is valued around 28.2 cents). Texas was grinning ear to ear.

After we enjoyed some cat naps and a pasta lunch, we gathered up as a team and went to Korah.  Our goal for this specific trip was to help Project 61 with two building projects that they have started. They are building a food building and something else (it leaves me at the moment). They have created some phenomenal foundations out of mud and large rocks. Nels, our resident carpenter, said that he couldn’t believe how square they were able to make the first building’s foundation. We were prepping for their second building’s foundation, moving sand from one area to the building area, transfer long sticks from the building area to a cooking area for fire wood, move a few tons of rocks into the gate, and finally throw wet mud with the some of the worst shovels we have ever used into the building to start prepping for the floor.

However, as expected, Korah isn’t about buildings, it is about the people there. Dozens, if not hundreds, of little ones gathered around as we worked. We would move five stones and then pick up and hug 10 kids. They are beautiful children that love to be loved.

 They joined our team to help with anything they could. As I grabbed a large stone that probably weighed 40lbs, two little kids who were 7 or 8 were tag teaming lifting another. Nels was leading a group that was moving sand from the one area into the gated area where the buildings are going to be and said that one of the little kids was hiding under the bus (which was located ON TOP of the sand pile) and grabbed Nels’ leg…Nels loved it! That was one of our biggest observations with this trip. It didn’t matter that these kids had two different shoes with one of them toeless, or that they didn’t have much food to eat, or that they had flies resting in their eyes and wounds on their hands, THEY WERE HAPPY AND CONTENT. Did they want food (or anything) from us, you betcha! However, they were kids. Happy to have us around and happy to be a part of it.

It was an outstanding day that has already humbled every team member.

We get to go back tomorrow, on our Day 2. Our love for the people of Ethiopia is growing like crazy and we can’t wait to serve them another day.

PS: As I finish this blog post, I listen to the karate instruction outside our 3rd floor balcony, dogs barking, as they run wild through the streets, and very loud Ethiopian music…it is good to be back.

Matt's niece, Gracyn, gave him this barbie to give away. It made this little girls day! She lives in Korah, the poorest place in Addis. 

1 comment:

  1. It is so super cool to read this! I was just there the first week in June. My team, through Visiting Orphans, helped to spread the red rock you guys are walking on. The awesome (haha) painting job on the P61 buildings would be our doing, too! It is so awesome to see these pictures of what you guys are doing there now. I see lots of sweet little faces that I recognize in your pictures! Thanks for sharing!! It is so awesome to see!! Prayers for an awesome experience for you all!!! :)