Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ethiopia Team Two: First Days

Team two is on the ground and experiencing quite a lot their first few days.

One of my favorite parts of Ethiopia, getting to see this smiling guy
This team was a small group to begin with but unfortunately got even smaller when team leader Crystal Archie's mother passed away the day before the team left so Crystal and her daughters stayed home.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you Crystal, and your family as you go through this tough time, you are truly missed over here in Ethiopia.

This team is seven members strong. Leading the team in Crystal's absence is Michelle Daly and me, Ryan Daly (no relation. Seriously.)

The rest of the team consists of Abby (who came with team one) from Houston, TX, Becky and her daughter Destin from Nashville, TN, Lori from Oklahoma and Kenya from Utah.

The team arrived Saturday morning and we have already visited the IAG transition home, Beza church and a new orphanage that Becky found out about through a contact who had adopted from there

Oh, we also experienced some Ethiopian history Sunday night.

This small of a team does have it's advantages. We all fit into one van and it makes being flexible with our schedule much easier. ​

One thing I love about Ordinary Hero is how broad a reach it has stateside. This team of seven has members from Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and Illinois. ​

Day one we took the team to a transition home where we got to play with some infants and school aged kids for an hour or two before we went back to the guest house to unwind and let the team crash early.​
Michelle at the transition home
The team sitting down with the kids for their lunch

Kenya had this boy laughing the whole time
Abby getting loved on
I know that Phil already mentioned how awesome the new guest house/life center is during the last teams blogs but I'll reiterate his sentiment: this place is awesome!  
View from our incredible new guest house

Sunday was quite the day.​

We attended Beza International Church in the morning before heading to Downtown restaurant to eat some lunch.​

From lunch we visited ​Tikuret, a new orphanage. We got the full tour from the orphanage director before she (finally) let us go play with the kids. 

One of the sweet boys at Tikuret
The thing that really stuck out to the team and was obvious right away was how loved these kids are. The moment the director opened the door to the toddler's room they all ran to her smiling and hugging her. ​

Michelle would've left with this boy had they let her keep him
We visit some places while on these trips where you can tell the kids aren't used to being loved on or don't know how to respond to our affection. This wasn't an issue at Tikuret. Their staff definitely loves on these kids daily.
We left a big bag of donations for the kids there before we said our goodbye's and loaded our van up to head back to the guest house for the big game.

Ethiopians LOVE soccer. Let me just first make that statement before I go into further detail about what the "big game" was.​

As you all know the World Cup is a HUGE deal to pretty much the entire world (even America where we only seem to care about soccer during the world cup...and if we're relevant). Sunday afternoon was the Ethiopia vs South Africa World Cup qualifying game in Addis. 

If Ethiopia won, they would move on to the next round of the qualifying, a round they had never been to before.​

Bizzy had run out earlier in the day while we were at lunch and bought everyone on the team an Ethiopian national team soccer jersey. We all put our jersey's on and gathered around the TV in the guest house to watch the game with Bizzy, our driver Ati and the guest house staff.

The team gathered around to watch the game
I have never seen Bizzy so intense as I did during this game. He watched with a very focused look for almost the whole game.

The staff (who are incredible by the way. Not sure where Kelly found these women but they're wonderful) made the team smoothies and popcorn (much to the delight of Abby, who I've discovered has a very intense love of popcorn). 

Bizzy's expression for the entire 2nd half
If you have ever been to Addis you know that it is a densely populated city with lots of traffic. During this game the city streets were pretty much a ghost town, everyone was watching the game!

Much to the delight of our team (and to a MUCH larger extent, the entire country!) Ethiopia won the game 2-1. We asked Bizzy if we could all drive down by the stadium to experience the city celebrating.

Bizzy cheerfully said yes and we all piled into the van and what we saw was one of the craziest experiences I've ever had. 

Cars were honking their horns and people were running and cheering everywhere we went. There was lots of dancing and cheering, and piling on cars waving flags. It seemed as though the entire city was out celebrating this victory.

The people seemed to especially enjoy seeing a full van of mostly white Americans with Ethiopian jerseys on yelling and screaming out the windows.

We had to stop multiple times because we had so many random people jumping and climbing on the roof of our van. It was a very cool experience.

I will be blogging on my personal blog during my time here in Addis ( I'll be here until July 9th) where I'll be uploading videos and blogging from my point of view of my experiences here.

I'll have the video of the celebration on my blog as well.


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