Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Team two: Korah and Entoto Mountain

Blog by Ryan Daly ~ OH Team Leader & Videographer

The days in Ethiopia seem to run together. We do so much that days seem to pass by and before you know it, we have only three days left.

Monday morning we awoke still talking about how incredible the previous night was. After showing the team the short video I threw together of our van ride, we loaded up and headed to Korah.

Korah is the poorest area of Addis and one of the poorest communities in all of Ethiopia. It is also many times a favorite location of Ordinary Hero teams.

Some of the faces of Korah
Our plan for the day was to meet up with Pastor Tesfy, who pastors a church in Korah that Bizzy helped start, and do home visits with seven families.

The night before, the team had packed up bookbags full of clothes, toiletries, food and blankets to give out to these families.

One of the families we visited in Korah
Michelle also brought with her ziplock bags and put note cards with verses on them in Amharic (the native language here in Ethiopia) and English, along with some other blessings.

As Pastor Tesfy lead our team through Korah the poverty and need is obvious. Each home we stopped at we asked a few questions about the situations that they faced daily. Through our translator Salom (who works at the guesthouse) we asked about what the families do to live and what their biggest needs are.

Every home we visited one of the biggest needs was paying for rent. Even in this poor community with homes that are more accurately described as rooms, there is still rent that they must pay.

When we would give the family the bookbag full of supplies we would also show them the ziplock bag with the verse and other blessings in it. At every home when we showed them what we were giving them their demeanor instantly changed. It was as if someone had taken a heavy weight off of their shoulders.

One family that we visited there was only a teenage girl and her younger sister, her mother was crippled and had crawled her way to the street to beg. Pastor Tesfy said that of all the families this one was probably the biggest answer to prayer.

The mother had been at his church for three days crying and asking for help. As we were being told this the impact of what we were really doing hit the team. It was incredible to be an answer to someone’s prayer.

After our time in Korah we loaded up the van to head to an orphanage that is run by nuns. This would be the first orphanage where we would get to hold small babies, much to the delight of the team.

We spent over an hour playing with the kids and holding babies. Becky had to have one of the kids she bonded with literally pried away from her as we were leaving.

Destin enjoyed the babies

This little guy walked right up to Kenya and wanted to be held

Becky and her buddy

Some of the boys teaching Lorrie how to play marbles
We all enjoyed getting to play and interact with the kids.

Monday night was a night I personally will never forget, I went back to Korah and spent the night in one of the homes we had visited earlier in the day.

To read about my experience you can check out my blog here-

Tuesday was the day we visited Entoto mountain. Our first stop on the mountain was near the top where we stopped and ate lunch as a team and then got the chance to give out many of the blessing bags and candy we had brought to the children.

The thing that always amazes me about Entoto mountain is that kids will suddenly appear out of nowhere and surround the team. Kids will start coming out from the woods and start running towards you. It’s always fun to see.

We spent some time handing out candy and beads to all of the kids then headed off to find one of the women who carry huge loads of sticks down the mountain. A team member from the previous team, Ashton, had left Michelle money to purchase a donkey to give to one of these women. Our mission was to find a woman to bless.

We traveled all the way back down the mountain before we spotted an elderly woman carrying her giant load of sticks.

We quickly jumped out of the van and told her we’d like to buy her a donkey. She smiled and agreed to leave her load on the side of the road where we were (don’t worry, there was a local man who agreed to watch it for her) and jumped in our van for the ride back up to the top of the mountain where we had arranged to buy a donkey.

On the ride up we gave the woman a blessing bag full of clothes, toiletries and new shoes. We also gave her a ziplock bag from Michelle. This woman was so grateful for everything. She kept thanking us and kissing our hands.

At the top we washed her feet with wet wipes and gave her socks and new shoes.

Once we gave her the donkey and took some pictures we noticed another woman watching what was going on who also had sticks on her back. We offered to take her down the mountain.

We tossed (I use that term lightly) her load on top of the van and headed our way back down. As we drove down we gave candy and a few blessing bags to kids who were on the street.

This day was many of the teams favorite day so far. Lorrie especially enjoyed giving. We’ve discovered her love language is gift giving. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face every time we gave a bag to the women we helped.

After we dropped the woman off and unloaded her sticks we went shopping for jewelry at Entoto Beth Artisan. This place employs women from Mt. Entoto who are affected by HIV/AIDS to make beautiful jewelry.

After buying some jewelry we then headed to Fashionable and the Women at Risk non profit. This is where they take women out of prostitution and teach them to make beautiful scarves. The team loved shopping here as we bought many of their scarves.

Tuesday night the team (minus Michelle who was unfortunately sick) went to a cultural restaurant along with our special guest for the evening, Teddy.

Most of the team got a chance to try their first taste of injera (a traditional Ethiopian bread that they eat for almost every meal). The restaurant we go to also has traditional music, singing and dancing so you not only get dinner, but a show.

The team has been experiencing so much that Addis has to offer, it’s been a great team so far and will only get better these last few days!


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