Monday, August 14, 2006

Ethiopia Update - Finishing strong!

We are now in our last week in Mekelle and completing our time at the youth center. It is a challenge to see our relationships coming to an end. We are trying to find ways to really appreciate and use the depth of the relationships we’ve formed.

Last weekend KB (another short termer), Alison, and Brenna had the older girls from the youth center over for a dance party. It was a great chance to bond with them. And we played signs. They are really good; they could give the dep-ers a run for their money. It is really exciting to see strong female leaders developing in the community. Each of them has had so many struggles that they have been able to overcome. It really challenges us to become leaders through our lives example. These last two weeks we have been invited over to more kid’s house which shows the deepening of our friendships and their willingness to share their lives with us. Brenna got to practice the coffee ceremony last week at one of the girl’s house. Starbucks watch out!

Sunday morning at 6:15am the three of us girls walked 45 minutes to go to an Ethiopian Orthodox church with a couple of other girls from the center. We went to Saint Selassie’s whose Saint’s day it was. There were hundreds of people, many were women whose heads were all covered with white scarves known as netellas. Only men are allowed inside the church, but there were so many people not even all the men could fit inside. It was wonderful to experience a different way of praising God. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is very reverent to the Lord.

Jacob is making the final push with the older boys. It has been a real challenge to get to know them on a deeper level, but through mad volleyball skills he has formed some really great bonds. Please be praying for him though as he hasn’t been feeling well again. It has been a struggle to overcome the low energy levels that come with illness. We would all love to have full energy for our last week here and really go out with a bang.

Despite initial hesitations about teaching younger kids Ren has found a nitch working with them. It is really exciting to see the ways he’s grown as a teacher.

Alison and Brenna are finishing up their anti-aids classes with the girls. Theatre has been a great way to bond with the girls and give them opportunities to be creative. Teaching and explaining to the kids how to use their own special imaginations has been a big challenge for the team this summer. It has especially been Brenna’s goal to stretch the kids in their artistic ability by exposing them to visual arts, dance, music and theatre as much possible. Art has been a terrific way to overcome the language barrier with the younger kids since the older kids usually have better English skills. An exciting program that we recently started for the 12-14 year old kids is a leadership training course. Alison has been able to use her young life training to challenge the future leaders and work with the kids she feels the most called to impact their community.

We have been so blessed by our time in Mekelle. We would appreciate prayers for our programs this week, overall health, and the lives of the children.

We are being eaten by mosquitoes. Time to go.
Team Ethiopia

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