An update from Brenna (7-31):
It’s the rainy season here so we get a lot of heavy short rain storms. Whenever it rains everyone scatters into buildings, so the youth center field is often deserted during the afternoon rains. One afternoon we were really excited about the puddles. Our team started jumping in them and before we knew it all the kids were around us and we were having a MYC wide mud fight. It was so fun, but apparently the older kids thought we were actually insane. Well we are crazy ferengies (ghost in Tigrinya) but really just trying to spread a little Northwest fun. We noticed the next day there were more children outside when it was drizzling. It was a moment when we all felt connected to the kids on a level that surpassed the language barrier.
A couple of days ago we were invited to one of the girl’s house for her birthday. We ended up walking an hour south of town, sometimes in the rain. It was really fun because we were walking with a lot of the young teenagers we have become friends with from the youth center singing and making all the locals stare. The girl whose birthday it was walks every day by herself for two hours to come to the youth center. It gave us a new perspective on the lives of the kids and how much it means to them to have a place that they can come to six days a week to play, learn, and be kids.
Right now all the members of our team in Mekelle are sick or recovering. Today we heard that many of the kids are sick and attendance has been a little low. We would really appreciate prayers for the healing of our team and the children at the youth center.
We have had wonderful opportunities to build relationships and get to know the kid’s personalities. Getting close to them has given us a chance to show God’s love through our actions. Ren has been playing ping pong everyday with the kids and taking a more active role in teaching English. Jacob is a force to be reckoned with. If he’s not acting out the story he and Alison wrote for Reading club than he’s outside building relationships with older boys through volleyball and other sports. Alison and Jacob make an amazing tag team teaching English and Reading clubs. For Reading club they have been writing a story about their adventures in Ethiopia. So far it includes a green genie named Percolator the Powerful, Crazy Old Cat Woman, and an Ogre. It’s great to see them acting it out and the kids love it. The twelve to fourteen year old girls are really special and Alison is able to strongly connect with them. I have been getting to know the five to ten year olds who are so sweet and never cease to try to teach me Tigrinya. Both Alison and I enjoy the anti-aids classes for girls that we teach together; we are using theatre games to demonstrate communication and trust. All of us have been getting to know the core group of older girls who run the Anti-Aids program for the whole youth center. They are already great leaders at the youth center and it’s exciting to see their skills nurtured and growing.
That’s the story here. We are preparing to go to Lalibela next weekend to see the rock churches. Hopefully the internet in all of Ethiopia will be up and running soon and we’ll be able to send more updates. Thank you for your prayers!
-Brenna and Team Ethiopia ’06!