Monday, July 09, 2007

ETHIOPIA UPDATE

Friends and Family,

Tomorrow marks the first day of our second week here in Ethiopia. We just want to start off by assuring everybody that we have yet to get sick, and are in very good health. God is definitely keeping us safe.
Unfortunately, we are still waiting on the negligent British Airways to send our bags down here. Somehow they miraculously managed to fail in getting our baggage on one of the several weekly BA flights, so Jeff is still running around in flip flops! His feet are in a very bad mood, and request lots of prayer.
Jeff and Daniel seem to be attracting all kinds of wildlife to their home. On their first night here, they tore apart the majority of their house to catch and kill a rat that had been living in their kitchen. In failing to do so, the exhausted boys gave up their search and concluded by giving it a few names: 1) Houdini, for its magical and disappearing ways 2) Splinter, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 3) Ratattoui, the famous rat chef. They have exclaimed that once he runs into rat poison, Ratattoui will cook French delicacies no longer. Violet and Karla are enjoying a very luxurious home, which is all but a forty minute walk from the youth center. They also have pigeons on their roof, and as Karla mentioned, “it sounds like they are playing soccer up there or something when we are trying to sleep.”
So far, working at the Youth Center has been a blast. We spent the first few days solidifying a schedule to which we will use, including teaching leadership as well as English classes, health and fitness, and of course playing sports with the kids. We came up with a list of new games to teach them, such as Dodgeball. The boys said that it was tough teaching the little kids how to play the game, because they did not understand that once you are hit with the ball you are “out,” neither did they understand the concept of the “middle line.” As a result, they just kept throwing balls at each other and screaming joyfully, which brought great laugher to Jeff and Daniel. Some of the other games that we plan on teaching them include Bump, Fire in the Forest, Badmitton, Volleyball, Football, and Baseball.
Ping Pong is HUGE at the youth center. We thought we had some ping pong skills before we played against these kids, honestly. It’s a pretty humbling experience, but we are hoping to get a lot better by the end of the summer.
Our names are another area of excitement. Daniel is the only one the kids have really caught on to, because it supposedly is a very common Ethiopian name. Karla, on the other hand, has been substituted by the kids to Karra, which in Tigrinia means “knife.” With this bit of inspiration, Karla has planned to join the Ethiopian knife club and become their leader. We are kidding, of course.
Last night we had the privilege of watching some of the older kids from the youth center perform a dramatic murder mystery. It was very compelling, and was filled with great acting, we only wish we could actually understand their language so we really knew what was going on. There was a huge thunder and lighting storm going on outside, which really added to the suspense of the keyboard sound effects they were using. Karla mentioned the play reminded her of a Spanish soap operah.
We could go on for hours talking about how our week has been, but its probably best that we head out. Continue to pray for us, Jeff’s beaten up feet, Karla’s reputation as a sharp object, and baggage. We will update you again next week, and we hope that all of you are doing well.

Love,

Jeff, Violet, Karla and Daniel.

1 comment:

Brandon and Shannon Bleek said...

Hi Ethiopia team. I love your blog report! You are doing great things and I know the kids will love and long remember you. As a former elementary teacher, I'd like to share something I learned long into my career. It looks like the kids you are working with already know how much fun it is just to play rather than compete. Dodge ball can become an aggressive and hurtful game, not only with the 'smack' of a hard thrown ball, but with the sentence of 'you're OUT!' i.e. you lose, you can't play with us, we are better than you. In it's place, our PE teacher taught a game where both teams are given an equal number of balls to throw across the line (rope) in the middle. After a certain time the whistle blows and action stops, the balls are counted and a winning team declared (given a point); then the action starts again. If an equal number of balls are on both sides of the line, both teams win! [Also, rather than assigning a permanent place on the sidelines, a child who gets an 'out' counts to 25, does ten sit ups, or such, then rejoins the game--as the purpose is to play, not lose.]
Whatever the game, it's your love that really counts!
In His service,
Roxanna Koester UPC