This is the beginning of our third week now in Ethiopia. Just as we thought time was going by really slowly here, we are already a quarter of the way done with our trip! Overall things are still going pretty smoothly- we are pretty healthy, enjoying living on our own, and are absolutely loving this country- for the most part. Except for the dysfunctional airport system, Ethiopia is the place to be.
We can safely say that we are finally getting used to things down here at the youth center. It has been a great experience getting to know the older kids (as well as the younger kids), and we feel as though we finally have a foundation to work off of for the rest of the summer. There has been a mixed feel as to how successful things are going so far, mainly because it is hard to form space between the younger and older kids at the center. The problem is that even though there are SO many younger kids, and all of them are aching for so much attention, we have to focus a lot of our energy on the others, because one of our goals here is to instill a sense of good leadership in the older kids to take over when all of us are gone. We have tried so many times to separate the times between the two groups by having kid time in the morning and teenager time for the rest of the day, but whenever we try to play a game with the older kids the younger ones come out as Daniel mentioned, “like a swarm of bees.” This is no exaggeration, because it really looked like a nest had been destroyed the other day when we saw the kids burst out of the youth center doors to join an older kids Frisbee game outside. Of course, the result of this is that we get blunt with the younger ones and make them sit on the side, which is not a fun thing to have to do. We may be in good health, but we are without a doubt physically and mentally exhausted.
So far the only games we can play are ultimate Frisbee and handball.There is construction taking place on the basketball court, and until that is finished those are the only two games we were told were legitamite- even soccer is being outlawed until the construction is over. That is another challenge we have had to face, but we hope to be up and running by next week. Still, everything here is so unpredictable so we really have to just give everything to the Lord. Frisbee, in the meantime, is extremely chaotic to play with the little kids. None of us can be everywhere at once, which makes playing with the kids “fairly” an impossible thing to do. When one of us gets the Frisbee, about ten or so little ones will come up screaming for it, and when you pass it to one of them the other nine will come up and say “Jiff, give me… No Jiff, give me.” All we can do then is just smile and say OK!
Oh yeah, that’s another thing- the names. Apparently Jeff does not fly here so they say Jiff. Daniel told me I have become a peanut butter brand. Karla’s knife business is gaining in popularity and “Karra,” or in review from last weeks update “knife” is becoming the most popular name usage among the kids. Violet is now “Lilly” and Daniel “Donny.” Daniel noticed that during English class the kids could not pronounce the “a” in valley and instead kept saying “Volley.” OK NOW THE COMPUTER IS FLIPPING OUT ON ME SO EVERYTHING IS IN CAPS LOCK. DON’T THINK THAT I AM REALLY TRYING TO EMPHASIZE THE REST OF THIS UPDATE. ANYWAY….
KARLA SEEMS TO BE THE SEXUAL ATTRACTION OF THE GROUP AROUND THE YOUTH CENTER, BUT DON’T WORRY GREG, WE ARE KEEPING HER SAFE FROM THE PREDATORS. THE OTHER DAY SOME BOYS ASKED HER TO LIFT UP WHEN SHE WAS TALKING TO THEM IN THE WEIGHT ROOM.. AND THEY WEREN’T REFERING TO THE WEIGHTS. I BELIEVE THEIR EXACT WORDS WERE “SATISFY US!” POOR KARLA….
KARLA AND VIOLET HAVE ALSO BEEN GETTING THEIR SHARE OF ADVENTURE IN MEKELE. THE OTHER DAY THEY WERE INVITED TO A GIRLS HOUSE TO EAT LUNCH, BUT WERE LED INTO A BARBER SHOP AND FORCED TO GET THEIR HAIR DONE FOR 30 BIRR. I MIGHT JUST WANT TO ADD THAT THEY LOOKED ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS WHEN THEY CAME BACK TO THE YOUTH CENTER. APPARENTLY THE WHOLE TEAM HAS BEEN INVITED TO THE SAME HOUSE FOR LUNCH ON SATURDAY, SO ME AND DANIEL WILL KNOW THAT WHEN THE SCISSORS COME OUT, WE RUN.
ASIDE FROM THE YOUTH CENTER, WE ARE REALLY SATISFIED AT HOW MUCH TIME WE HAVE SPENT TOGETHER AS A WHOLE TEAM, CONSIDERING THAT WE LIVE A GOOD HALF AN HOUR AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. EATING OUT AT RESTAURANTS IS A GREAT EXPERIENCE, BUT HAS ITS ODDSIDES TO IT. FIRST OF ALL, WE HAVE TO PRAY LIKE WE ARE HAVING A CONVERSATION, SO IT WAS WEIRD THE OTHER NIGHT LOOKING INTO KARLA’S EYES AS SHE WAS BLESSING THE MEAL. IT FEELS AS IF YOU ARE PRAYING TO EACH OTHER. ALSO, IT IS CULTURALLY WRONG TO EAT USING YOUR LEFT HAND. THE RIGHT HAND IS FOR EATING, WHERE THE LEFT HAND IS FOR…. WELL, IF YOU ARE EATING FOOD AS YOU READ THIS UPDATE I’LL JUST SPARE YOU OF WHAT THE LEFT HAND IS FOR.
- SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WITH SATISFYING BOTH LITTLE AND OLDER KIDS
- ABILITY TO CONTINUE GETTING CLOSE WITH THE OLDER KIDS
WE ARE THINKING ABOUT YOU ALL AND ARE KEEPING YOU ALL IN OUR PRAYERS. WE WILL CONTINUE WITH OUR WEEKLY UPDATES NEXTG SUNDAY.