Salame from Mekele!
Sorry about not writing for the past couple of weeks. We have said since last Friday that we were going to blog and roughly about 5 days ago we started a game of Risk so that has taken priority over our lives. But have no fear Alyssa is almost dead (in the game) so we should be wrapping it up shortly.
We have been busy busy with English classes, Women's Discussion, Men's Discussion, Boys and Girls Club, Bible Studies, and running sport activities. Our team is leading an English Class every morning from 9-10 for 3rd to 5th graders. We have been meeting daily for the past 2 weeks and things are going great. We taught the kids how to say I am awesome! (Instead of I am doing fine), numbers, colors, actions, and seasons. There are 4 of us teaching but we have roughly 50 students so that is sometimes a bit challenging especially considering we don't speak Tigrinya, but we are absolutely loving it. So far in Women's Discussion we have discussed friendship, love, and sex. It takes awhile for the girls to get talking but when they do they have really interesting points and it is always fascinating to see how things such as dating work in their culture. Justin has been leading some heated Men's Discussions about identity, culture, westernization, and gender equality. Boys and Girls Club meet twice a week and it is basically a mini Sunday school lesson. We sing Father Abraham, If you are happy and you know it, go through the story of Abraham, and go over some bible verses. We have probably sung Father Abraham about 455 times, but that is okay the kids love it.
About a week and a half ago we went to Wukro and visited about 5 rock churches. Some of them were up huge mountains, some are built literally in the side of a mountain, and others have sketchy wood steps that you have to climb to reach to the top. It was a pretty incredible experience. We found priest bones...and a couple of others....just lying there no big deal. Don't worry we took pictures with them. Each church is filled with amazing and colorful murals of stories from the Bible. Mary is really big here so in each church their was always pictures magnifying her. Each church also has a special room for only "the most holy" and only the priests are allowed to enter in. You have to take off your shoes and socks before entering each church, which got a tad annoying but we decided it was worth the cultural experience. Our van also broke down in the middle of nowhere so we hung out of the side of the road and watched some wild monkeys!
It was awesome. At the first church we got to actually witness a ceremony and for some reason we were standing at the front of the church and were right next to the chanting priests and drums. In summary it was an incredible day and we got to witness a lot of church history.
Amber and Alyssa went to an Orthodox Church last Sunday with some of the local girls here. We had to wear white head scarves as is the tradition in Ethiopia. You stand the whole time while priest chant over microphones or speakers. It was truly amazing to see how far people walk to attend service here and you are standing next to 80 year old women and men who stand for about 4 hours every Sunday. We only stayed for about 2 hours because we got a little dizzy. Oh did we mention church starts around 5 in the morning?
Justin- ate goat heart and intestine. he said it was disgusting. we are very glad the rest of us were not with him. he loves playing tug of war with the kids everyday and often oversleeps his alarm.
Jason- is glad the Canadians are finally gone. Is getting a little intense while we play Risk. And loves getting Ethiopian food at our favorite restaurant Hawk Finn (Huck Finn)
Alyssa- almost ate a bug that looks like an espresso bean. Is getting wiped off the world which she is not too happy about. (Risk) And loves sketching for the little children.
Amber- rode a wild camel and lived! It was awesome. She came back from almost being dominated and is now taking over the world. (She has South America, Africa, Europe, and is working on killing Justin off North America) She loves teaching English to the little kids and playing Mango Mango with the little girls.
Our time in Mekele is flying by and we are loving every minute of it.
Thank you for all of our supporters who are praying for our team while we are here. We ask for prayers for health, we haven't gotten sick in awhile and as our time is wrapping off we want to continue to stay strong and healthy, energy, the days at the youth center are often long and draining and sometimes it is difficult to find the strength to go back, continual team unity (Risk has put some division in our team) :), and continual seeking and guidance from the Lord to serve Him and the children of Mekele.