Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Psalm 82:3

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?
What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?
(excerpt from The Hole in Our Gospel)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shashamene and Korah

Got back from Korah and I decided I wasn't going to go shopping or watch the guys play b-ball. I'm tired. I've felt faint all day long. We are going to a traditional restaurant for dinner tonight. That should be interesting. Not sure what I'll eat there - if anything. Here are some pictures I was able to email.

Arrival at Ethiopia airport.

Here would be our group milling around after arrival. All three vans looked like clown cars. Luggage for 24 people, the 24 people plust the 6 men to help and drive. Can you say claustrophobia? Thankfully it was only a 30 minute dirve. Imagine those vans piled high with bungi cords holding everything down on top - and nothing fell out! Each team member brought 100 lbs of donations. 3 of us brought 150 lbs of donations. What's the math on that? (That's 2,550 lbs of donations, for those of you that are mathematically challenged.)

This is our group. Yes, I know everyone here and what state they are from. Someone is missing, though I can't figure that out at the moment.

This is my room. Top bunk would be mine.

Me on the edge of the Trash Dump. It goes on for a couple of miles.

The trash dump again. In the back would be where people are burning some of the trash.

Typical shoes in Korah, or Africa for that matter. That is if one is lucky enough to have shoes.

These are the lucky ones who get to go to school because they have a sponsor or whose parents send them (usually one member gets to go while the other kids "work" at the dump.)

A street in Korah and there are hundreds more just like it.

Kids playing with something. They really are creative.

Our group delivering food for our home visit in Korah.

Two brothers "working" at the dump.

The woman we met with in her home.

The little boy that was sick and was throwing up.

What if you had HIV and had to choose between breast feeding (which transmits the HIV virus), and hoping to find enough formula to sustain your child's life - hoping they don't have HIV already? What if your husband left because he didn't want twins?

A dead chicken, most likely picked up by someone for dinner.

Here is my Saturday update.

Since being stuck here in Ethiopia we've been winging it from day to day. Yesterday we visited Shashamene which is where the boarding school Project 61 kids get to go to. If you haven't looked at the link on my blog for Project 61, please do!

The girl, Summer, came to Ethiopia last year, fell in love with Korah, had her heart broken, to say the least, went home and packed up her kids and husband and they sold everything they had to come and live here. In less than a year they found sponsors for 250 children in Korah so they could go to a boarding school for education, 3 meals a day and basic healthcare.

This boarding school is 3 hours from home and these kids leave their families for 10 months so they can have a chance at a better life for themselves. Kids as young as 5 years old go to school there. Can you imagine sending your 5 year old to another city for a year...over and over again so they can get an education?

The best part is that when we were there, the kids aske us, "Do you know Jennifer?" Or, "Do you know Thomas?" Or whoever their sponsor's name was. We are white Americans and their sponsors are white Americans, therefore we know them, right? They also ask me if I'm from Tennessee. They ask all of us if we're from Tennessee. Why? Because Summer is from Tennessee and that's were A Lot of sponsors come from. Her church really backed her and her whole community did as well. Nobody had heard of Utah. Not surprising, eh? I think I may have to change that...somehow...?

We went to Korah and held church with the kids there. Stickers, bubbles, foam crosses - all were treasures and we were mobbed, literally, for anything and everything. However, unlike mobs in the U.S., these kids said please, hugged us and thanked us over and over and over again no matter how little they got. Most just wanted to hold one of our hands or be held. Seriously! Every time I go there, one or more kids become "my kids" and they spend the whole day following me, holding my hand, playing with my hair, talking to me, helping me...just to be with me.

I've never felt more sticky, sweaty, grungy, dirty, smelly or loved all at the same time. The smell in Korah will be something I won't soon forget. Sometimes I couldn't take a breath without feeling like I was "losing it", but praise God I never did. How people live like this day in and day out for their entire lives is something I can't fathom. How people live like this and love Jesus with all their hearts astounds me! They talk about Him as though he is right here - in Korah. And he as to be! They say they talk to God about their problems an dknow God hears them because of all he's done for them. All he's done for them? Most don't have parents anymore. Some have one parent left. None of enough to eat. I look around and see trash everywhere. I see kids with flies swarming their little bodies. I see sores, colds, hungry bellies and kids roaming the streets all day long looking for something to eat. But despite all of this, I've seen more happiness in this community than I've ever seen anywhere. How is this possible? Only God, that's how.

I have pictures from orphanages we've visited earlier this week, but since they are working to help those children find families, we aren't able to post them online. Guess if you want to see them, you'll hve to come see them personally when I get home.

That's all for now! I'll refrain from sharing my internal dialogue about promoting adoptoin within my social circle (it's hard, believe me!)


News from the homefront:

Jared and I stayed up way too late after the softball game last night. MJ and Chelsea tossed and turned and stole my covers last night. Breakfast was eggs, english muffins and fruit. Then we worked our tails off to clean the house, do some laundry and mow the yard. Then it was lunch and off to Corey's soccer game. The storm clouds circle the field but the rain stayed away.

Here is Corey in action again.

After the game, it was back to the library for Chelsea's book report book. Penguins!
The kids stayed home while I went to the grocery store to get some much needed supplies. Back home and Chelsea went to a frined's house for the night. MJ said she wasn't tired, but from the looks of this picture, I think she took a cat nap while I was cooking dinner.

After dinner, it was back to the computer to get caught up with Angie's trip. I'm all caught up!

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