Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ethiopian Orphan Project Day 5

Greetings from Addis Ababa Ethiopia! It's getting late and we've been running on (diesel) fumes over the last couple of days so I'm goint to keep this short. Any of you who've been to Addis understand my diesel reference - the pollution in this city is unbelievable. While driving you are constantly sucking the fumes from the tailpipes in front of you - you simply can't get away from it. I'm guessing the reason they don't have Malaria problems in the city of Addis Ababa is because the mosquitoes to busy coughing to bite. Nasty.

Today was another jammed packed day. We got up this morning and headed to a town called Wiloso, a mostly Muslim community located about two hours south of Addis Ababa. While there we visited the Wiloso Immanuel Orphanage - a facility that cares for 43 orphaned children (25 boys and 18 girls). This place is unique than any of our other visits in that it was situated in the middle of expansive farm land with (an estimated) 3 plus acres of their own land. While the setting for this facility was different than others we visited, their urgent need was no different. A couple of things stuck out to me about this place:

1) Babies. They had three of them there and they are not equipped to handle these babies (no diapers, no formula ) can you imagine? One of the babies was brought in by her mother, a fifteen year old girl who was unable to care for a baby she never wanted - she was raped. The mother stayed in the orphanage for a short while (after all she was just a kid herself) but eventually fled. Another one of the babies was clearly malnourished, they claimed she was one month old, she was about the size of a one month old, but clearly she was exhibiting signs of at least a three month old. I guess you can say that malnourishment distorts time. The babies had no mosquito nets on their beds and Malaria is ever present in this part of Ethiopia.

2) Children. The kids in the orphanage were so laid back - just really enjoyable and almost relaxing to be around. We played volleyball, hacky sack and soccer with them and they had a great time. At one point my friend Shilo had most of the girls huddled up under a makeshift umbrella (for shade) and we played music for them on a portable ipod speaker. It wasn't long before twenty kids were huddled around the ipod - they just loved it! We listed to an Ethiopian Gospel signer by the name of Sophia (thanks to my Ethiopian friend Ted back in the states). It was just so enjoyable to observe them consume every note like it was a fine wine. Then is was their turn - we all piled into their on site church (a converted barn) and the kids led and unbelievable worship service. As with a lot of things around here, it's difficult to put words on certain experiences. How do you explain a room full of kids with no parents (dead or otherwise), with limited food, 3 mile walk to school each day (one way), mosquito nets with holes the size of a DVD - signing worship songs and praising God from the bottom of their hearts? Why aren't they angry at God? No musical equipment except the sound of their voice and a small drum - yet they filled the room with as much (or more) worship as any 6 piece praise band? How do they do that? What can I learn from them? What could you learn from them now?

I am humbled by the experience... 

Thank you all for continuing to follow along and pray for me and this team. I really appreciate your support.

- Pete

p.s. We stopped for lunch at a lodge that had wild monkeys all over the place. I don't know about you but monkeys kind of creep me out. However, I knew my daughter Isabelle would have been so disappointed if I didn't get as close as I possibly could. So I allowed one of them to eat cranberries out of my hand - then followed up with huge dose of hand sanitizer. 

No Isabelle, I'm not bringing one home.

- Daddy


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