So many people have been asking me about Garbage City lately so I thought I'd compile all the updates and answers into one post.
Many of you know that I was in Ethiopia in for my DTS outreach in January-March of 2009. In this time we established the children's home by rescuing the first child at Drawn From Water
In the last few weeks of our outreach after trying time and time again to get into the garbage dump we finally succeeded - though not without a couple tiresome attempts that ended a few of our guys from our team in jail (more about this in our book).
In the few days we had there I was able to visit the boys and girls in their "home" and experience first hand their living situation. It's hard to describe the feeling (and the smells) without thinking about any family member of my own living in these situations - it's rough, and it's not fair. Which is why we had to do something. In these few days we joined the gang in games that involved dancing (my favorite), Bible study with a little help from our Ethiopian friend Abdissa (also featured in our book), and ate TONS injera (my other favorite :) at a picnic/Bible study we hosted one day.
Before, everyday a group of young girls from the slums would work and labor in the trash after school to find things to sell just to make ends meat for their families. In our time there we gained relationships with each of them. We wanted to follow through with our promise of keeping in contact with them - but more than that we wanted to help them out. Many tourists come through year after year telling them that they would help. But they never return. We could not do this to these young people again.
In November 2009 we established a "T-Shirt House" (yes, this needs a better name) thanks to the influence of artists on the outreach team at the time. Our group trained the girls how to sew and they thought of designs for t-shirts that portrayed their thoughts in working in trash. Now instead of going to the dump everyday, the girls come to our home to sew t-shirts and learn other crafts. So far they have made over 100 shirts that we will be selling on tour.
Everyday the girls come to our home after school to sew for 2 hours or so. The home is also a place for them to have a warm shower or cook a big meal - things they can't get at home. On the weekdays when a translator is not available we teach English and cook tons of injera and coffee (traditional Ethiopian food and drink mmmmm). On Saturdays or when a translator is available we have a Bible study and can talk more with the girls about their dreams and aspirations. Currently we are implementing several programs to help the whole group. We want to employ an English teacher to lead the whole group through an intensive English course so that we can communicate without a translator.
Since we started working with the girls, 8 have given their lives to Jesus. It's so amazing to hear about these changes that have come in these girls lives' since we met them. Through our discipleship, I hope that each one of them gets a chance to go deeper in their relationship with God. Maybe we will get to see them in a discipleship training school at our own base and can send them off the disciple others!
For the future, members from Pick a Pocket will be rotating out of the house making sure the girls are safe and the house is running. We hope that by the end of this year every member of Pick a Pocket will have had the chance to live in the house for a few weeks and meet the girls. We ask for your prayers for finances to make this possible. I personally would LOVE to go back to Ethiopia and start a documentary on the house. Possible news about this later :) ....
The girls in their new life:
[photo by Taylor Pool]
Here in Herrnhut, another team is preparing to go and help the men and boys reintegrate into society. Since we heard about Brahano’s dream to build a chicken farm, the staff began to look after chickens to gain some experience. We want to see this chicken farm become a reality. Providing guidance and assistance to the men, we hope to see them take advantage of the opportunities we are offering them.