Monday, October 25, 2010

The sun is setting over Addis. Tonight the birds are chirping at full force. It’s chilly here. The days are full of sunshine and the nights are cool at best. The breeze sends chills down your spine as it cools down your hot tea you've been sipping the past 30 minutes. It is one of my last evenings here and all will surely be missed. I've made so many new friends in this time - and the time I had went by all too quickly. There were so many photos I didn't take, so many coffee ceremonies I had to forego, and way too many conversations that never too place.

I feel sorry for this place in a way. I feel like I could teach the people so much. For the most part even the educated only know what lies in the realm of Addis Ababa. Their geography books fail even to mention other cities in their own country. Their idea of current events is what futbal team is playing this evening or what Orthodox Minister is preaching this week. They have no context for other countries, other centuries, even their own history seems skewed.

Soon I will be back in the West. Something I am not too excited about, but words cannot describe the joy I get when thinking about seeing my family and friends in Nashville again. It’s a place so far from here, yet all too close to my heart. I love every single one of you in Tennessee and I cannot wait to share all my experiences with you in the short time we'll have together.

Tomorrow will be my last day to see the girls for possibly a year or more. Who knows when I will return again? Kosche and all those indwelling will be missed but thought of greatly. To one last day of banana bread, silly dances, and LOUD VOICES... cheers!

This is the loudest and toughest of them all – Kumel. Quite frankly, the girl scares me. She’s a tough cookie, but in the past few days I’ve really been able to get to her softer side. She has a great heart, but sometimes hides under a tough exterior from all the problems in her life. The only portrait I've taken and really liked.

I found this guy near Kosche wearing one of the shirts the girls’ made. Come to find out, he is Kumel’s brother, Abtamo. I had a chance to sit down with him to hear what he thinks of his situation and the girls’ program. He really appreciates all the support we provide for the girls. He said the best part is that they don’t have to return to the dangers of the trash place, but it has also become a struggle for their family. The girls don’t bring in as much income as before and the families are seeing this hardship first hand. Sometimes food is short or rent cannot be paid. Abtamo just passed his driving test and obtained his license. He is searching for a job to help provide for his family, but it’s hard to find work if “you don’t know people”.

We are hoping to find sponsors for all 14 of the girls (yes, we just took in a new one!) which will help to fund all of their school needs, rent (for our house which plays host to the afterschool program), snacks, a small amount to take home, and possible job training for the parents. We really want the girls to be able to focus on their studies during such a pivotal time as this – their early and late teens. Bancheyew has already started a college-prep program and we’d love to see her advance into University. Bancheyew is very interested in graphic design. But to do this, we need sponsors for all the girls to ensure they don’t return to working in Kosche and can survive off of what we can give them until their family’s income is sufficient.

Please let me know if you are interested in become a monthly sponsor for a girl and I can send you more information!
Goodbye Africa. Goodbye Ethiopia.

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