Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trees of Glory

Wednesday afternoon...
Yesterday I told y'all about the throngs of people who covered the roads on our trip to Hawassa. Some were obviously headed to or from market, some were herding goats and cows; some it was difficult to determine what their goal was. But today, I did learn another possible reason for what seems to be an endless amount of walking. Drop in centers are not uncommon here in Ethiopia. And that is where we are headed this afternoon - to a place called Trees of Glory. I'm writing this on the way there so I can't truly describe it yet, but it sounds like a combination between a daycare center and the Boys and Girls Club. It's a safe place for kids who are at risk (ummm, I think that's most kids in Ethiopia) to go on a daily basis for shelter, food and education. David & Shanna sponsor a little boy there, so we are going to meet him and take him a care package.


Later that same day...

So today was simply a fabulous day. The drive to Trees of Glory took about an hour and a half. I'm not really sure what direction we drove, but we did drive out of Addis into the mountains. Like our drive to Hawassa, any pictures I did take won't really do it justice. It was extremely lush and beautiful. Even thought the sky was overcast with rain off and on, I think that contributed to the beauty. As we drove out of town, the first few miles reminded me of the Great Smoky Mountains. Eventually the trees became less numerous and faded into open meadows populated with typical Ethiopian homes and storefronts. Maybe because the drive wasn't as long as yesterday's, or because it was in a different part of the country, but it didn't seem like there were quite as many people here.
Trees of Glory is not just a drop in center, it is also a school and an orphanage. There are some children who have been orphaned so they obviously live there. But, there are also dozens of children who walk many miles each day to go to school, learn about God, get a couple of meals each day, have a safe place to hang out, and just be a kid. To learn more about this agency, please visit http://www.hopechest.org/trees-of-glory/.

We were immediately greeted by the lady in charge of Trees of Glory. She ushered us into an all-purpose room and with her was the young boy David & Shanna are sponsoring. He was such a cute boy, about 10 years old. He had such a serious, quiet look about him and there was a sadness in his eyes. He does still have a family, but apparently, they struggle, so everyday he walks approximately 40 minutes from his home to the school. We brought him a care package filled with school supplies and 3 new shirts. He was pretty excited; in fact I think he put on 2 of the shirts right away...one on top of the other. Even if there hadn't been a language barrier, I don't know that he would have said much. I think it was pretty overwhelming for him. We had also brought with us a care package for another little boy from another family. Still a language barrier, but this boy had quite an infectious little grin. The two settled in next to Shanna and Mussee to look at some pictures. They all looked so stinkin' precious! At about this time that I was really thankful for my brother and his dry sense of humor (as well as his ability to pick on me). This will surprise many of you, but I was ready to lose it. Those two boys who have pretty much nothing were so sweet, loving and well-mannered, not to mention they were so appreciative of us spending time with them. I turned to my brother and told him to start picking on me, knowing that would allow me to keep it together. He must have been storing up some thoughts about my hair because he didn't miss a beat.

Not only were the boys grateful, but a handful of adults took time out of their day to visit with us. We were blessed with a coffee ceremony; coffee beans were roasted and ground in front of us. When the coffee had boiled, she added it to fresh milk. With a side of popcorn, it was the perfect snack for a rainy afternoon. We were also treated to injera and cabbage prepared two different ways. Defintely interesting and I'm glad I tried it, but not sure that injera will be breaking my top 10 favorite foods.

Before we we left for Addis, we toured the compound. I think I might have to save that experience for another day. Pictures are definitely a part of the story and it is a story all by itself. Until next time...

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