Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Entoto Mountain and Hope for the Hopeles

We got up this morning and packed up almost all of our donations. We knew we would be using a large percentage of them today! Then it was off on a journey to Entoto Mountain.  We saw a huge part of the city today and the people watching was great. 

Entoto Mountain is the highest part of Addis Ababa, sitting at over 10,000 ft above sea level!  It is considered a sacred mountain and many believe it holds healing water.  It is also covered in Eucalyptus trees! 


The views from the top were incredible!

I will delve more into detail about the woman who work on the mountain later on this week when we return, but as we journeyed up the mountain, you would see woman carrying very large and unbelievably heavy bundles down the mountain.  The woman travel over 20 miles with these branches of Eucalyptus trees on their backs to earn less than $1 a day.  This is no easy task even for a man, and yet these woman carry this burden every day. 

Once on the top of the beautiful mountain, we got to learn about a really cool organization that is helping these woman and the local community up there.  The man who started this organization is named Mesfin.  A lot of his programs are still fairly new but this man has passion and has so many great ideas to help his community.  He has a teacher, teaching these woman with the branches how to make pottery in hopes that eventually this business will sustain them and they won’t have to walk down the mountain with unbelievably heavy loads on their backs.  He also runs a feeding program for the children and is also advocating for family sponsorships (much like Korah, at $50 a month).  He was also pleased to share with us that he just got approval from the government to build a medical clinic and get water up to the community.  He has a lot of passion but just needs a little help from others to see his plans come to fruition.  

The mountain community

                                       The pottery the woman are learning to make!

                                   We were told this was part of making scarves

 After our time on the mountain, we went to lunch and then trekked out the countryside a bit to see the Hope for the Hopeless kids at boarding school.

Let me tell you a little bit about the amazing organization that is Hope for the Hopeless!  H4H is an organization that works to help get children who live on the streets off the streets and in to school.  When they are able to take a child in from the streets they send them to their “in-take” center which we will visit tomorrow.  The intake center works very hard with these kids to rehabilitate them from a life on the streets.  After the kids are doing well again, they will go off to one of the other two H4H locations.  The process of rehabilitation can take several years before they can go to one of the other locations.  We have no idea how Hope for the Hopeless is able to transform these kids (the kids say it is all Jesus in their lives) but they do something amazing with all of these kids in their program!  

This young man is an amazingly talented artist.  He free hands all of his designs.  Kelly had asked him to come up with some new designs for OH that she can use for a new t-shirt. I'm not sure she is going to be able to choose just one.  All of them were incredible!  

The kids from H4H have been very blessed through donations and Kelly thought it would be great to give them an opportunity to serve others.  Apparently there is a large group of children who always stand outside the gates when a team comes to visit the kids at H4H.  These children were in desperate need of some new clothing.  So we packed up all of our clothing and took it with us and then explained to all of the children from H4H that they were going to help clean up and dress these children from outside the gates!  The kids lit up and truly enjoyed getting to serve others and it was very awesome for us to get to watch!  

Apparently this is what the neighborhood kids do every time a visitor is at H4H.

            Inside the gates they came! It was so great seeing the kids serve others and to see how excited they were to get to help! Seriously, the SWEETEST kids!

 After all the neighborhood kids were clothed, it was time to enjoy hanging out with the kids!

I can’t explain how it felt as we spent this afternoon with these kids from H4H.  The situations these young men and woman have been in are impossible to even think of.  They spent years of their lives alone fending for themselves on the streets.  The odds they have overcome and the love that just pours out of them is incredible!  They are very kind, smart, helpful, mature, and just genuinely the sweetest young people we have ever met. Peter and I both just felt this huge outpouring of love for these kids. They have been through things that we could never even fathom and yet are full of God’s love!  When you are around them, there is just no other word to describe it but love!

Before we left, some of the team came into contact with a young man there who is struggling in school.  He asked for prayer because in May he has to take the national exam.  He is in 10th grade and if he doesn't pass he will be done with school, which also means he will not be able to stay at H4H anymore.  He is very scared.  The team prayed for him and I know he would appreciate more prayers.

We’ve been to Ethiopia before and it’s a country that we love.  We’re being stretched and moved to action.  Spending this time here and learning more and meeting more people we are falling head over heels in love with this place!  There is beauty and genuine joy everywhere!