Carole has a cold.  The poor kid – she’s pretty sick.  Normally she and Sandy teach ‘Spoken English’ at a local private school here in Burayu.  They teach four classes each.  Sandy teaches 1st – 4th grade and Carole teaches 5th – 8th grade.   Since Carole was sick we volunteered to teach the classes for her.  The directors of the school are a couple named Samson and Enat.  They are really nice people and we’ve spent quite a bit of time visiting with them.  They were really happy that we could help out.  So we got up Tuesday morning and put on our nice ‘teacher’ type clothes and headed to school.  The school is about three or four blocks away from the house so it’s an easy walk. 

We were greeted warmly and visited a few minutes with what I think was probably the principal.  BTW I didn’t bring my camera on this little adventure.  I saw Carole’s blog about her first day at the school and didn’t want to be mobbed by the children wanting their pictures taken.  Anyways, we were escorted to our first classes – Guy to his and me to mine.  I have to tell you I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured I’m just the substitute so even if I was really lame at it – no matter.  I was pretty lame at it too:)  But I had fun and just tried to help them pronounce a few words correctly.  Pronounication is challenging for the kids here.  They cannot make the “th” sound and they like to roll their r’s. 

What I learned by going to the school is that kids are kids no matter where they live.  I cannot imagine anyone choosing to be a teacher for 4th or 5th grade.  These people have to have a screw loose or they simply like living on the edge of insanity!  The little kids, for me, where a lot of fun; but when I got to those 4th graders…..  yikes!!  They don’t sit in their sits quietly – they stand and shout and talk and do all kinds of other things that they shouldn’t be doing and there is no stopping them.  Guy had the same experience with his 5th grade class.  He said it was like they were on ‘kid steroids’.  Whatever it is that makes a kid a kid they had in multiples!!

We got through it and laughed ourselves silly all the way home sharing stories of the kids in each class.  And this was only the beginning of the day…..

When we got home Carole told us that Pastor Emmanuel had been by and that we had ‘a program’ for the afternoon.  In Ethiopia “a program” is your plans or your itinerary.  So the program was that Emmanuel would pick us up and we were going to walk to some of the GGI kids’ homes for a visit.  Carole quickly got dressed and put together some small care packages for each child that we’d be visiting.  Pastor Emmanuel arrived and off we went.  It was about 1:30.


First we walked to the main road and we hopped in a mini bus that took us to the outskirts of Burayu.  We hopped out and hiked a pretty good hill to get to one of the children’s homes.  It was a very brief and uncomfortable visit.  The parents (who are both HIV positive) weren’t home but the child’s aunt was.  She was shell shocked at seeing so many white people in their tiny little room they called home.  Through translation Pastor Emmanuel told us the she said she wants us to leave in 10 seconds!  Poor thing – she was so scared and we only wanted to visit the child’s home and bring him a small gift.  Carole is so good at all this and she sped the gifting along and we headed out and on the way out she gave the aunt some money and by the time we got to the gate she had a smile on her face.

We took the mini bus to this part of town, but we ended up walking back to town.  I gotta tell you these people walk A LOT!!  No matter – we’re just along for the experience.  Next home was right in town and Carole told us that the mother of this child bakes very delicious bread, but her shop was removed for new construction and she wasn’t sure how she was going to make an income now.  We went up this little alley and the newly constructed homes looked like mini storage units in America.  I asked Carole, “these are residences??!”  When we got to the last unit we found the child’s mother walking up with a hack saw.  She has accidently locked her keys in the house and they were going to have to cut the locks to the “windows” which were steel panels with two dead bolt locks keeping them closed. 

Locks removed, we were invited inside and offered a soda.  This lady was so kind and sweet and loving.  We really enjoyed our visit with her.  When Carole explained how much she enjoyed her bread she brought out two wedges for us to eat.  We really weren’t hungry but we had to accept it.  Our hands were dirty and I really didn’t want to touch the bread, but we were pretty stuck.  We didn’t stay long and left the child’s gift with her.  Hugs and hand shakes and shoulder bumps and we were on to the next home.

This home was also in town.  We entered a gate between some shops and visited the grandmother of one of the kids.  She too was very loving and kind and gracious to us.  She keeps cows – mind you, this is right in downtown Burayu.  When Carole asked where the cows where she said they were out grazing.  “Grazing!??!”, I wondered.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but oh well.  It’s not unusual to see cows wondering around town.

Now the adventure really begins…. I know, I know, but if you’ve made it this far just keep reading:)  We were supposed to have a driver to take us to the next few homes, but the driver called and said he ‘couldn’t find fuel’.  So Pastor Emmanuel told us we would take a budgej (sp??).  It’s just one of the little three wheeled carts.  So we all crammed in – 3 girls in the back seat and 3 boys (including the driver) in the front seat – (kind of half hanging out the sides:) and off we went.  We drove out of town into the more rural parts.  It was a pretty long drive – maybe 20 – 30 minutes (that’s a long time in a budgej). 

When we got to our destination no one was home, but Emmanuel had to comb the neighborhood a little just to see if we could find the party we were seeking.  So we stopped at another home and attracted lots of attention from the neighbors who came over to see what was going on.  Lots of hand shaking and should bumping and speaking in Oromofina and no one knew where our person was at. So we pile back into the budgej and drove some more.

The budgej stops on the side of the highway, seemily in the middle of no where and we pile out?!  Ok.  We walk up the road about a 1/4 mile ( I totally don’t know why we didn’t just drive up the road a little further??) and we visit the home of one of Guys favorite kids – Misyeal (sp?) – it’s pronounced ‘missile’.  It was kind of like a country farm, but when we went in their home there were no windows and no lights.  So the home is completely dark!  At first we couldn’t even see the chairs they were telling us to sit in.  We visited and learned that Misyeal’s older brother, who was there, was going to University in Addis.  He was in his 2nd year studying civil engineering.  I was blown away!  These people live in a dark home with no power – with NOTHING and yet they managed to send their son to University.  The mother glowed with pride.  It was amazing.

Now by this time the budgej was gone and off we went on foot – again.  We crossed a field and then followed the highway for a long ways – man!  these people walk a lot!!  Then came to another town.  Here we visited Busiyu.  She is one of the GGI kids.  She’s actually about 18.  When we entered their gate we saw the peppers drying that they make berebere from (it’s a powdered pepper that they put in EVERYTHING here).  The mother greeted us from her “kitchen”.  She was making injera (the spongy, pancake bread).  She had a stack of probably 60 already made.  We learned that she had been cooking since 7am – it was probably 4 or 5 by now. 

After a bit of visiting she explained to Pastor Emmanuel that the landlord of her mud house told her that he wanted to remodel and that she could either move or pay more for rent.  It was unbelievable to me.  You would not believe what this “house” was like.  The notion of remodeling, to us, was so bizarre my mind really couldn’t wrap around it.  Guy gave her 200 birr which is a little more than $20.  This was more than one month’s rent for her and she praised the Lord.  The spirit was strong and this was the most moving visit we had had so far. 

By this time Carole was pretty spent from having a cold and doing all this work so she told Emmanuel that we needed to go home.  We stood by the highway waiting for a mini bus, but everytime one came by it was full.  Now when I say full……  Oh my goodness….  you cannot believe how many people they cram into these mini busses!!  When one stops and people get off it looks like a circus act – I am not kidding!!  Anyways – no mini bus for us, but we did manage to fit on a bigger bus, standing up.  We traveled a long ways standing in the middle of this bus with all these beautiful Ethiopians starrring at the mess of white people that just invaded their bus.  What an experience!  Then we got off the bus, walked some more, got on a budgej, got off at the edge of town, walked some more……  stopped at a cafe for a quick machiatto (coffee) and finally walked the rest of the way home. 

It was about 6 or 7 by the time we got home.  Mind you, there was no water all day and no rest stops either and we had shaken probably 30 or 40 people’s hands along the way.  Can you imagine – wash hands, pee, drink water…..!!!!……  And then we realized how hungry we were!

We cooked some hamburger and had tacos with the flour tortillas we brought for Carole and Sandy.  We had previously cancelled some dinner plans we made with Samson and Enat because Carole was sick, but as we were just finishing eating at about 8 o’clock who arrives but Samson and Enat and their two children…..  I don’t know if there was a misunderstanding or if they understood dinner was cancelled but still wanted to visit..>???? no matter.  Anyways the men talked and Carole finally excused herself to collapse in bed and I tried to visit with Enat (very broken English) and I played with their kids a bit.  Next thing you know it’s 10 o’clock!! 

What a day!!!  I am so exhausted!!