It was one of those days yesterday. The night before, the water pressure at our house was the highest it’s been in months. I was excited to have a shower that felt like it should. My hair was actually getting rinsed for the first time in a long time. The water pressure where we live varies according to use around the city as well as other things, I guess. Usually on Sunday mornings there is no water – I assume because most people are home on that morning trying to use water, instead of crammed into a blue minibus headed to work. When I woke up the next morning, the ground floor of our house was completely flooded. The plumbing was ok at the low water pressure our house has had lately, but the sudden pressure change cause a leak to spring up somewhere and it sprayed water out all night long. You know it’s bad when there is a stream coming out your front door. We have a large area rug downstairs – dripping wet. We had to get help to carry it outside, it was so weighed down with water. I spent the next several hours soaking up water with every towel we own, including from the carpet. The upside of that is the carpet is cleaner than it has been for a year! So maybe it was all worth it…
Then I got a call from a friend – could I come and meet with her and plan a medical clinic we are doing later this week for a new children’s home that is starting up? I piled up all the kids in the car (Chris had a four-hour lecture to prepare for that he was giving later in the day and I wanted to give him a quiet house). The home is situated next to the Addis city dump. The dump is huge – several city blocks long, with literally mountains of garbage. In Puyallup, Washington, where we are from, we have something similar, but the garbage is processed and buried, and the dump looks like nice grass-covered rolling hills. However, in Addis it is all garbage heaped on garbage, with a large cloud of dust covering that area of the city and a flock of vultures circling over it constantly. Whenever we happen to drive past, you can see people walking over those mountains of garbage, looking for things to eat or sell. That is not an easy life, and it is not a safe one, either. The area of town is dangerous, and there is disease in all that garbage, too. One friend of mine’s sister was raped and contrived HIV as a young girl as she helped her mother make a living from that pile of refuse.
The new program at children’s home that I am helping with has attracted hundreds of kids. They will get clean food, education, and Bible teaching at this home. Driving to the place was a nightmare, and I wondered why I brought my kids in this two-wheel drive vehicle down these nearly impassible streets? We had to pick up a stranger (who came from my friend’s church, though, so we knew he was safe) in order to navigate the way to the home. As we drove deeper into this neighborhood, I was struck by the poverty, even compared to other parts of Addis. The surroundings weren’t reflected in the faces of the people that lived there, however. They were friendly and gracious. The kids at the home were happy to be together, learning God’s word and doing something good together. Chris didn’t think we could help with this project – we were both doing too much – but even my kids couldn’t resist the place. So instead of saying “no,” we are going to do it as a family and make it family time. When it was almost time to leave, I was rushing through a planning meeting with my friend, and my son said, “Mom, Mom!” I said “What – I’m trying to hurry!” thinking he was bugging me to get going. “Mom, look at this girl’s t-shirt!”
Weird – Mel Korum YMCA – the very YMCA that was our family’s second home for the past 10 years before coming here. We swam, did gymnastics, basketball, soccer, summer camps, daily work-outs, everything. Blows our mind to think how that t-shirt made it to this little girl this day. One little girl, pictured below, followed us around the whole time we were there. But she wouldn’t say a word to me – wouldn’t even tell me her name. As I and my kids climbed into the car, my little girl said, “Mom, that little girl’s name is Kita. She would only tell me – she told me after you left.”
Sometimes we know we were meant to do something.
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. – Ephesions 2:10
Originally posted at: http://ethiopia.thebernards.org/2012/12/30/mixed-blessings/.