We are halfway through our trip and what an adventure it’s been! Nothing is as humbling as getting sick. I woke up this morning to a pounding headache and a nauseous stomach, after trying to eat at least some breakfast I called it quits and asked to stay home for the day. Let’s just say it was a good thing I did.

Yesterday was the highlight of my trip, as I got to go visit my Compassion child! If you don’t know about Compassion, I highly recommend you look into it. Check it out here:

Nels and I decided to start sponsoring a child back in November. We picked Mekdes specifically because she lived in Ethiopia, so that when I went this summer I could go and visit her.

As the team was preparing to go to Ethiopia, we dedicated a day of our trip to visit Compassion children. Five of us on the team sponsor a Compassion child. My child lives in Meki, which is about a three hour drive south of Addis. So the morning of the 24th, Kirsten, Logan, Chuck, Saumara, Malea and myself loaded up into a 10 passenger van. The drive was fun being able to get away from the smog and rain of Addis. We headed to the plains of Africa and the heat.

Upon arrival, I got to meet Mekdes and give her a hug as well as her twin sister. They spoke no English. We proceeded to have a coffee ceremony which included popcorn and bread. I was given the honor of cutting the embasha bread (similar to cutting the first piece of wedding cake). I gave Mekdes her present which included nail polish, a water bottle, a back pack, and a solar flashlight/radio. I painted her and her sisters’ fingernails. We played games, which include an Ethiopian version of jump rope and hopscotch.

Abraham – our Compassion host – then took us to Mekdes’ home. Her home is located in a small community. They have a communal well, and a local mill where they grind maize. She lives in a mud hut 6ft by 12ft. Mekdes and her sisters as well as her parents all live in the house (5 people). They have one bookshelf and one corner is reserved for sleeping. Her father works in the flower beds (roses grow the best in Ethiopia) and her mother works by selling her own liquor. Their rent is 200 birr a month, which is equivalent to $10 a month. We had another coffee ceremony, and even though we knew the water was not bottled we participated anyway. Hence the upset stomach today. Mekdes then presented me with a gift, an embroidered shirt. There is a loss for words here. I was then able to pray over their family and their house.

Our fun part of the afternoon was then being able to take Mekdes, her sisters and her mother all out to lunch. We went to Ziway, which was about thirty minutes down the road. After lunch we walked out to the lake, and Mekdes and I held hands and skipped. The joy I felt is indescribable, it brings me to tears writing about it. We played Rock, Paper, Scissors and looked at the birds and petted the herds of cows we walked though.

We had to get back in the car and head back at that point, and Mekdes fell asleep on my shoulder. We dropped them off at their home and I received the biggest, tightest hug from the sweetest child I know. As we pulled away I couldn’t help but cry my eyes out.

To sponsor a child is only $38 a month. I hope you consider sponsoring, it will change your life as it has changed mine.

– Grace

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