Hi everyone!  So I had an inspiration for my blog post last night and decided since our time is coming to a close here, we needed a recap of the Ethiopian and African experience.  The acronym “TIA” is said all the time here meaning “This Is Africa”.  I had to write them down because so many of these things just added to the joy and uniqueness of this experience.  Most have provided laughter for us during our time here.  The others are just a reflection of the beauty of the people of Ethiopia.

So, my TIA list:

–          The power could go out anytime for no apparent reason

–          Two men hold hands as a sign of friendship

–          There is no need for ladders; men climb power poles to fix them with hooked boots.  Crazy!

–          Herds of sheep wander all over the city.  Dinner anyone?

–          Donkeys are used to transport grain through the busy streets of Addis

–          You may or may not be trampled by a cow when walking through the streets, so watch yourself

–          Pedestrians do not have the right of way.

–          Ethiopians don’t seem to worry about specifics too much, i.e. adjectives: a monkey is a monkey, a spider is a spider (not black widows, spider monkies, etc….)

–          A restaurant order must be discussed at least 5 minutes before the order is clear

–          Ethiopia runs on injera (bread-like sourdough), wot (soup), and tibs (beef and sauce) …and strong coffee!

–          Busses and taxis are not full until people are hanging out the window

–          “Forenge” (foreigners, white people….us!) draw everyone’s attention

–          There are no lanes for traffic; whoever gets furthest into the intersection first gets to keep driving

–          There probably should be a video game named “Ethiopian Taxi”

–          Raw beef (tresega) with injera (of course) is the local delicacy

–          According to the Ethiopian calendar, it is 2004 (not 2012); so technically I am 21 years old again…yes!

–          Children will always meet you with the biggest smiles

–          An Ethiopian will give you his or her best without any regard for him or herself

–          Habasha people have no “bubble”; my American “bubble” decreases the longer I am here

–          Where else would you find a shop called “Nice Christain Butchery” ?

–          Knock off restaurants rule: Big Mak (McDonalds), In and Out Burger (the sign only, no actual restaurant), Kaldi’s Coffee (Starbuck’s plus burgers and fries), and Hut Pizza Hut

–          Goats and sheep ride in taxis, usually on the top or in the back.  When they bleat it might scare the life out of you!

I could go on and on, but just wanted to give you a taste.  There have been so many laughs associated with all of the above.  Also, the love, smiles, and warmth of the people here have created an unforgettable experience.

To update you on what is going on with our team: yesterday we were able to see Wendison (who you have heard about previously) and take him in his wheelchair on a walk throughout the neighborhood.  It was a seemingly small way to serve him and his family, but they were so appreciative for the time we took to do this.  And the joy it brought to him….everyone on our team who saw him from the first day until now noted how much more interactive and joyful he was yesterday.  He displayed a giant smile the entire walk.  It’s that joy that makes what we are doing here feel so worth it.

We finally broke out our spending money yesterday and took to the streets for a little (or in some cases a lot ) of souvenir shopping.  Noah was the bartering “ashenaffi” (champion); he was pretty fun to shop with although he did not usually get the prices he wanted.  It was a fun time.  We want to give many thanks to Josi for putting up with us and our crazy group through this!

As our time comes to a close in Addis, I have been trying to reflect on all of the things I have learned about God and myself through these experiences.  I think we all have been continually doing this throughout the trip; I know I have been, but I am trying to develop some take home points that I can share with every one of you back home.  I have definitely been shown how big God is, and that his love has no boundaries in contrast to the many boundaries that exist in our world.  I have become so much more aware of how I will manage all my resources at home since I am now overtly convinced I have way more in my life materially than I need to survive.  Possessions are just that, possessions.  They have no soul and no true worth.  At the same time I know that I have been given so much in my life for a reason, and having been here in Ethiopia I know I will forever be changed with how I use my money and time.  I also have a more real view of joy.  Joy is exemplified in the smile and laugh of a child here.  These children don’t let the worries of the world affect them; they just love God and love people.  This can be said of so many of the adults here, too.  I aspire to learn from them and be more like them.

Thank you all for your continued prayers, support, and encouragement.  Please pray for us for the last two days of the trip and for our safety on the trip home starting Tuesday night.

Love to you all,


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