Friday, March 2- After the long trip halfway around the world my “clock” has been off, sometimes thinking it is the wrong day. After a very emotionally moving day yesterday seeing the most poverty stricken areas in the world, I have finally caught up with a good night’s sleep last night and awoke this morning while it was still dark. I got up and went outside to see the constellation Southern Cross with the help of the P-Universe app on my iPhone, then took a vigorous walk and a cool dip in the pool. My shower in my room isn’t working, so I am having to get up before dawn and take a cover swim and the pool and shower poolside. (The pool doesn’t open until 9 a.m. and I got busted by one of the Hotel’s guards rendering an AK47. I returned to my room an got dressed and left to join our team for breakfast. I heard noise on the roof figuring it was birds. Not. A tail was hanging over the roof when I went outside to go to breakfast, then it disappeared only to see a Monkeys face looking at me.
There were several of these species diving through the trees playing and eating fruits. I proceeded to the breakfast buffet and went out on the 2nd floor outside porch only to see Jon Cash get a piece of french toast stolen by one of the bandits. I proceeded to eat and one jumped down to attempt to steal my banana. I shooed it away, and then saw one jump down on the rail near Brittney Shommer. Guess what? Another species showed up!
The first one trying to steal Brittney’s breakfast came back and she too shooed it away and it hissed at her and jumped back in to the tree. Suddenly it was back to take her banana and while it was doing so knocked her breakfast on to the floor and broke the plate. We proceeded inside to get away from the rascals. I completed breakfast with Pastor Chuck Wysong from Bayside church and Tamiru Chewaka- our Ethiopian tour guide and coordinator, who picked us up at the airport Wednesday and has been a faithful servant since, who finally was able to interpret Chuck and I requesting coffee and hot water for tea successfully. Love you Tamiru, one of the most genuine, loving persons I’ve ever met, his calmness being contagious. We all wanted to see some indigenous African animals, and in addition to the Camels on yesterday got a bonus this morning.
We loaded the Land Rover and SUV and headed to the Shone Area Development Project that began 21 years ago. It is a “mature” ADP and is in its phase out period where the local community will take over all aspects of the project. We wanted to see the end result of what we are only in year 2 of our sponsored ADP in Abaya to see if it made a difference. It was a little over a 1.5 hour drive in the rugged mountains East of Awassa which is where we are staying each night. We stopped to meet Samuel Girma, the ADP’s Program Coordinator to get an orientation on the results of the project. HIV/AIDS, open deprecation and water born diseases have almost completely diminished since the project began in 1990, and children’s literacy has increased from 16% to 90%. Samuel even gave us t-shirts depicting instructions to breast feed babies to an age of 6 months, then begin substituting with food, written in Amharic. After the orientation, we headed directly up to the clean water project where water is pumped from a well 8 miles up the mountain, then 8 pipes spread out downhill and the water is released via gravity to numerous locations. This project was one 1 million dollars and was funded by the Hilton Foundation. When we arrived there were over 100 locals washing their clothes in the overflow creek, and others filling their large containers to take home. We were smothered with joyful Shone residents thinking we were responsible for the project since we were with World Vision. I walked down to where the pipe releases the overflow into the creek to see the quality of the water. Meanwhile the remaining members of the team were also respectively mobbed. This project provides clean water for over 45,000 Shone residents and has improved their health, and quality of life, reducing miles walked to fetch water. When we finished our site survey I began to return to the SUV and was again circled by young children. I think they thought I was Mr. Hilton…
Then we headed down the hill to see farmer Elias Magabo who worked for the government that was overthrown 20 years ago and lost his job. He lost his identity and needed a new career. He studied Agriculture and began organic sustainable farming on his land. World Vision noticed his efficiency and faith in Christ and since has been utilizing his talents and ministry to help others in the ADP. Elias provided us an overview of his best practices, talked about micro organisms, and gave us a tour of his banana, coffee, avocado and many other marketable fruits and agriculture grown on his farm that takes very little water, then invited us in his mud home and gave us a sample of avocado, barley and bananas. Elias is an incredible servant of Christ and asked us all to pray for rain, as it has been August since he has received any measurable amount. I verified this during the tour, by digging in to the rich Ethiopian soil with my hand, which was bone dry. I pray for Elias and for rain.
Our tour guide during the day was the ADP Program Coordinator Samuel Girma. He invited us back to the ADP office for an authentic Ethiopian lunch. It was an outstanding serving of spicy delicacy and fellowship with the ADP employees and community coordinators. Finally we headed further down the hill to a community of Muslim and Christians that have defined a way to live together to work to manage over 250 orphans who were left homeless due to their parents being struck down by AIDS. This communion of different religions serve by working in harmony for the best of the community. A Muslim and Christian member of their committee both spoke, then Pastor Jim Zazzera prayed for sustained work together and for this to being realized globally. We were surrounded by handshakes and hugs by all the Elders from both religions and the orphans and women.
My final observation for the day was to remember the vast poverty in the area we passed through in remote Ethiopia yesterday, noting I didn’t see anyone over the age of around 50. However, in the Shone ADP, I witnessed many elderly members of the community still active thanks to the World Vision project that began over 20 years ago, changing their way of life and adding decades to their lifespan. YES, ADP’s are truly a worthy investment in these remote locations in the world, and our Faith covenant with the Abaya ADP is a worthy and responsible way of having God work through our support. If you don’t already support the ADP, or have a sponsored child in the ADP, I ask you to prayerfully consider doing so by contacting Faith Mission Elder Rudy Buehler, or sponsor a child through Donna Touros.
After a long day, we returned to our home base at the Lewi Hotel and Resort in Awassa. The day ended with dinner and devotion led by Pastor Jim.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we will visit our Faith sponsored Abaya ADP, learn more about it’s people, visit the Faith sponsored clean water project, school and sponsored children. I look forward to visiting my sponsored child- Zinabua Morona.
Please pray for rain in the Horn of Africa, our World Vision Ethiopian coordinator Tamiru Chewaka, Samuel Girma, Elias Magabo, the Muslim/Christian community in the Shone ADP and globally, Andy Smith and the Faith and Bayside Vision team, that God would continue to meet us here, and for our health and safety.
In Peace of Christ.