Today was the most frustrating day of the trip so far. We should have left the Guest House at 9:00 am. The group split into three groups to visit 3 different orphanages. The first two groups left a little after nine, but our bus never showed. Finally one of the guys who worked at the guest house called someone else to pick us up. We finally left around 10:00. Then, the driver had no idea where we were going so we were driving through Addis, usually behind big busses with exhaust flowing into our van, for about an hour. After getting lost on several occasions we finally made it to Kids Care. Our reception was not exactly warm and I felt that we were in the way. We didn’t really even get a tour, we just wandered around looking for kids. I finally found the school aged kids. 30 of them were crammed into a room about a fourth the size of one of our Fowler School classrooms. There was about enough room to walk between the tables, but that was it! We handed out some bracelets and necklaces and suckers and some of the group tried to color, but there was just no room!! The staff made a coffee ceremony for us, then we were off. I’m kind of glad we got there late, I didn’t really want to be in their way any longer than I already was!
We stopped at the Hilton and had a nice American style lunch in the courtyard. We did some shopping (most of the stores were closed for lunch when we got there – lunch break being from 12:00 – 4:00, now THAT is a lunch break).
Next we headed to Mother Theresa’s HIV Orphanage. It was another hour or more drive through the city. We all had headaches from the car fumes and pollution by the time we got there. Kari went with one of the workers to talk to the nuns about our tour. We found out they had no idea we were coming and they had another group already there, and they didn’t really want another big group there at the same time. One of the other sisters said that since we were there, we should be able to stay. So we had a nun argument on our hands. We ended up getting a tour, but it wasn’t really what we wanted. There were over 400 kids at this orphanage, all infected with HIV. One poor little girl, Senait, wanted love so badly. She would hang on us and kiss on us, but had sores all over her body and her ear was bleeding. It was so hard to love on her, knowing that she had HIV and open sores. It was heartbreaking. She did nothing to deserve this disease, and she, along with all those other kids are outcasts from society. The spirit of this place was also very hopeless. Most of the places we visited were full of hope and joy and Jesus. I just didn’t feel that here. The staff seemed very cold to the kids (now, the sisters I saw interacting with the kids were very kind). Keep in mind, we were only there for a short time, I have no right to say anything bad about the staff, I really was not there long enough to judge them. All I can do is compare it to Korah dump and Canaan’s and the spirit was not loving like it was in those homes.
I cried for the first time on this trip when we left that place. I felt we wasted our time there because we didn’t have time to interact with the kids or to contribute anything. We left some donations, but really didn’t have the opportunity to minister to or love the kids. I felt like we were abandoning them.
For the evening we went to our first Ethiopian Restaurant. I was so sad, and even sick, about leaving the HIV orphanage, I didn’t even want to eat. We all talked about the day and how frustrating it was and we all vented some of the emotions we were feeling. By the time the food arrived we were all feeling a little better, and the food was Amazing!! We even watched some Ethiopian dancers. One of them reminded me a lot of Tem! So, the day ended well, but it will be a day I will not forget.