A typical day

Trip Start Sep 28, 2005
Trip End Jun 24, 2006

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

A typical day

6:45am Rise and Shine! Grab our toiletries and head down the hall to the common baths.

7:10am Shefarmo the cook wildly rings a bell down the hall for us to come-and-get-it.
About a dozen of us are served fruit, porridge, waffles and watered down syrup. It's interesting meeting other folks who are on the mission field, some short-term like us, others have been here for decades at remote outposts, and are just visiting the city for a few days. They range from church planters, to medical personnel, to Bible teachers, to construction experts.

7:45am We leave the gates of the guest house complex and head down the hill. First we pass a family fruit stand with bananas and oranges. Along the sidewalk we see a few mounds of tattered cloth and plastic with a foot or head sticking out from under them. While they are still sleeping we leave snack food and our leftover water bottles by their heads. Further down there is a family of 5 climbing in the big trash container to see what they can salvage, so I give each of them lunch coupons for the feeding center at Hope (this is one of the many projects started and run by the office that we are working at). The family is very grateful and take them with both hands and a little bow of their head and shoulders. Then, the "skateboard man" whizzes down the hill past us. His legs are severely deformed so he gets around on a homemade skateboard contraption that he pushes with his hands. One day we saw him holding on to the back of a big bus for a free ride up the hill. Around the corner we pass a tiny park that sometimes has some sketching guys looking at us but we walk quickly by. For a short distance we walk on a rocky path that has been littered with some type of large animal bones, so we just step over the large vertebrae and other bones. Once we round the corner we head back uphill and pass shops and small business. After 12 minutes we reach the Hope office and the security guard greets us with a big smile and nod. He sits in a chair on the sidewalk most of the day watching the traffic go by. He is missing one leg but moves quickly with his crutches when he opens the door for us.

8:30am We each meet with Dr. Minas Hiruy, the President of Hope Enterprises. We were both impressed with Minas and Hope when we were here last year on a mission trip. Minas was educated in the US and is a very well respected man in this country. Back in 1991 he was even paid a surprise visit from Mother Teresa asking for assistance to care for some orphaned kids from her care facilities. Of course you can't turn down Mother Teresa and the organization took in these kids. (To learn more about Hope you will have to check out the website in a few weeks when Nathan is done). Anyway, Nathan reviewed with him the progress he has made on the pages for the website and gathering content. Anna reviewed the updates and changes she has made to the Manual of Procedures and the progress she has made on the "setting goals" training for management. We take his ideas and recommendations to keep us busy for the next few days.

10am It's tea time. Everyone in the country must be having tea or coffee at the same time. I walk over the pastry shop next door, order 2 teas, pay 2 Birr (about 23cents) then someone delivers it to our office on a tray.

Noon. Where did everyone go? Oh, it's lunch time and the office cleared out. We walk down the hill to Loyal Restaurant. Price wise it is one of the more upscale places in town (probably the country). It has a good selection and daily specials. Today I had filet steak with mushroom sauce, rice and veggies for 25Birr (about $2.75) and Nathan had lasagna for 19 Birr (about $2.25). We take our bread in our paper napkins and give it to a kid on the street; he runs and gives it to his mom who turns around, waves and smiles at us.

Work the rest of the afternoon. Nathan is on his little laptop that we have been traveling with (got to have some place to store all those great photos) and I am working on an old laptop that was donated by our church to the office. The office is an odd assortment of rooms and halls with different floors and levels pieced together. All of the staff here in the headquarters office have computers but there is just one dial-up internet line that is shared by all. English is one of the official languages (for those with formal education), so communication in the office is no problem.

4:50pm The office starts to pack up. We frantically pack up our computers and papers, so by 5:02pm we are the last ones out the door and they are closing and padlocking the gate behind us. This is certainly not like America where few dare to leave right at 5pm.

On our way back home we pass the shoe shine boys. They offer to shine our shoes but we are wearing tennis shoes and I give them a smiling laugh. We pass a few beggars. Often a mom sitting on the sidewalk will see us coming and nudge her kids to flock toward us. Often we just walk quickly past but if I have some food or lunch coupons we'll pass them out. Back up the hill there are some kids playing in an abandoned taxi and they yell out to me "taxi-taxi" and we both laugh.

5:30pm Dinner is served in the guesthouse. The food is typical camp food, except in Ethiopia the main meal is at lunch, so dinner is light.

After dinner we head down to the laundry room and pick up our freshly washed and pressed clothes that we left for them this morning. This great service is included in our $10 pp /night rate. We rarely go out after dark (6:30pm) so we play games or talk with other folks, watch TV or one of the old 80's movies they have, or just read in our room. Coming from Silicon Valley I first found it boring not having anything to do from 6-10pm, but now we are getting used to the relaxing lifestyle.

9pm. The club next door starts rocking. We get to listen to "Country Roads" in Techno and some old top 40 songs. Over the first few days we got used to it and now we can sleep through it.

10:30pm. The end of another day. We're actually getting used to "living" here. Plus we haven't had to pack/unpack suitcases for almost 2 weeks now!
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