Friday, June 18, 2010
I spoke with Zach and Katie today. Zach sounded great and said they taught guitar lessons today and it went REALLY well! They are teaching 4 guys who are leaders in the church.
The I talked with Katie who was very talkative! The bummer is she said her throat is beginning to hurt:( She's not sure if she's getting sick or if it is the bad pollution. De is coughing (sounds like asthma...dry) like his throat of lungs are irritated. I'm sure he is not sick by the way it sounds. I told him to take Katie's inhaler...so hopefully he will improve.
They were hoping to have someone take them shopping for some new work boots tonight. It seems that Katie's new shoes are falling apart and De's aren't too good either. They really needed work boots but chose not to bring them;) It has been raining every night so when they get to Korah, it is so muddy. Katie said it's like she's wearing around platform shoes. They when they go somewhere else, she doesn't have any decent shoes to wear. One of the church leaders, Mostie (who grew up in the dump) is planning on going with them to help them.
The kids spent the day again constructing mud huts, painting and building bunk beds. Katie said it is very hard work, but fun:)
She gave me the recipe for homemade paint and here it is.
They buy a block of something that looks like rubber tire material. At this point De chimes in that the black block is actually fried cow skin! Katie freaks out and now understands why it smells so, so bad! Anyway, they mix the fried cow skin in boiling water over a fire that De and Ismacho made. Once it melts, the cow fat floats to the top. Then they add the color packets (that they buy) and it makes a nice but watery paint. It doesn't smell once the color gets mixed in. She said it's nice paint to work with because if it gets on your clothes, you just scrape it off as it turns to powder.
She is also having fun with the material they use to smear on the mud walls. Katie says it looks and feels just like hummus and is fun to work with.
They are not officially starting the kids club until next week. There are still too many preparations to do. They are putting together classrooms for the kids who will be going to the boarding school.
The guys went today to Sammy's house to do a 'bench off' (weightlifting, that is!) Sammy has an "African style" weight bench. She said the guys are strong and Berhanu won with 200# benched! They met Sammy's mom and sister who also live with him. She said they were so sweet and friendly!
For some reason, Katie must be an easy name for the kids to remember and say because she said that as they pull up now everyday, the kids all come running calling, "KATIE, KATIE!!" Then they grab her hand and say, "How are you doing? I love you!" Even when they were a few blocks away from the church at Sammy's, kids were still seeing her and yelling, "Katie!" She said that it's funny to be known all over Korah!
They did get a toilet installed now in Korah! It is in a little hut and from what I can understand, the "toilet" is hooked up to a tube which runs out of the hut directly into the dirt. So the result is the same as those who live there and simply go outside...it's just the Americans get to do it in private! It all ends up in the dirt!
She has made a few very special connections. One is a girl, about 12 or 13 named Bayza. She is the one who is with her everyday, kissing her. She told her, "I am going home with you in your backpack" and she calls Katie "her sister". She is not an orphan and has a baby sister of her own. Katie really wants to sponsor this girl to go to the boarding school. She's praying about how to go about doing this and asking God if He would provide the $700 per year to do this.
But it's not only one child that she has connected with. It is 3! There is a boy, Habtamu who is about 12/13 who is so sweet and helpful. Then there is Robel, who is about 10. He is a great helper, winks at her all day and calls himself, "Katie's husband!"
Oh, how she wants these kids to have the opportunity to go to school!! If any of you feel led to sponsor one of them or another child, please let me know. She said, "Mom, I KNOW these kids and I want to help them!" Yep, that's one of the many benefits of a trip like this...the children are not numbers or simply names. They are your friends, real people with real hopes and dreams who need a hand up.
Katie reports that the pollution in Korah especially is absolutely horrible. She said when they were walking to Sammy's house, made a comment about it to De and also about the really bad smell. Biruk, their 16 year old translator told them, "What you are smelling is dead animals and dead things." When Katie and I were there before, we didn't notice any bad smell in Korah. But now that it's warmer, there is a strong and constant smell of feces and urine, and apparantly, death there.
She said that vultures are flying over Korah and the dump 24/7. The kids tap her and point to the sky and say, "Ooooohhh" in fear of them. She said that when you are in Addis Ababa you can always know which direction Korah and the dump is...look for the vultures and it is directly below. That makes me sad.
Tomorrow they are all going to the countryside or to the mountains to play with the kids there. They are bringing soccer balls, singing songs and playing games with them. Should be a wonderful day, once again to serve the underserved.
Thanks for your prayers and for reading this novel! Please pray for Katie with her throat and for De with his coughing and generally for safety for the whole team.
Also would you pray for those who live there in that pollution, day in and day out who cannot get away from it? Pray for the ones who live under the vultures.