Habtamu is one of Katie's special friends from Korah. I've shared pictures of him before. He now attends the boarding school in Sheshemene. Katie has a bond with him and still communicates with him through a friend there who has Facebook. She sent him a gift bag last fall with some presents and photos. Needless to say, he was really happy to see her when we showed up at the boarding school. The two of them were inseparable and she and De even went back to visit them the next Sunday with Sumer on her regular visit.
This is Habtamu's family - Dad, older brother Wendimu and his beautiful mother. Wendimu came to the clinic and stayed and visited with Katie and De all day. He came back the next time we were there. His English is great and he's a very sweet guy. He knew of the connection with Katie and his little brother and graciously invited all of us to his home to meet his parents, have coffee and to see that they still had the pictures Katie had sent to Habtamu.
We got permission from Sumer and off we went through the streets of Korah on our way to his home.
Always with children in tow.
Wendimu leading the way...we just followed. Along the way, he told Katie that he lived near the dump. She was unfazed and said, "Ok." He said, "No, I live really near the dump. You can see it from my house."
As we crossed over into the dump, I began wondering just where he was taking us.
A little farther into the dump.
And into this beautiful, lush oasis we walked.
With a gate to help keep out intruders.
It soon became clear that we were in a little haven.
Most people in Korah have no land in which to plant anything but this family had found a small piece of fertile land, built their home and planted several types of crops.
The front door faces away from the garbage dump, which is not far behind the back of the house. The air was fresh here...it was so pleasant.
We were warmly welcomed by his parents. They seated us and his mom began preparing coffee for us. Their house with its high ceiling was so clean, bright and well cared for.
She had roasted barley for us to snack on.
And prepared some wonderful coffee for all of us.
After a nice visit, we expressed our thanks and said our goodbyes.
His parents followed us out and you can even see his mother standing at the end of the line, watching us leave. So sweet.
Wendimu is a 3rd year engineering student at the University of Addis Ababa. He is a very bright young man with a great future ahead of him. We asked him how he affords college. In Ethiopia, he told us, if your grades are good enough and you can pass the National Exam, you can get into college. When you graduate and get a job, then you begin to pay back your tuition. Awesome opportunity.
We were all so impressed that adjacent to the huge Addis Ababa city dump stood this lovely home and grounds. Inside this home lives a beautiful family, so full of hope now for their sons' future. (There is a middle son who also attends the boarding school)
Seriously, what we would have missed had if we had not made this friend and accepted his invitation. As I said before, the homes we visited were highlights for all of us. It's then you can see how people really live.
I think about the experiences and relationships we miss out on in our lives because we don't step out of our comfort zone. Our lives are so much richer for this experience and we have a much better understanding of the culture there.
Who would have thought? We had no idea that we would find such beauty, hope and joy just yards from the garbage dump.
I keep thinking, "What if we hadn't gone? What if we'd gone to New Zealand as we'd always dreamed of doing for our 25th anniversary?"
Denise, Kevin, Blaine and I all agree...we had more fun - not just a more fulfilling time, but more FUN in Ethiopia than we could have had anywhere else in the world.
So glad we all went. No regrets...not a single one.
Next post...a BIG, BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!