(Written by team member, Debbie Wyne)
Day 7 Sintaro Village update, Feb. 6, 2015
I awaken early today. I throw on some clothes and go off on a hunt for wifi. There hasn’t been wifi here for so many days that I’ve lost count. First world problems, right? I find that the building next door has it and I find a place to sit for a few minutes to send iMessages to family. It is limited conversation, but good to connect.
After breakfast, Worede arrives and our luggage is loaded into the bus by the “Billhops”. That is what their name tag says and Kindri and I find this amusing.
Today we are driving part of the way to Addis and plan to have an afternoon of R&R at a lakeside resort. But first, we stop at Roggie, which is another village receiving sponsorship through Hope Enterprises. Hope has just celebrated 10 years here and it’ll be interesting to see some of the things we may have to look forward to.
The geography of this area is much, much different than Sintaro. It is brown, dry, flat and dusty. There are few trees. As we drive down the “road”, we encounter another vehicle and we much back up to find a spot for them to pass. We keep the windows closed to keep out the dust and without any moving air it feels like we are in an oven. So much for taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes!
Worede calls ahead and one of the school teachers meets us to let us into the school grounds. They have a nice fence around it and a gate with a lock. There are buildings everywhere! Here, in the middle of what seems to be nowhere, there is a beautiful school that now has 550 students! They have students all the way through 9th grade now and are building additional classrooms to house high school students! A well has also been dug and fresh, clean water is now available at several water collection stations! These are the types of thing we have to look forward to in Sintaro Village!
We return to the main road and drive a little further to Sabana, the resort (a loosely used term) where we will spend the night. This is the nicest place I’ve seen since I left America! It has a definite Ethiopian flair with the architecture and furnishings, but it’s clean, quaint, and even landscaped! We drop off our luggage and head to their restaurant for lunch.
The restaurant is beautiful. It’s a round building with windows that open out facing a lake. Cynthia says the muddy water looks like milk chocolate, but it is still a pretty view. The restaurant has the feeling of being outside. In fact, some birds even fly in to be next to us and enjoy the view. Everything on the menu looks delicious and I’m glad that we will eat here for dinner tonight too so I can try two different meals! I have some pasta with fresh grilled vegetables and it is delicious. The rest of the afternoon is at our leisure. I decide to sit outside of my little bungalow and enjoy the view and the nature around me. I pull a table in front of me and put my feet up. The breeze is beyond delightful and there is a plethora of beautifully colored african birds, hopping and chirping all around me. If I shut my eyes and listen, it is an orchestra of music! The birds explore and come nearer and nearer to me and it seems we are enjoying watching one another. Ahhhh, it’s delightful to have a bit of downtime to reflect on all of the events of the last several days.
As I sit in my beautiful spot, I hear voices in the distance. I look to my right and see two people walking just outside the fenced property lines. They are walking up the hill from the lake carrying water jugs and immediately my mind shifts back to the poverty of this place. My first impulse is to call out and wave at them because of the connection I’ve felt with others like them in the last several days. Somehow I think they will recognize that in me. And then I realize where I am. I’m no longer in their world. From where they are, it appears that I sit in a place of affluence, power and separation. In fact, from their perspective, I do. And the inequity and the truth of that, breaks my heart.
Kindri comes over and sits outside with me. She recently moved to Uganda to operate her own camp for kids and I am thankful that we get a some time alone to really talk and catch up. After awhile it is time to meet the rest of the team for debriefing and dinner. It is a good time to review some of the details of the trip. After dinner, Kindri comes with me back to my room and we enjoy our talk so much that we are surprised to find it’s almost midnight! Today has obviously been a much different kind of day then the rest of our week, but it’s been a wonderful and much needed time of transition as we prepare to return home.
Tomorrow we make the final trek back to Addis and we have a full days worth of activities before we head to the airport for a late flight back home. Please continue to be praying for me and the team as we finish our travels and process all we have experienced.