Being in Addis and physically playing with kids and hearing life stories really changes your perspective on things. There is a bigger picture outside our little world of comfort that the USA has set up.
Anyway, on to the day of Sunday, August 12th…. Or how about we start with Saturday night (we stayed in a hotel in Hawassa)… Britnie, Sheridan, and I shared a bed. Don’t worry it was the huge size of a full. We were cozy, but it didn’t really bother any of us. What did keep us up was the noise. Let’s just say it sounded like there was a rave outside our hotel last night. Walter claims that we all missed out and that he had a blast partying until the wee hours of the morning. At breakfast, we were all talking about it and decided that we were all still very grateful, even though our hotel was less than mediocre. We had a bed. We had a roof over our head. We had mosquito nets. We had simple things that we take for granted every single day. We still had far more than the lady on the concrete sidewalk, rearranging plastic bags as padding for a bed.
After breakfast we went to church. We tried to find an English speaking church, but ended up going to an Amharic speaking church instead. The people of the congregation were very welcoming. Not to joke around about it too much…. But for a while it felt like we were (uncomfortably) the star attraction of the show. We were at everyone’s attention. As children walked past us in the aisles, some stopped right in their tracks to look at us. The people here are just not used to seeing fair-skinned people. The service was two and half hours long; full of prayer, worship, and a message from the pastor. It was actually really neat because they actually translated the message for us (which apparently was the first time they have ever done that). The service really was amazing, even though we couldn’t understand any of it. What you could understand was the energy that was in the church. In America, I feel like during prayer most of us think that it is respectful to be quiet (and this is the norm). This was not the case here. Left and right people were shouting out Amen and vocally rejoicing God. The worship part was filled with rejoicing and dancing. Yes, dancing. It was beautiful. At the end of the service the pastors thanked us for coming and it felt like they were very grateful that we chose to attend their church.
After church, we were back on the road to Addis. After being on the road for a short while, Tsguy (the driver) pretty much saved our life. At the screeching of everyone’s voice, I looked up and found myself screeching right along with. There was a bus passing something, a donkey pulling a cart, a car, I’m still not really sure. All I was worried about was the bus that was headed toward us in our lane. We were all waiting for Tsguy to swerve into the ditch. Instead he swerves into the other lane, dodging people, donkeys, cars, and of course the bus. Tsguy had it all under control though. The bus took the ditch and everyone was alive, just a little jittery. In the USA it would have been a really bad accident for sure and that is not an exaggeration by any means.
In our vehicle ride back, Britnie read the book ‘Love Does’ aloud, Walter and Colin wrestled like brothers, and a lot of good conversation went on. After dodging a few more obstacles in the road, we made it back to the guest house safe and sound. We ate some pizza for dinner, played with the neighborhood kids, had our nightly hang out/discussion, and went to bed.
Praise God for another amazing day.
It really just goes to show that some of the things that we think of as insignificant, in the eyes of another, it is the highlight of their day.