Sunday, March 22, 2015

Volleyball and Bicycles

March 13, 2015

It's Thursday already. Months and months of preparation are put into this week and just like that it's over.

The setup for today was exactly like yesterday: Bible story followed by a rotation of rec, music, and crafts. Today, the kids are making bead bracelets. Rec includes volleyball, which was a blast and something the kids definitely enjoyed. Ben Johnson had a parachute rope, to which Glen tied colored ribbons and strung it up across the yard.  It was clear that the kids have played this game, as they were pretty good at it (much, much better than me!, but that doesn't take much). At first, Glen and I tried to get them to rotate positions after every side out. That quickly became too much to worry about, especially with the larger groups, so we just made sure everyone had a chance to serve.

The older girls tend to keep their distance, especially the Moslems who are wearing head scarves. One girl was standing off to the side, not participating much. After everyone had a chance to serve, I held the ball out to her for a turn, expecting that she would decline. However, she took the ball and killed it! She served at least five times, most of the balls not even having a chance of making it both over the net.

Again, all of the kids received bananas and bread.

One of the things I love about these trips is the people I meet on our teams. New to the team this year are Brian Guy, an attorney with the federal government in Washington, DC. Tom Davis, the founder of Children's Hopechest, had spoken at his church which gave Brian the opportunity to start sponsorship. Anna Gardner is a member of Hillsong Church and a college student and works as a nanny. Ben and Patricia Johnson also attend Hillsong, and are from Washington state. All four of them are wonderful people. It was great getting to know them. All four of them sponsor children in Kombolcha. Anna's claim to fame is that she was the first to sign up for sponsorship at Grace Baptist, the new care point.

When Ben and Patricia did their home visit, they learned that their child's mother, the primary wage earner for the family, had passed away. The father was disabled and was not able to work. However, because he was a veteran, he had been given a small amount of land in Kombolcha. Through conversations with the dad and Fikre (our Children's Hopechest facilitator), Ben and Patricia decided to buy a couple of bicycles so the father could start a bicycle rental business. The father did not know they were going to make this purchase. I wasn't there when the bicycles were delivered, but it was apparently quite touching and the dad was very appreciative of the Johnson's generosity. The dad also received information about how to maintain the bikes and run the business. This gift reinforces the philosophy that we want to help these kids and their families become self sufficient.

Tomorrow is feast day. We will also be saying our good-byes, which is always emotional for us and the kids.

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