So we had another full day today. We taught English and computer classes in the morning. Jade was brilliant with coming up with ideas of incorporating skills and active participation by asking for a project of coming up with a computer ad.
In the afternoon, we had the pleasure to go to a part of Addis Ababa called Jaja. It’s the part of the town abandoned by the city and the people, and currently is the sole community area for HIV/AIDS infected people. It’s so sad to find out that in today’s times, people still shun out others based solely on superstition and indifference. We met a family who were shunned out from a nearby neighborhood just because the father was HIV positive. The organization we went to Jaja with (forget the name now) supplied 300 birrs (~$33) to setup a tent so that they can live and carry on.
Our guide, Mr. Teferi told us of Pastor Solomon who is HIV-positive himself but was so convicted of how one can live positively if he/she can trust God and live. He married a HIV-positive woman (after having lost all of his family, ie. wife and kids) and have a 1 year old daughter who is HIV-negative. His perspective on life was just so tremendously God-centered and not situation-oriented that we were all just so very encouraged.
Of course, knowing that, when we got down to the community village (had to walk down the hills as it’s not accessible by cars), we met in a hut put up by mud. We went into it to be greeted by a group of children and some adults. These are the epitome of poverty, living on a less than $1/day and having lost at least one parent to AIDS, and having been outcast. However, we could sense that there wasn’t a total hopelessness. They greeted us with dramas and songs, and the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The condition may have been terrible (Peter got about 20 flea bites on his left leg) but one could sense that they had joy about them and in their lives. Pastor Shawn totally won the little kids over by lifting them up, letting them ride on his back, and we could sense the parents’ being touched by our actions that showed them that we did not reject them for who they are. It was hard for all of us to suppress the tears from our eyes because we did not want them to think that we pitied them or anything, which we didn’t. We were all so touched how Mr. Teferi (who is only 32 years old!) kept reminding us, and through Dorothy (who is just a wonderful woman of God, by the way) that it’s all about positive living in Christ, being content with what God has given us.
We all left just so blessed and wanting to desperately help these who need some of the most basic needs of life like latrines. One of the biggest prayer request is God’s discernment for us in how to prioritize and which “projects” (I don’t want to call it that) to support. Christine did awesome just by being brave enough to go down these treacherous hills (remember she’s still blind) and showing to these kids that even us the “have all Americans” can still lack something. Joy is feeling a bit sick and tired today so please continue to pray for her well-being. Gotta go now… Good night.