It was a rather slow morning except that Pastor Shawn was given the opportunity to preach to the staff at BSCO (Bethel Synod Compound). His message was based on Mark 3 on who is your neighbor. Brief and to the point, he stated how both Koreans and Ethiopians both treated extended family and friends as our own family and that things should carry on for others’ sake. Peter will be giving tomorrow’s message so please pray for humility and continuity.
After lunch of spaghetti (but with local touch), we took off to visit both of the orphanages that Haregewoin began for the AIDS-related orphans. First one we visited was for the HIV negative and honestly, it felt more like an institute as Haregewoin became better known and received more support. However, when we visited the HIV positive compound, things were different from the start. Many of the kids were receiving ARV (Anti-Retro Viral) medicines, and since you need lots of energy to fight off the disease, they get fed very well. You need to understand that as I have been emphasizing, if you or your family member has AIDS, you are shunned entirely from the society, just like in the old days when Jews shunned the lepers. So for HIV-positive orphans to not only get an orphanage but also to receive extra care and medication, this is totally unheard of in Ethiopia. Kids, though knowing sick, were live. Again, in the words of Pastor Ayamo, positive living in Christ. And soon as we busted out balloons, things definitely got rolling! And even more so when the kids started to sing songs and do some incredible traditional dances!! (You gotta see the videos when they are available!). Again, it was a heart-warming time to re-realize that these kids did not need our pity, but rather to give them support by accepting them for who they are despite the fact that they have AIDS and are shunned by the society. Our guide, Public Health Nurse Tesfa, again pointed out how discrimination continues to reign in society and that it needs to stop.
And for dinner, with the offer from Pastor Ayano, we had a chance to have an authentic Ethiopian cuisine tonight! Great food and we had a chance to see some traditional dances and they were incredible! Again, you have to see the videos! There were times when the female dancers swung their hair in a crazy X formation and still managed to continue dancing! Though it was supposed to be a relaxing time, most of us were very tired. Peter drank too much coffee from yesterday during the coffee ceremony in Jaja (long story), and most had trouble sleeping solidly. It’s going to be another busy day tomorrow with more teaching and visiting the “Korean Hospital” with Rachel to get the two organizations introduced and see how they can both help each other. Good night.