We left the guest house at 4:30AM. We were told that the drive to Kombolcha would take about 6 hours. Little did we know that the trip would take about 11 hours. Evidently, the Ethiopian government decided that they should pave most of the road from Addis to Kombolcha.
I experienced the most treacherous drive I can recall. We dodged, people, camels, horses, carts, goats, cows, dogs, other cars/trucks.... We climbed a mountain and reached 10,600 feet, driving through fog so thick that we could not see more than 10 feet in front of us. Our driver was amazing. He navigated the van through potholes and thick gooey mud.
crossing the "dry" river bed
When we finally arrived in Kombolcha we were greeted by 120 children that were "at risk". Many are single or double orphans (meaning one or both of their parents have died). Some children live with guardians who cannot afford to feed them... they can only provide shelter.
The children were skin and bones. Some were eating grass because they were so hungry. There was a little boy who looked like Henry. I wondered, if we had not adopted Henry would be be starving too? It's hard to look into the eyes of hungry children knowing that I could not bring comfort and healing to each one of them at that moment. We played with them for a little bit, learned their names and heard the story of Grace Baptist Church. Grace provides the children with an education but is unable to feed them. This location is available for sponsorship!
After playing with the children we went to the hotel. How I longed for a US hotel. The towels were as large as a hand towel! Our beds were surrounded by mosquito netting which Heather and I used while we slept.
On Thursday we headed back to Grace Baptist Church to play with the children. The children were sooo excited to see us again. We tried to blow up some balloons and play with each child but there were way too many kids per adult. We were able to create four stations- A bible craft, bible story, parachute game and a children's game station. The kids LOVED it. They all rotated through each station so we were able to spend time with each group of children. Tom L and I played duck, duck, goose, London bridges, and head and shoulders, knees and toes with the kids. The girls wanted to be sooo close to me. They touched my skin, kissed my hands and face... they pressed their bodies against mine so tightly I had to wonder if they were touched, loved, encouraged at home. The children were eating grass because they were not fed. It was so heartbreaking to see.
We asked the pastor what the most immediate need was. He answered FOOD. We were able to give him $2,000 for food. (If you gave me money I was able to donate money to this site on your behalf.)