Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ethiopia :: An Optional Tour of the Bright Hope School Garden :: Capture a Glimpse

When traveling for the second trip of your Ethiopian international adoption, be sure to inquire about visiting the Bright Hope School. Children's Hope Partners are doing great aid work in and near Addis Ababa, and a great deal of this work is concentrated on the Bright Hope School Garden. By adding this optional tour, you can get a deeper sense of Ethiopian culture and witness further the needs and also the strengths of this country.

Upon your request, you can view one of the most inspiring Children's Hope aid projects — The Bright Hope School in Ethiopia's Korah Community.
This week a Children's Hope Work Team from Journey Church in Bozeman, Montana is traveling into the Korah Community, building relationships with locals and sharing the burden of Bright Hope's work, which in turn is growing and breaking the volunteers' hearts for this ministry. Work Team volunteer Kelsey posted yesterday to their blog, while visiting a leprosy medical center that shares a wall with the Bright Hope School.

Kelsey and Bridget's words help capture a glimpse of the community culture:

From January 4th -

(From Kelsey) ...This Tuesday I parted from the group for the morning and headed over to ALERT leprosy clinic which shares a wall with Bright Hope School in order to take in the daily routine of this medical facility. ALERT serves lepers spanning the entire continent of Africa giving free care to those who cannot afford it.

After parting from Masti, our translator, I was shown around the compound. One wing of the clinic houses rooms for patients requiring around the clock medical care with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and other serious dermatological conditions. After they hear the words Selamno or Selamnish (boy/girl hello) a smile spreads across their face and they are eager to meet you and learn of what little Amharic you know: Guests are both an exciting and uncommon experience. Like I said before, despite their condition (many are unable to even walk or hold anything due to the nerve damage induced from leprosy), the patients I met today were overwhelmingly grateful. They were thankful for others being attentive and responding to their needs, and were even joyful at something as small as meeting a new friend from the States.

I met up with Dr. Elizabeth Bizuneh, who has been working as a dermatologist at ALERT for the past 23 years. Job shadowing Elizabeth was unlike any physician I have observed in Montana. The greatest difference, aside from the kinds of conditions and their treatments, was the patient demographics. The first patient walked in wearing a pear of jeans and sunglasses. The next was a shepherd wearing a thick robe and shawl, several giant crosses, a bible slung around his shoulder, and a staff journeying nearly 120 kilometers to receive care. Certainly a unique contrast.

After returning for lunch at the school, I rejoined with the team and learned of their adventures. After working at the wall in the morning hours, they had the amazing experience walking the streets of Korah, sharing a month’s supply of Tef with families. They witnessed the overwhelming gratitude these people had that strangers would love them by offering the gift of food.

For the rest of the afternoon we continued hauling rocks. Our relationships with our Ethiopian coworkers and the students of Bright Hope are already growing as we begin to learn names and get to know each other personally through smiles and the occasional “Gobez!” (Good Work!) And all this is despite the fact that we each only know a few words of the other’s language…

We have talked about how our hearts have broken over this place. But simultaneously there are moments when we are overflowing with joy with just how happy these people can be despite their tribulations. They are so thankful. God is doing some amazing things here…

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Culture - found in the heart and smile of a child.

From January 3rd:
(From Bridget) ....Pairs would load rocks, walk, walk and walk then dump them near the foundation where a worker assembled the rocks to build a foundation that cement would then be poured into.

As the hours passed, our little white bodies turned into a lobster-ish coloring. The joy of the work came while the children would have breaks during their school day. We would hears squeals from the top floor of the school buildings and a tiny stampede of little feet would run to our area. Our team would drop our stretchers and battle intense games of thumb war, rock-paper-scissors and patty-cake (who knew they were international games?! Who taught these kids these games WE played at school as kids?!) Goes to show how much more similar the world is than different.
* * *

Journey Church volunteers post daily
from the Ethiopia Bright Hope School Garden

Experience more Ethiopian culture from this Children's Hope Work Team — see the Journey Church Work Team blog.

(Photos and blog excerpts used by permission.)


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