Ethiopia 2011 | part one

Well friends, here are a few photos about my trip. I think I am finally ready to share more about what I saw. There is so much to share that I'm going to split it up in several posts. I experienced everything from an earthquake to walking through The Red Light District...

It never hits me that I'm going overseas until I'm actually on the plane. I love to journal while we are flying through the clouds. Things seem so peaceful and worries feel irrelevant. It was a long journey, but we finally reached Addis Abeba. 
After a good night's sleep and a shower, we started our trek to Angacha...
Of course there was a little silliness on the way. :)
The land was not what I expected. The land may look beautiful, but the soil is dry from lack of rain. I can't see how anything grows there when all the ground looks like rock. The people are not unlike the soil. Telltale signs of years of hardship were as evident as the dry land in the eyes of some. 

We had hardly been in in Ethiopia 2 days when we were all awoken in the middle of the night. I woke up to my roommate screaming my name and the room trembling. It seemed like a dream to me. An earthquake? In Ethiopia? In the panic we didn't even think to grab anything but shoes. For several hours we shivered in the cold, waiting for the aftershock. It never came, so we went back to our rooms. As you can imagine, sleep was not possible after that.
When light came we decided to explore a bit. Needless to say we drew a lot of attention. The children steal my heart every time. It makes me want to adopt one day.
Such contrast - a shack next to a hotel...well, by third world country standards that is.
With the earthquake behind us, we headed out to the medical clinic to help with their feeding program.
There were so many families in the program. I was so wonderful to see how successful this ministry is in the community. The parents are so proud that their children are doing well. If it wasn't for ICA hundreds of these children would have died. A few of them looked a little pudgy (not much though), which is very, very rare. I didn't see one over weight Ethiopian there. Everyone was extremely thin. 

Beautiful people.
These are the families waiting to get into the program. There over 30 families that came to the clinic just because the foreigners were visiting and were accepted into the program. Their babies were incredibly malnourished and would have died otherwise.
These babies may look like newborns, but they are not. Some of them were up to 6 months old or older.

After finishing up at the clinic we visited the new hospital grounds - they were breathtaking. They made sure to plant flowers at the clinic and the hospital grounds. It's such a simple thing, but to the community it represents hope. Many families have started planting flowers of their own as well. Because of ICA this place has been transformed. The people have future. The flowers are just a symbol of the hope they have that things will get better. That is indeed a beautiful thing. 
This is the crop of potatoes they harvested from the land. God has really blessed these grounds. I thought it was amazing that the money for these things came from a local church in Ethiopia, not from America.
I was able to use a Nikon for the day! It's strange how foreign my point-and-shoot feels after so short a time. I made a good choice in not bringing it though. My mind was much more focused on what I came there to do, instead of photos.

There is so much work yet to be done. ICA has made a huge difference in this community and we got to be a very small part of that. Still, I can hardly describe what it is like to walk among them and feel their need. The burden still weighs heavy on my heart.

More coming soon...