The following journal entries are unedited except for names and locations are taken out for the sake of their protection.
Day 2 in Ethiopia
As soon as I inhaled my first breath in Africa, I knew I was in love. I can't stop obsessing over every beautiful detail. From the red, dusty dirt to the unfinished buildings, I LOVE it. This morning when my dad was in the shower, I got to stand on the balcony of our wonderfully tiny hotel room of the Riviera. I took in everything: the melody of the honking buses and the bustle of EVERYONE walking to work. I stared across the open field and took in the breathtaking view. The mountains are gorgeous. As one of the staff members organizations drove my dad and I to Hannah's Hope where Meddie lived while she waited to be part of our forever family, I drank in every last detail. The craziness of traffic, without stop signs or stoplights and people walking everywhere, thrilled me to the core. Going to Hannah's Hope was such a surreal experience. I had seen hundreds of pictures of MY sister there, and now I finally got to experience it. It was ten billion times better than I expected. I got to meet several members of the staff whom my parents had gotten to know pretty well. And the kids...my heart aches with how much I miss them and I only spent 30 minutes with them. One girl was of the same tribe as Meddie and I did a double take the first time I saw her. She looked almost identical to my sister. I absolutely adored her. She and another little Gambella girl were glued to me. I loved those two like they were my very own. And while I wished I could just take them home with me, I knew I they had families waiting to love on them and be united just like God had planned. After a painful goodbye, our driver took us to the organization we were working for over there. Soon after, the whole team loaded up in a bus. Ok, so I already admit that I'm weird, but I've just always had this dream of riding on a bus through rutty, dirty roads in a foreign country. I lived that to its fullest today, and I loved every second of it. The project we went to today was filled with beautiful children who are being sponsered. We played jump rope, swung on the swings, made beaded necklaces and bracelets, sang songs, and played duck duck goose and Red Rover. Some of the kids were absolute stinkers, but I loved every single chocolate child to death. The language barrier was frustrating sometimes, but we communicated with hand gestures and facial expressions. (Random: people across the street are listening to J-Lo and it's pretty loud!) Probably the saddest thing I saw while we were at the project was when we passed out anything. It was a mad dash and it didn't matter who was in the way. They wanted it and they wanted it FIRST. I was almost bowled over when I broke out the Dum Dums. I had already decided that each kid could only have one lollipop. Well, because it was so crazy, I couldn't keep track of who I had given suckers to. So kids would hide theirs and end up with 3 or 4 suckers. It just goes to show how dependent we, as humans, are on STUFF, and we shouldn't be. Even through being completely frustrated with the kids for lying and cheating me out of suckers, the bottom line was I just needed to love them like Jesus. We lie and cheat and yet God loves us anyways. And that's why we're here: to be an example of Jesus Christ and His love to anyone we come in contact with.