Friday, April 15, 2011

there is much to report on the latest happenings here in yetebon the past couple of weeks, so here’s the recap.

i’m always proud of my students and the efforts they put forth in the classroom and i look forward to seeing them shine outside the classroom setting as well. a couple of weeks ago i got to see what they do best out on the soccer field. i was at the championship game watching my students, 4B, compete against 2A. this was the final game in the tournament between grades 1-4 and i was thrilled that my guys were representing it out there! after a competitive and high intensity game (and almost the whole school in attendance), my guys came out with the title, defeating the 2nd graders 2-1. as a result, they got to carry the big trophy and parade around the compound singing cheers and seeking out money to have a celebration party. the sounds, the sights, the smiles—priceless. atta boys! ☺

not only am known as teacher elizabeth (or elizabetch, elizben, or elsa depending on who’s talking to me hahaha) around here, but lately i have taken on the role as nurse elizabeth. whether it be break time or during lunch, day after day there are crowds of students seeking out band-aids (or plaster as they call it). some of the wounds are legitimate, others are just seeking out attention. who knew our supply of band-aids, neosporin, and hydrogen peroxide could be depleted so quickly. whatever the case, i love being able to care for them in this way and give them a little bit of tlc.

last week zondra and i had the opportunity to attend a birthday party for one of the teacher’s little girl. debora was turning 2 and we got to tag along and take pics and enjoy the festivities. we were honored to be a part of the celebration and it was so fun seeing some of the littlest house kids—tesfu, salem, sarah and lydia—at the party as well. we were spoiled as we took part in a coffee ceremony and delved into little pieces of bread, popcorn, and candy. the little tikes were loving life. and for the sake of being polite, i consumed 2 small cups of coffee, which for those of you who know my distaste for coffee is quite an accomplishment ha. we are planning on making copies of many of the pictures so that the family can have tangible memories from the happy day together.

get ready for this—i have been helping coach basketball a couple days a week after school for 2nd-7th grade boys and girls! i love any chance i get to play and teach basic fundamentals of the game i’m so passionate about! last week we spent a lot of time focusing on defense—proper stance, when to use man-to-man and when to use a zone, and things of that nature. i’ve enjoyed watching some of them try and implement what they’ve learned into their games in the afternoons. as challenging as it can be to coach 15-20 kiddos with only 2 basketballs and translating happening throughout it all, i’m having a blast and i hope they are getting something out of it ☺

for those of you who don’t know this about me, i love love love children’s books. one of my most favorite courses i took in college was my children’s lit class. as you can imagine, i get really excited when one of my students shares that passion for books like i do. bechernet (who is a house kid) is that student—4th grader, incredible leader, incredible english capabilities, big heart, loves reading. a few weeks ago i decided to go to the school library and check out some books that i thought he’d both enjoy and be able to read and i’ve been sharing them with him each week. i give him a book, he reads it, we talk about what he read, and then he trades it in for a new one. i love being able to share in this together and i know it’s enhancing his english skills and pushing him as he seeks to excel.

who would have thought that having 30 students in one class would feel incredibly SMALL?? one of the 3rd grade teachers has been out sick and when i came to teach the kiddos one day this week i was shocked to only see 30 out of the 90! it was a pleasant surprise having such an intimate setting as we were able to do a lot of reviewing, as well as coloring pretty pictures on the chalkboard with colored chalk. there are many benefits to smaller class sizes!

this past week grad students and faculty from the nursing and physical therapy departments at regis university (denver, co) were here at project mercy. i can’t even begin to put into words what an incredible time i had with their group of about 20 guys and gals. whether it was hiking together to fanna falls on saturday morning, enjoying one another’s company during meal times, witnessing them using their gifts so fervently with the people here, sharing in the yummy goodies they brought from america, or just playing with the kiddos together, i loved the time i had with them!

here are some specific highlights that stand out in my mind while they were here:

• observing the physical therapy students set up clinic here at the school and give attention and support to countless students (a couple of mine in particular). i’ve always been keenly interested in pt and i enjoyed watching them use their gifts for the sake of the kingdom.

• hiking to fanna falls and sharing in God’s creation and new friends

• having a social life in the evenings—staying up way past 10pm each night (yes that is normally my bed time over here haha) while hanging out with people.

• playing nerts (awesome card game) multiple nights after dinner.

• receiving candy (thank you noel cunningham and randall dodge!), new kids dvds (thank you sheila carlon!) to show the house kiddos, and mini boxes of CEREAL from a sweet couple on the team !!!! ☺

• going on a scavenger hunt as i sought to look for notes hidden throughout my room thanks to one of my new best buds katie. yeaaa girl.

• watching some of the guys rock their soccer skills and show that some americans do in fact have soccer capabilities haha

• witnessing clusters of kiddos gathering around the guys and gals to listen to new books.

• being invited to travel to lake zewai and lake langano (a couple hours east of yetebon) and see camels, go on a boat ride, see hippos on the lake, eat delicious strawberry sorbet, KAYAK, and have a blast with these awesome people from colorado.

• having kidane and dembele come along to lake zewai and langano. seeing the joy they experienced that day blessed me.

• watching this group love on the people and the ministry of project mercy. i love it when people come through here and whole-heartedly give of themselves and in turn receive so much love and blessing from the ethiopians and ultimately the Lord.

all in all, it was such a great week having them here and definitely hard to say goodbye. i’m excited for the new friendships and connections i was able to establish with this group, especially as i continue to pray about where the Lord is leading me upon returning home! colorado sure sounds more and more appealing ☺

things always get a whole lot quieter around here when a group like theirs leaves so zondra and i will again have to adjust to our new kind of normal. on the day they left i was reminded in my devotion to be thankful for the quiet days, because it is in those moments of stillness that His voice can be heard more clearly. great joy can still be found in the midst of routine and there is something positive to be said about the peace He provides when we unreservedly seek Him.

zondra and i are off to addis ababa for the weekend which we are eagerly looking forward to. it’s hard to believe that this will be the last trip into the city before i come home! goodness how quickly the days are going, and with that my emotions are intensifying as i come to the realization that i will be saying goodbye so soon. i ask for prayer in this area, as the emotions are beginning to surface when i think on leaving these people and this place. may i still be able to find the blessings and joys of each day without dwelling too much on the goodbyes that are inevitable in just a few weeks.

lots of smiles. lots of hugs. lots of lovin from hot, sunny, fly-infested ethiopia ☺