Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, 02 March, 2009

It’s already after 10 p.m., but we have to tell about this day full of new things!  We did, indeed, organize the store room.  We were also able to receive cash from the contributions that were given for our trip from our church and the Waynesville church too.  We finished just in time to get going for our lunch plans.  We were meeting Ermias and Mulu, and “Mr. Matthew” and Susan Corian, the Indian couple, and their daughter Saumia.  Originally, our plan was to have lunch in their home, but there was a water problem since yesterday afternoon, so the lunch moved to the Lucy Restaurant at the National Museum.  Over Indian and Chinese and Ethiopian food (and pizza - this place has a great menu!), we got to know each other better.

The Corians have been in Ethiopia for 36 years, teaching in the secondary schools here.  They have 2 older children (a married son in the U.S. and a daughter in India) and Saumia is ready to graduate secondary school and go on to get a college degree (she thinks she wants to study pharmacy).  We’re planning to keep in touch by e-mail and get some college information to Saumia. We were enjoying our conversation so much that, when Ermias and Mulu left for home, we drove the Corians to their home and were invited in for tea.  We told them a little more of our respective education experiences and enjoyed photos of their family.  We got out our camera and took photos, promising to share them by e-mail.  After sharing back and forth with this family of the many ways God has been and is working we asked to pray with them before we left.  Susan told us that they regularly have injerra delivered to some orphans and asked that, since we had transportation, would we mind helping deliver it this time... chigger-yelum (No problem), we answered! 

We picked up a large stack of injerra at a nearby shop.  Then, it wasn’t far, behind a plain metal gate painted blue, was a facility run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa!  One of the Sisters came out to accept the delivery and introduced herself, Sister Joan of Arc, a blue-eyed woman from France!  She took the five of us on a tour of their spread out hospital, beginning with their registration and examinations rooms, then showed us an unbelievable series of rooms and people.  First we saw several rooms of perhaps 20 beds each; each cot for a mother and her baby.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but we made sure to fuss over some of the babies. They encourage these mothers from the streets to keep their babies, teaching them to care for and love their children.  After that were several rooms of abandoned babies, sometimes 3 to a crib. Some were asleep, but many stared at us with huge brown eyes and many more smiled as we gave them a little attention.  These little ones, Sister explained, would probably be adopted.  Some were old enough to be standing in the cribs and all the rooms had 1 or more of the Sisters caring for them.  Another large room housed severely handicapped children.  Going outside, there were a number of children being watched by some local women, some playing with a soccer ball, or a stick, or on playground equipment.  One little girl in a  pale pink dress started running toward me and threw herself into my arms just before she planted a kiss on my cheek!

From those buildings we moved to other similarly crowded areas for: women with HIV/AIDS, men with recurring fever, men with curable injuries like broken bones, men with mental problems, men with TB some incurable, and men with HIV/AIDS.  Many of those who are terminally ill never have visitors, but they keep records of all the patients, in case someone inquires about someone who passed away.

Sister had come there from India, expecting to be there only 3 months, but it has been 9 months already because of the need.  The facility is full now, admitting an average of 15 new patients each day as they line up outside the gate for treatments and medicine but, during the rainy season, 40 or 50 might be admitted daily.  Sister said that at least one person dies each day; the city picks up the bodies.

While we’ve become somewhat accustomed to the poverty in this country, we’ll never forget the enormity of the problems being cared for there.  This was yet another amazing and blessed day with new memories and friends we will hold onto for along time.

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