As Deb’s laptop was passed to me to write this blog, I thought about all the great bloggers on our team and their creativeness for the past 9 days. With my limited writing experience, I might as well post a couple of Chinese recipes instead… nevertheless, I will try my best here.
As the morning sun ray pierced through the cloud and gently caressed an awakening Ethiopian mountain range here at Yetebon, a cool breeze descended to the ground of Project Mercy. It was Sunday. With a cup of hot coffee in hand, I surveyed the activities around the vicinity. Many of the locals have already hurried into the compound to work the ground. Behind me in the cafeteria, a platoon of kitchen staff were already hard at work, preparing our breakfast. It was a Sunday. As the sun shone through the windows of many tukels, not a peep of noise was heard. Half of our team decided to sleep in. Our morning breakfast table seemed extra quiet, consisting of only 8 of us. Ah, yes. It was a Sunday. In all honesty, our team deserved some much needed rest, peace, and quiet. It was hard to believe that we have been in Ethiopia for a full week already. Time certainly has passed by quickly. Many things have happened to Team 1 in the past week. We have shared meals together, ventured onto the mountain together, stargazed together, played euchre and hearts together. We have laughed together and have shed tears together. We remain strong and united as Gunderen’s Global Partners Ethiopia Team One.
At 10:15 (ish), a few of us walked to attend church service. The church was only half a mile away (or less). When we arrived, many of the locals were already singing and praying. A feeling of excitement was in the air as we would find out soon enough. Today was a church service AND a wedding service. There must be some meaning to get married on Valentine’s Day in the eyes of the Ethiopians as well, I guess. A Project Mercy school teacher was getting married. He was also one of the worship leaders at this church. No wonder he spent 20 minutes of his wedding singing with the congregation.
Three and a half hours later, church (and the wedding ceremony) finally came to a close. To our surprise, all the church attendees followed the wedding party to their wedding reception…at the Project Mercy compound. In the U.S., wedding parties rode in limosines. Here in Yetebon the wedding party (all 20 of them) rode in a red Toyota van. Despite the difference, their joy and happiness could definitely be felt by many their passed along the dirt road to Project Mercy. While the wedding reception was in progress, our team had lunch back at the cafeteria. It was decided that around 3 PM (ish), a group of us would hike the crater lake again like last year.
Meanwhile, many of us continued to practice our zen with Zentangle, a type of drawing Lori brought with the little remaining room she had in her suitcase.
The hike at Crater Lake was wonderful. We were once again surrounded by many local children as well as livestock. All of us were mesmerized by the turquoise colored water in the middle of the crater. A local myth had it that no matter how strong and how far you throw a rock into the crater, the stone would never reach the body of water without touching land. Well, that myth hasn’t met Nathan Baker. He managed to debunk that myth in front of a large audience. Carie was among one of them. She said she saw ripples in the midst of the lake 1000 ft. below. She must have better eye sight than me…a few of us hiked up to the middle of the mountain to see the infamous “Cave” and the family that lived there.
Our night finished with our daily blog and comment reading as well as our Valentine’s Day card exchange. For those of you who have followed our Global Partners Ethiopian team blog for the past 3 years (yes, that’s you, Mr. John Gabbert), I could honestly say that it was the most heart-
warming moments I have experienced in the past 3 years. All of us presented each other positive and encouraging comments, as well as a taste of our creativity, ranging from a paper boat to a heart candy made out of Tums.
Once again, the bonding of this team has shone through. Although many of us worked at the same institution, we were once strangers to each other. Not any more. We now knew each others’ food preference, sometimes even down to our daily bathroom routine. And for those who remembered what happened to Team 2 last year, I was happy to announce that we all had healthy bowels without the assistance of Cipro.