I (Joy) made my second visit to our partner school in Ethiopia during October half term. I was accompanied by Tracey Lidgett one of my teaching staff. The journey took 27 hours. First, we flew to Gondar to visit Fikersalem, the twelve year old girl we sponsor. Fikersalem was waiting for us at our ‘hotel’. She was so pleased to see me and spent the whole day with us, even going to a teacher’s conference! I praised her for her school report which we had recently received. She has made exceptional progress at school this year and now wants to be a doctor! In Gondar, we had no water and electric overnight so we couldn’t wait to travel the three hours to Bahir Dar for a shower the next day! We were accompanied by an Ethiopian lady called Elsa who works for Link Ethiopia. We arrived in Bahir Dar with enough time to visit the Blue Nile Falls which are very close to the town. They were absolutely stunning and the visit was a real highlight in a very busy week. We were also able to visit the monasteries on Lake Tana. These monasteries have beautiful art work. We were accompanied by Abundije, a teacher who is Ethiopian Orthodox. Whilst her faith is very iconic, I was very moved to see Abunije on her knees and weeping at the foot of a wooden cross because of what Jesus had done for her. It was great to get into school on Monday morning and meet old friends. We were in school for both shifts every day, whereas most Ethiopian teachers only teach for the morning or afternoon. Although we had lessons planned to teach, after observing the new kindergarten class we decided that this would be our priority for the week. 43 four to six year olds were being taught by an untrained teacher in a mud classroom with nothing but a piece of chalk and a blackboard. During the week, I trained the teacher while Tracey went on a mission to purchase paint for pictures on the classroom wall. We also visited the local market to buy plastic bricks etc. These were very expensive but we also bought big plastic bowls for water play. The teacher was keen to adopt our suggestions. We also managed to get the parents on board and establish a rota of them to help in the classroom. The children had no idea what to do with the toys but learnt quickly! I also met up with Tazash, the Christian teacher I shared with last year. Tazash shared with me about Amsarel, another teacher who has become a Christian. Please pray for Amsarel as her faith still has to be a ‘secret’ as her husband doesn’t know about her conversion. Thank you for your prayers.
Please pray for Steve as he prepares for his 2 week visit to Ethiopia on November 26th 2011.