Although Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in Africa, its people are beautiful, trustworthy and full of hope. They take an enormous amount of pride in their country, and have good reason to do so (it is Africa’s oldest independent country… and not to mention, breathtakingly beautiful). When walking through the city streets of Addis Ababa (the capital city), or trekking through the “bush” outside a small village in the countryside, you can’t help but notice all the good that surrounds this people and their culture… a welcoming spirit, a strong work ethic, tons of new economic growth, joy in the small things of life, fertile land, beautiful weather, and some of the best coffee on planet earth :) It’s still a third world country with an overwhelming amount of need, but opportunity abounds and change is in the air.
One of the village kids snapped this photo of Courtney with our DSLR… Most of our team worked all week on an irrigation project outside a village in eastern Ethiopia. Only 3% of Ethiopia is irrigated, and the crazy thing is that their economy revolves around agriculture, which in turn relies on rainfall… so when drought hits, it cripples the country. Together with the people of the village, our team was able to dig a kilometer long trench, lay crazy amounts of pipe, and help construct a pump to divert water from a nearby river to the dry crop fields outside the village. This simple project will revolutionize the community by providing food and jobs for countless local people. The rest of the team worked primarily with Agar, a local nonprofit that works with the neglected elderly, and is also becoming a rehabilitation center for trafficked Ethiopian women. We were able to meet with various organizations and government officials to network and learn more about these issues. We were able help Agar construct a plan to provide long term solutions to these problems. The people of Ethiopia changed us, and our team members inspired us to give generously and serve smarter. Overall, it was an outstanding trip and we feel honored to have experienced such a beautiful culture filled with beautiful people. Thanks to all of you who supported and prayed for us while we were gone.