On July 14th, our team of eleven took off out of Dulles International Airport toward Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning greeted by Jason and our driver for the week, Haile. Sunday morning we attended church, ate delicious burgers for lunch, and were hosted by a lovely family for a full cultural experience. At their home, the mother and daughters taught us many of the skills that are known throughout Ethiopia: how to cook the traditional injera bread, their special bread for holidays, popcorn, coffee and how to spin cotton into thread. They taught us with such grace and patience. We completed this experience dressed in Ethiopian garb and eating the injera we cooked topped with meat and vegetable wats.
For the rest of our time there, we spent the majority of the day at CURE hospital playing and making crafts with the kids there. Every morning we would begin in the rehab center with fun songs and a Bible story, led by Carrie Martens and translated by one of our wonderful leaders from CURE, Nahom. The kids always brought so much energy and life to the songs and remembered every detail of the Bible stories. As we talked to more staff at CURE, they told us how important it is to share God’s love for the children as they are able to spread this love and truth when they return home after having surgery. Many of them heard about God for the first time when they came to CURE, making it so special for us to share Bible stories with them. After the story, we broke out into craft time. Each day we made something different from air-dry clay sculptures to paper bag puppets to thread friendship bracelets to tissue paper flowers and more. We were able to see their creativity flourish through their different artistic styles.
After a delicious lunch of injera wat, we headed to the ward where the children were either preparing for surgery or had recently come out of surgery. We would make the same crafts with the kids here as we did at the rehab center. We were able to walk around the room to each child’s bed and make these crafts with them. This allowed us to connect with the children on a more personal level. They also loved blowing bubbles and playing with finger puppets. Even through the pain and discomfort from surgery or the nervous anticipation of an upcoming surgery, these kids always displayed the biggest smiles on their faces and fully participated in making the crafts.
Our time at CURE was so special and such an honor to be a part of the children’s lives for the week. While there were some challenges because of the language barrier, we were able to make connections and develop relationships with the people through the power of God. He opened up the doors for us to show love to the people through the few days we were there. All of the children, parents, and staff had such gentle and kind natures, accepting us with open hearts a wide smiles each day, making it hard to say goodbye.
Outside of our time at CURE, we were able to experience many different places in Addis Ababa. We were able to shop and bargain at markets down the street from where we stayed, eat the sweetest mangoes any of us had ever tasted, tour Bingham Academy where the Craig sisters attended and Emily had taught, experience cultural dancing, eat many delicious traditional meals, drink many cups of coffee, and smell sweet eucalyptus at Bethel pottery. God truly blessed our time in Ethiopia and we are all SO incredibly thankful to have had this opportunity to be a part of this trip. Thank you to all who supported and prayed for us throughout the whole duration of our trip!
Megan Dzurik | Guest Contributor