We’re so glad to bring another update from Greg Knight, Director of FIG Awassa:

We began the day at 7:30 by visiting the local fish market. They were using cast nets that reminded me of the way that Peter was probably fishing when Jesus called him.The boats were small and made by hand and the men were hard at work cleaning their nets from the days catch. Large birds were waiting for anything the fishermen left while monkeys played in the trees behind us. There were many people around, some cleaning fish, some buying fish, young boys trying to do anything that might get them a tip and we “ferenjis” just watching. We went to an area where people were eating the small cut pieces raw. A young man approached Joel and began speaking to him just to let him know that he thought Rebekah was pretty. I would agree!

After that we headed to Ajuuja and had the privilege of meeting all but one of the sponsored children and their families! We were able to sit for a few minutes with each family and ask questions, talk to them and just experience who they are. I took a lot of notes and I hope to be able to share details with their FIG families very soon. There were so many people, all of which were so grateful not just for care packages but that people they didn’t even know that live so far away cared enough about them to find a way to help by sponsoring their children.

One lady in particular really got to me. I did not see her until her child’s name was called. I looked up and she approached in a wheel chair that she pedaled like a bicycle with her hands with her daughter walking alongside. Her humble smile was contagious and she was soft spoken. She explained later when we visited her home that when her daughter was just 18 months old her husband’s motorcycle had somehow sparked a fire that spread into a kerosene can in their home leading to an explosion that sprayed the fuel on both she and her husband. He has fully recovered with only scars remaining while she, after a year of being bedridden, is in a wheel chair and her legs, arms, and torso are horribly disfigured/scarred. At her home the chair stays outside and she scoots about preparing meals and doing all the things a mother in Ethiopia does for her family with a bit of assistance from her neighbors who also greeted us at the home.

The thing that struck me as I think the day through is that after we talked with her and her daughter she only backed the wheel chair out a few feet from us. She remained there for the duration of the time that we spoke with families and distributed the care packages. Every time I looked up she was smiling joyfully through the pain she endures each day because other families were being blessed. I was talking with Joel and Rebekah and shared with them that this presented the biggest challenge for the day for me because she with so little and in her condition had more joy than I do as richly blessed as I am. (Methinks I need to do a little work on that.)

We visited many homes throughout the afternoon. Teshome (I mispelled his name in yesterday’s notes) selected a variety of homes and families for us to visit and I am greatly thankful for him.

One of the homes we visited was a traditional hut for the area of Sidoma. It was a beautiful setting and when we stepped inside it was like another world. Looking into the front door to the right we saw the familiy’s 3 calves tied to a span of fencing. Straight ahead was a small piles of hot coals that were heating wat. To the right the family’s neatly stacked dishes were stored alongside stone water jugs that they used for refrigeration a tall woven basket in which store tef and corn and stone containers used for serving food. In the back was a bed that the family shares. They showed us around back where fresh cabbage grows alongside false banana trees (enset) that are used to make the Sidoma staple food (kocho)  and we even got to see the part of it in the ground where it stays for six days at which point it can be used to make the heavy thin bread-like kocho. I even got a chance to strip the “good stuff” out a tree with a machete!

Many more tales to tell but I need to stop before the readers leave me!! ~Greg

To learn more about Project HOPEFUL’s F.I.G. Awassa Program, visit the page here