Friday, August 28, 2009
Ethiopia really was the trip of a lifetime. I tried to prepare myself for what to expect and what I would see, but I found myself surprised and amazed nonetheless. Ethiopia is known, unfortunately, for poverty and famine. While that is, again unfortunately, part of it's story; it would be a great disservice to stop there. What I discovered Ethiopia to be is a country of beauty, pride, rich history and warm, loving people. Yes, to stop telling the story at poverty would be inaccurate.
It was not uncommon to see women walking hand in hand or men walking with their arms around one another. Their relationships are important and they are not distracted with the busyness of life and hectic schedules. They have time for one another. It's a much slower pace of life. The Ethiopian people love children and babies and stop often to admire their smiles or shower affection. I found myself wondering how many "every day" blessings I miss because I am too busy or rushed to get to the next thing. There is much beauty in these people - physically, yes, they are beautiful; but also in their warmth towards one another.
The landscape of Ethiopia is beautiful as well. I do wish we'd had more time to get outside of the city to see more of this, but even to look up into the mountains from the city you could see glimpses of Ethiopia's landscape.
The children, though.....oh, that is where my heart is. I tear up even beginning to remember them. How beautiful they are. Truly. My heart rejoices with the little ones who went home with their forever families, but aches for those left behind it. I mean it - I feel a physical ache remembering these little ones. The orphans, both on the street and in the orphanage, just longing for you to look them in the eyes and connect with them. Just wanting to be noticed and feel important....even if only for a moment. Leaving them behind is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I vowed that I would bring their story and tell it to others.....do you have room? I mean, really...? I really am asking you.....do you have room for one of these precious children to have a home and a family to call their own? Yes, I know it is expensive.....yes, I know it is an investment......yes, I know it will change your life and your own kids may have to make sacrifices.....you may have to do without something else or even borrow money to do it......But these children are real. They are just like yours and mine. It is tempting to let the distance act as a buffer and allow us not to digest the fact that there are children in this world who are hungry.....yes, physically hungry; but also hungry for love, attention, connection and family. There are really not many of reading this that can honestly say we don't have that to give.
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act"