Brisk me away

Sunday, November 11, 2012

final thoughts (for now) on ethiopia.

so i've been home for a little over 2 weeks.  i am still trying to process all that i saw and learned there.  hands down this trip was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.  i have looked at my pictures no less than 50 times and prayed countless prayers for the staff and kiddos at onesimus.  my heart was moved and perspective on this "easy" life i live was given.  since i have been home, i have constantly been asking myself (and the Lord), "so what now?" it is impossible to go on a trip like this and not have it stir some kind of emotion while there, but now that i am home, what do i do with all that i saw and experienced?  what changes do i make in my daily life to show that i love Jesus with my whole being?  how can i be the hands and feet of Jesus without traveling half way around the world to hand out antibiotics and rub ointment on infected little cheeks and foreheads?  am i willing to love the least of these in a tangible way here in NWA?  what does this look like everyday?  what can i give up in my everyday life in order to give to others who have less?  all of these questions have been floating around my head since i've been home and honestly i don't have clear answers for any of it yet. 
here is what i do know.  i want this life that i am living to be about something more than me.  i want others to know that i love Jesus with all of my heart and i want to live so they can see it everyday.  at the end of my days, i want to know that this life i have lived impacted others for the Gospel and made a difference.  my tendency is to self-focus and i do not have this all figured out.  i am not good at these things, but i want to be better.  prior to the trip, i prayed constantly that the Lord would not let me leave Ethiopia unchanged.  now i am constantly praying that this stirring in my heart for those who have nothing will not go away and that i will be driven to do something about it. 
micah 6:8 has been on my mind a lot lately.  "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." 

ethiopia post 2--the pics

get ready for picture overload. i tried to narrow it down to just a few.  i really loved everything about this trip and could sit and look at these pictures daily.  as i said in a previous post, our team went to ethiopia through the james initiative, which is a local organization seeking to raise awareness and support orphan care.  they partner with an ethiopian organization called onesimus which is kind of like a christian boys and girls club for street children.  this ministry amazes me.  not only do they provide a safe place for these kids to come and be loved on by people who love Jesus, but they also reach the community around them in several ways.  the social workers at onesimus make home visits to see the parents (for the kids that have them) and provide support to them.  they have 3 halfway homes where some of the street children live.  they also sponsor a number of children to go to school because all education requires a fee to attend there.  the staff and volunteers at onesimus are some of the Godliest people i have met, pouring out daily on these kiddos that would probably otherwise not receive love in a tangible way.  they sacrifice their time and their personal living situations so that they can be a part of this organization.  they spend and are spent each day loving on these kids, but you would never know it the way they come each day with a smile on their face and a joyful spirit.  they are the hands and feet of Jesus.  i cannot praise this organization enough for the work they are doing and the way they are doing it.  i loved working alongside them for a week and hope that one day i will get to do it again. 

the joy of these kiddos was CONTAGIOUS.  please let me be joyful no matter my circumstances just as these kids are
these ladies are the BEST.  i loved working alongside them for the week.  sidenote: i was more nervous to travel half way around the world with people i barely knew than i was about any other part of this trip.  thank you God for these new found friendships!   

so much beauty in this picture. 
lots and lots of fingernails were painted after the girls saw the doctor...even some of the boys wanted their nails painted!  at first we said no, but how could we even resist the sweet smiles and "please?" they would give.  we drew the line at giving them pink polish though haha
dr. daniel on the far left and nurses getamesay and tigust on either side of me.  what a privelege to serve alongside others in my profession half way around the world

"chew this up and take a drink"  (insert ridiculous motions that i acted out to every child because i don't speak amharic. half of the fun of working in the pharmacy was laughing with the kids at how i tried to communicate with them.  charades has never been a game i'm good at)

one of my favorite pics of the week.  this sweet boy did this through our van window as we were loaded up to leave the church at Korah.  melt my heart.  the feelings were mutual.

as soon as we arrived at the church at Korah on sunday the kiddos latched onto us.  korah is a community located near the local dump.  the people who live here are very poor.  this sweet thing was my buddy for the better part of the morning.  i was in love with the full heads of curly hair on these little girls.  so precious.

ethiopians eat meals slowly and end with coffee.  so much is centered around relationships.  i loved this.  i wish our culture allowed for more sitting with others and less go go go.  also i will never complain about the opportunity to drink really great coffee after every meal.  :) did you know that coffee originated in ethiopia?  when in ethiopia, do as the ethiopians do right?  so i drank LOTs of coffee.  all things to all people right?  haha
i think i left my heart in this city.  praying that i get to return one day.

ethiopia part 1...because all of my thoughts cannot be contained in 1 post...

well i have been home from ethiopia for 2 weeks now so i think its time to do a trip update.  i have put this off a little because i feel like i lack the words to put together a post that coveys my feelings about the trip.  the short of it is that it was such a good trip.  for 3 of our days there we helped them put on a clinic for the street kids they reach.  we saw roughly 140 kiddos each day.  this was nuts!  by the 3rd day though we were like a well oiled machine, moving the kiddos through the stations fast!  the doctor who worked with us is an ethiopian who's specialty is in public health.  part of his job through the hospital he is employed by is to work clinics like the one we put on.  it was fascinating to talk with him and learn about healthcare in ethiopia.  here are some of the things i learned. 

-there are approximately 38,000 people to 1 doctor in addis ababa
-for preventative treatment, nurses make home visits.  2 nurses are responsible for making visits to approximately 5000 homes.  they are also responsible for the follow up from these visits.
-nurses working in the hospitals make approximately $125 per month.
-the infant mortality rate in addis (which is one of the most civilized areas of ethiopia) is 700 babies for every 100,000 born
-the top killers among children in addis are tuberculosis, complications from HIV and nutritional deficits

some of the main problems among the kiddos we saw were intestinal parasites, fungal skin infections, and infection related to rotten teeth.  all of these problems are related to unsanitary living conditions and nutritional deficits.  it was so sad to me to see this, knowing that the fix we gave them would most likely be short term only since we weren't fixing the source of the problem.  this was really hard. these kiddos have never known what its like to go to the doctor when they are sick let alone go for well child check-ups.  the luxury of being able to afford to go to the doctor when i am sick is something that i know i take for granted.  throughout the week we passed out lots and lots of vitamins and worm medicine.  going into the trip, we didn't take many supplies with us, with the intention of buying what we would need from local pharmacies.  i loved that we did this.  it allowed us to pour into the local economy and bless some of the local business owners.  we made fast friends with the pharmacist across the street from onesimus and made several visits to her throughout the week as we ran out of supplies.  it was so fun to see her beaming as we walked through the door!  business was booming for her that week!  i also really liked that we did it this way because it ensured that we were using supplies that could actually be available to them later on since we know they carry them locally. 

i am really thankful to have had the opportunity to use the skills i learned in school to help others where medical care isn't readily available.  i can't tell  you how fulfilling it was passing out vitamins, rubbing ointment on sweet little faces and giving drinks of water to these kiddos.  if ever you get the opportunity to go on a trip like this, GO.  it changes your outlook on life and shifts your perspective.