The Lunch Lady

Day 3 here in Ethiopia was really like Day 1 since I slept through the first 48 hours. After organizing our supplies late into the evening, we spent the morning waiting on a vehicle. And, about the time we gave up and decided to tackle a task within walking distance, the van showed up, only to leave while I was in the bathroom.

Yes, left in the bathroom. I know what you’re thinking, but I only went number 1 and opted for time-saving hand sanitizer because there was no towel. And, it’s not like I was part of a large group that could easily lose one of its team members. There were just 10 of us! When I emerged from the bathroom, the receptionist screamed out in horror. Terrified, I checked myself for blood and spiders but quickly understood what had happened when she called one of the fortunate staff members on board, and they turned the bus around.

As it turns out, getting left behind has its perks: riding shotgun, which means eating very little dust along the way.

Our goal today was to set up 2 facilities in the Mission Ethiopia site (i.e. place of employment and empowerment for at risk individuals) at Korah, the literal trash dump where 130,000 people live.

One room was being turned into a store to display and sell items made by the women (and one man) at the site. We wanted to make it beautiful…something for them to be proud of. Why is there a jewelry store in the trash community? I mean, people who live and forage for food amongst the garbage probably find their accessories there too, right? Not in a make-shift store. Well, mission teams and individuals are coming in weekly to visit with the ladies, serve them, worship with them, learn about them, etc. The last stop on their little tour of sorts will be this store where they can purchase items to support the ministry.

The plan for the other room, which is currently being used as a soup-kitchen-like cafeteria that serves two items to children who sit on benches and eat from their laps, was to turn it into a childcare center for the younger kids of the women at the site.



These rooms were pretty much plywood with a small low-quality chalkboard on one end. Look at 'em now!

Mission accomplished. In less than 6 hours. Thanks to a slew of Americans and Ethiopians working with us.

This is a picture of the lunch ladies and one of the gals who helped me serve lunch to the kiddos. We told the ladies to sit back and relax while we handled the food line. During lulls in ladling out that sauce, the women were schooling me in Amharic, teaching me words and meticulously correcting my pronunciation. Sheesh! However, I had a blast.

The lunch room in use.

Ooh, I did peeve off a few kids with the amount of food I poured for them. One girl shot me the stink eye right there in line because I gave her too much food and didn’t avert her eyes until she reached her seat where she could tell her friends about the new gal who wasn’t doing it right.

Got my first shower tonight, even though my odor was barely noticeable.

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