Monday, October 10, 2011

EthiopiaSmile 2011 - Day 8

I woke up Saturday - after the best night's sleep yet - feeling a little bittersweet. It was my last day in Ethiopia... and that always comes with mixed emotions. On one hand - I was about to get to see my girls who I was missing TERRIBLY. On the other hand - I was leaving the country I loved so much...

But the day wasn't over yet.

The resort we stayed at in Awassa was GORGEOUS. It was situated on a gigantic lake and it offered an amazing view. I ate a quick breakfast and then took a stroll around to try and soak it all in.

Soon it was time to pile back in to the Land Rovers for our drive back to Addis. 6 hours and two roadblocks with full body pat downs later we were back at the hotel. There must be something intoxicating about the overwhelming smell of diesel fuel, the vast openness of the African landscape and rhythmic bumpity bumpity of the car that just wipes you out - cuz by the time we arrived at out hotel I felt like I had literally run there. I was drained.

But there was little time to rest because a small group of us went to hang out with Ephrem and his street kids. One of the team members had gotten a ton of soccer jerseys so we were going to hand them out and get a little game of soccer going on....

These guys were SUPER proud of their new clothes.

It's always a blast to play soccer with these guys - even though they play on a gigantic concrete parkway. No diving allowed!

It was way cool getting to catch back up with my friend Ephrem and soon enough we were heading back to our hotel to pack up for our final team dinner and our journey home.

After a ton of hugs at dinner - I found myself waiting to board the plane back at the airport. About 20 hours later I was clearing customs in Washington DC and paying the extra $50 bucks for an earlier-than-planned flight to Atlanta.

What a welcome site to see my girls walking towards me - and to watch Meron spot me and break into a run towards me while yelling "Daddy!" I was home. Tired. Beat down. But a better person than I was when I left.

Big huge thanks to everybody who prayed for us, prayed for my girls, watched over my girls and generally supported us. You guys were a HUGE blessing. Couldn't have even started this journey without ya!


Donna said...

Enjoyed the trip with you. Oh and I didn't even have to leave my comfortable seat here. Glad there are folks like you fighting the good fight for us lazy ones ;)

emariestar said...

I really enjoyed reading about your great to hear all that God is doing in Ethiopia! Praying about what is next for our family...