Today the team was able to do some shopping in the morning at a local market. It was fun to see their bartering skills in action. Everyone was able to get some great souvenirs to share with their supporters, friends and family when they get home.
After the market we grabbed a bite to eat and then went off to buy some bananas and cookies to share with the youth at the Addis Ababa Youth Rehabilitation Center as well as the kids at a local orphanage in the city. We arrived first at the rehabilitation center where we were given a tour by the social workers who run the home and learned more about their mission. The center was established over 60 years ago at its current location and was created to be an alternative place for children to stay instead of prison if they committed petty crimes such as theft.
Today, the center houses about 100 youth ages 9-15 who may spend anywhere between a few days to a few years living on the premises. Sadly, many of the youth who come to the center are street children who have no family and often have hard, traumatic stories to share with the staff about their life before entering the center. For these youth, the center is a good alternative in that it provides food, shelter, education and counseling to help them rehabilitation back into normal life. That being said, the center has very little support either from the government or local NGO organizations and its limited resources mean poor conditions for the children and very few recreational activities to keep them occupied during the day outside of class and meal times. Although it was a small step, we were able to give some soccer balls, Frisbees and gym balls to the center today to help them provide more opportunity for the youth to have constructive, physical recreation during their time there.
After the rehabilitation center, we traveled to a local orphanage in Addis where the team had the chance to love on some kids that don’t necessarily have the same standard of care as the kids at Hannah’s Hope. The home is well run for the limited resources they have, but it’s always hard to see children living in an orphanage without necessarily knowing whether or not they will have a family in their future. The kids were a blast to spend time with! We enjoyed some good time particularly jump roping…an activity that Alex, Ava and Natalie really shined at. The kids had so much fun with the team!
We finished the day with the most amazing time at the cultural dinner. You would not believe how this team can dance. I seriously haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It was amazing! As proof I will eventually share a video clip of Kathy and Graham getting their Ethiopia dance on with one of the performers. Stay posted!