After 3 solid days of travel, the team finally arrived in Gambella town. The drive alone from the airport was a clear indication this would be a very different experience than being in Addis. Dirt roads all the way into town and driving at a crazy speed-very exciting! The first day we settled in, took stock of our donations, had some delicious national Ethiopian cuisine at the hotel and then had a small break in the afternoon. Everything in Gambella, businesses, people, animals, etc. all take a break from 11 am – 3 pm everyday due to the heat. It’s incredibly hot, but the team is so great about everything even with this discomfort. In the afternoon we had the chance to walk around the town and walk down to the Baro River where the whole community gathers to wash clothes, wash their cars, wash their animals and wash themselves. It is quite the scene. We had such an amazing time walking around with the staff of Brothers and Sisters orphanage and seeing what life in Gambella is all about.
Then came our first day of real work. We were ready to sweat! After buying paint, the team was really excited to transform a few rooms at the home. We have a short work time each day to accomplish the painting because of the heat, but the team had a great attitude about the task before them.
While very hot, the team has been loving their time in Gambella. Everyone is going through about 5-7 liters of water a piece, a day and feeling fine. The painting at Brothers and Sisters really came together as the team worked on murals with an underwater theme. We thought it fitting with the Baro river so close by. Turned out great! It’s full of fish, crabs, bubbles and a guitar-yep a guitar, compliments of a social worker with Brothers and Sisters. Not sure how that fits in, but it sure did make for a good laugh!
The team spent a few more days on painting projects. Touching up the paint and cleaning the walls of the outside areas of the home and one of the larger bedrooms were all at the top of our list. It’s been all hands on deck, but we’ve made light work of it.
Our last few days we will work with Bethel church. The church desperately needs a fence around their building so the kids remain safe from the public road and as they play out in the yard while church is going on. The team also was recruited to do a program or service for the congregation before we leave. Ryan’s music skills really have come in hand!
Prayers are appreciated of course, but all is well and we are doing great here in Gambella. It’s been a really powerful trip thus far for all including myself.