It’s hard to believe than a little over a week ago I was packing up my little beach side studio in France and getting ready to go to a place that couldn’t be more different. I have been in Ziway, Ethiopia for five days now and I am sitting at the only internet cafe in town, trying to write a little something on what I have seen, smelt, heard, and felt up till now. We arrived in Addis Abeba at 5am and loaded into a truck that would take the group of volunteers the rickety three hour drive to the town we would be living in for the next month. We are staying at a mission of a group of nuns who fund and run the school we are volunteering at. From the very first day, we have been singing, laughing, playing games, and doing embroidery with over 450 girls who come every day for a type of day camp…

Every week in the news, all we hear about is the poverty and misery that invades this continent. It breaks your heart to see the images we are shown, but since being here I have seen nothing but happy and incredibly vivacious children, every single day! It doesn’t matter what you say, they cling on to your every word, are constantly wanting to braid your hair, and always teaching us their incredible dances.
With over 450 girls, it is sadly impossible to remember all their names… and they love to test you by asking constantly: “What is my name?” and I have to embarassingly answer “I don’t remember”. I am gradually getting better though and today learnt a girl’s name which is ‘Negaste’ which means ‘freedom’ in their local language. And I have almost learnt all 30 names of the kids in my group.
I’m sad that I can’t write any more as the internet cafe is now closing… but I wanted to share my first impressions with you, no matter how few and far between these posts may be!
  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/0885b548-c02c-11e0-8179-000bcdcb8a73 0885b548-c02c-11e0-8179-000bcdcb8a73

    Ardena!! Wow! What an amazing experience this is! I think that it is so great that you are giving your free time, energy, money, and so much more to help those who need it most! I’ll be thinking of you and your experiences and hope that one day I’ll be able to do something similar through nursing. :) Lots of prayers coming your way from the U.S.!! Keep us posted!

    Jessica Altenberg

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00656272780835996241 Leah R.

    450 girls–that’s a lot!! I’m so excited for your Ethiopia experience. Take lots of pictures. I want to hear all your stories when you get back :)