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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Around YFC

A little at a time I plan to show you some of the things that happen around the YFC compound.

After school each day at around 3pm lots of kids arrive from the local community. This is a place where they are loved and accepted, have fun and build relationships with leaders and other kids. Now that's a better alternative than being at home alone.

These kids are from poor families and each day YFC provides a nutritious snack. This day it was a cup of  drink. Its water added to ground roasted barley with a touch of sugar. Pretty healthy, sugar excluded!

The kids play games, like soccer, out in the tiny back paved yard. Here Amen is the referee and kids are kids wherever they they are.

They REALLY enjoy themselves.

The younger children spend time in the library where they are helped with their homework and can read books from the extensive range of books, mostly in English.

 and on rainy days, Yeti brings the snack to them while they are working at the tables. This day it was a flat bread of some sort.

 Lots of afternoons I will spend some time playing games with Meseret, one of the teenagers who comes most days. Meseret is a very smart and kind girl that I am getting to know and love. Some mornings she walks to pick me and then walks me to the YFC office. She takes me on all different routes because she has a far better knowledge of Addis and likes to show me around.

 Rummikib and Dominoes are her favourites so far, and our relationship is growing as we spend quality time together.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Food preparation in Ethiopia

Lots of things are not as simple here as they are at home.
If you buy a kg of lentils, or rice, or beans, or chick peas, or whatever, you don't assume that they are ready for use.  

 Before cooking, all debris or 'foreign bodies' need to be removed

either by hand

or by tossing

and blowing away.

I need a heap more practice at tossing the rice

but I managed to do a good job of picking all the stones and grit out of the lentils, chick peas and beans.

So glad I did because I came across some serious tooth breakers. Can you see that lighter coloured stone a bit bigger than a lentil just below centre middle? That would have been disastrous!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

My home in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and where I will be spending most of my time until 5th September.
I am staying at the SIM Guest House. SIM stands for 'Serving in Mission', formerly 'Sudan Inland Mission'. This is also headquarters for SIM in Ethiopia and a busy place with many very interesting people coming and going all the time. The compound and many of the buildings are 100 years old, and although they are showing their age, they have been quite well maintained. However, there are plans for rebuilding due to a rezoning of the area.

The bedrooms are simple and homely 


and on the wall of each room is a beautifully written Bible verse. 

In my first room I had a lot of trouble getting my power adaptors to stay in the sockets to charge my phone, computer and camera batteries. Also the fluoro tube wasn't working and nor was the bedside lamp and so for the first couple of nights I was using candle power and my headlamp. I managed but it wasn't really satisfactory for the longer term. And so I asked if I could move to another room and they were happy for me to move two doors along.

Here I have more space, power sockets that hold my adaptors firmly, two working lights

and a new Bible verse on my wall. Pretty happy.

Outside my window I can see a school and the kids arriving each morning

and lots of rooftops. This year I can't see all the people who live in the houses below as I could in Uganda.

The bathrooms are not too far along the corridor and around the corner. In the first five days I had two hot showers. One day there was no water and the other two it was cold. Things seem to have improved since then and I am thankful for the days when all is working well. 

 During the week I eat lunch with the team at YFC, but breakfast and dinner I prepare in the guest kitchen downstairs. It has all I need and more.

Having fridge space is a real bonus.

I am thankful to be here where I have access to so many of the things I will need to  manage well in Ethiopia. The staff are all really friendly, very accommodating and have welcomed me so well. Bonuses: my sheets and towels will be changed and my room will be cleaned once a week and my laundry will be washed, dried and ironed any week day I choose. All part of the deal. How good is that?!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Its so good to be part of the international YFC family

Over the weekend we had a visit from the Africa Area Director of Youth for Christ.
Hilary is from Sierra Leone but now lives in Ghana. I had met Hilary previously at our international gatherings and it was so good to connect again. He came to do training with the YFC Ethiopia Board.

 Hilary's presentation was excellent and he had the attention of the members of the board throughout the sessions. I too learned a lot about the role and activities of a YFC board and their responsibilities, and how they work alongside and relate with the National Director of the YFC ministry in each nation. I gained lots of new insights. 

Here are some of us posing outside the office on a lovely warm sunny Saturday (about 25 degrees C)

 As usual we enjoyed good African food over the time Hilary was with us. Here he and Alem, the National Director, are enjoying injera, their national dish. You'll see more of this later on. 

As always, I am impressed with the way YFC International takes care of the nations, building them up, equipping and strengthening them to carry out their mission and vision more effectively.

The Young Leaders took the opportunity to meet and be encouraged by Hilary while he was here with us in Ethiopia. What a fabulous bunch of young people these are.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Early days with YFC in Ethiopia

It's taken some time to sort internet connection. Maybe its sorted, at least for the moment. Hope so.
Part of my very warm welcome at the YFC office was this welcome banner. I had emailed a photo of myself to Alem, the national director, so that she would know who she was meeting at the airport. One of the guys made it into a banner. It was a lovely gesture. 

Here are some photos of my first day.

 It's very common in Africa to have lunch at your place of employment or ministry


and so we all ate outside together.

We ate spicy rice, potatoes with beans & garlic and avocado with onion & green chillis. It was yummy.

Afternoon tea was new for me and really healthy. It was a mix of boiled chick peas, maize, barley, beans and another pulse I didn't recognise! Nothing else added. A new taste sensation for me but I would be quite happy to have it again.

 We had a bit of fun together as we relaxed outside again


 Then it was time for some games to start to get to know a couple of the young people who come to the centre.

You don't need too much language to play games.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

On my way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Feeling pretty rested after the 14 hour flight from Melbourne direct to Dubai. I'm really thankful for a fairly unfilled aircraft and a whole row of seats to lay out on to sleep. Got to watch  the movie 'Spotlight' that had been on my 'to view' list. The Qantas staff were outstanding.

 Right now I am sitting in Departure Lounge 21 waiting for my next flight to Addis Ababa. I'm chatting with some young people and learning how to greet Ethiopians in their language, Amharic. If I want to say 'Hello' to a female I will say Selamnesh. If I am greeting a male I will say Salamne. I have no idea if the spelling is anywhere close, but the young people I'm chatting with don't know the English letters to correct me and Google Translate is not helpful. I did find a blog that has helped me with 'Thank you'. It's amaseganalehu. It might take me a couple of days to get my tongue around that one, but I'll need to master it.

The young guys I'm sitting with are soccer referees who have just been to Mauritius to referee the game between Mauritius and Ghana and right now they're on the Hillsong website listening to music. Good company, but our languages are not overlapping a lot :) Good practice for the next three months!

Just in case you're interested in the weather in Addis Ababa, just click on the blue link. Seems like mid-twenties during the days and cooler at night. Think I can manage that as I think of my friends and family back home in winter temparatures .

My free hour on the internet is about up so I'll hope and plan to be back here in a couple of days.