A Wonderful Epiphany Day

Today was Epiphany Day in Ethiopia which meant the yesterday evening the party started with a kind of a parade.  The Orthodox Church leaders walked down the streets carrying very richly adorned umbrellas. Crowds of people gathered in the streets to sing, chant, and dance along the route. In the evening the chanting/singing/praying started over the loudspeakers from the churches.  It went all night long and into today. Fortunately, down in the basement where we sleep, it wasn’t so loud to keep you awake.  Joe and Alyssa on the upper two floors were not so fortunate. I had stayed up last night after watching Man of La Mancha and had a good visit with Erika and the children.  One of the hardest parts of this job is being away from them for these extended periods of time. 

I drove Lloyd over to the hotel to meet with Wally this morning, and the streets were almost bare of cars. People were starting to walk towards the churches for today's celebrations. The women were all dressed up in their white dresses & matching shawls with gold trim.  The men were mostly dressed in their dark suits. The younger generation wasn't dressed up as much, but they made up for that with their enthusiastic chanting and dancing!

About noon, we headed over to "Where Love Is" boys home to finish building the shelves. Joseph helped one group, I helped another, and Evan kept the rest of them entertained by twisting up long balloons into shapes. With the routine down, things went really well and we were able to go a lot faster. We finished the last shelf by about 5:00pm and Joseph took pictures of the boys with their shelves. Most of them took the time to carefully fold the few clothes that they have, and place them on the shelves. One group didn’t want their picture taken until they had all of the clothes just right. We built six shelving units for clothes, and two larger ones for books. Each of the three boys assigned to each shelving unit built their own with coaching from Joseph and I.  I don’t think that I have ever heard thank you so many times in one day.{Erika: "How touching! I love to hear of the gratitude the boys have from these simple pleasures."}

We gathered all of the boys in the big room and Joseph opened the big suitcase full of books.  They were all really excited and quickly put them on the new bookshelf.  The boys gathered together to read for awhile, and then half of them went outside and played soccer with Joseph.  I am really worn out from the bending and squatting and lifting that it took to build the shelves. 

Joe came and picked us up to take us back to the office/home. We crowded into the small cab waved good-bye to the boys, then headed home. When we got home, our housekeeper, Wesson, cooked for all of us. She made two sauces: one with chicken and hard boiled eggs (dura wot) and one with lamb.  I was very hungry and she is an excellent cook so I had two helpings.  It was spicy but very good.