3/4/14 The Project Mercy compound, and Yetebon in general, are very safe places. So, early this morning I decided to head out for a walk outside the compound on my own. The trail around the compound is scenic and slightly isolated. About half way home, with my ear phones in, I was rounding the corner and literally ran straight into an elderly man. Not a big deal, except this man happened to be carrying a large knife. I jumped. He jumped. I jumped again and he laughed. Thank goodness smiles break all language barriers. This man was just walking to work. When we parted and walked our separate ways we were both laughing.
To explain what’s happening here at Project Mercy and why this place is so special, you have to meet the children who live here. There are 42 “house kids” living on campus. Most are orphans, the others were given up by their parents who could not provide for them.
Today Mark and I had the privilege to interview two of them. Tigist is 18 years old. Her parents died when she was young. She lived with her aunt until her aunt remarried and her step-uncle did not want her to live with them. Marta and Deme invited her to live here. That was eight years ago. Today Tigist is one of the top students in her class. She prays to God that someday she will be a pharmacist so she can help her people, just like her mommy and daddy, Marta and Deme.
Bechernet came to Project Mercy with his four younger siblings. They were living on the streets of Addis, barely surviving. Today Bechernet is one of the top students in the 7th grade. His English is incredible, and his compassion for others is outstanding. He still does his best to look after his four younger siblings as well as any other one of the kids here who may need help either in school or for some other reason. Berchenet, just like Tigist, hopes to one day serve his people. He wants to go to Harvard and study to be a surgeon. Tigist and Bechernet have overcome so much and are working so hard; I hope their prayers are answered. They deserve all of their dreams to come true.
Besides Jeff and Sally, I didn’t have the chance to meet any of the team members before we arrived in Ethiopia. I was a little nervous they would see me as not only a stranger, but a stranger with a very big camera! I’m happy “to report” we’ve grown very comfortable with each. Mark and I really feel like a part of the team; especially after tonight. Wednesday is laundry day. Each of us dropped off our dirty clothes in our pillow cases. When it came back, all of our clothes were mixed together. You know you’re part of great team when you’re folding each other’s underwear.