Best Worst Trip Journal: Ethiopia Day 3 – The Pottery Barn

Today started off with a trip to the Ethiopian Pottery Barn. As you can see it doesn’t look anything like ours. There are no gingham curtains or dust ruffles, (scary that, as a man, I know what gingham and dust ruffles are), but it was amazing none the less. It seems odd that poverty has a hierarchy and in this society the people in the region we visited who make pottery were seen by others as the lowest of the low. These women sit on a dirt floor in a dark hut and make pottery all day long. They feel blessed to make the less than a dollar a day they are bringing home. World Vision helped them form a pottery co-op and now they have a business that is starting to grow not only monetarily but it is also changing the way these people are seen in their society and that will pay huge dividends down the road for their children.

Pottery plate
I could not help but buy this one of a kind, hand painted plate. It set me back all of three dollars. Of course I had to talked her down…just kidding. I actually paid her more than she was asking.

Whiffle 1
One of my favorite things to do is help kids just be kids for a minute. Many kids have to work to help support their family so there is little or no time for play. For many years kids in Ethiopia have been seen as assets to help the family make money, that is one of the reasons they have such big families. However, it is an attitude that is slowly starting to change. This truly is my favorite part of the day as you watch sullen faces light up when something as simple and cheap as a whiffle ball and bat form the dollar store are brought out.

Whiffle taunt
I couldn’t understand what that kid was saying but I know he was talking some serious trash.

The last stop of the day was at a school that was proud of the new Latrine they had built for the kids. This thing makes campground bathhouses look like the marble and gold restrooms at the Plaza. I would probably cover my daughter from head to toe in hand sanitizer if she had to use that latrine but this is the harsh reality of life for these kids in Ethiopia, and remember the kids that get to use these facilities are the lucky ones.

Today I took one for the team…The soccer team. I have been very vocal in my criticism of soccer as a professional U.S. Sport on air, but today I put all that aside and enjoyed the purest version of the game on a gravel field with sharp rocks and no grass, with kids who just wanted to play. I bent it like Beckham, unfortunately, it was my ankle that I bent like Beckham but I gave it my best.

Soccer stomach

Goal! Goal!  GAG! That is one white stomach.  You are just lucky we didn’t play shirts and skins.

Group kid smile
Those moments of happiness are so cool but so fleeting. I am consumed by the thought as we pull away that my life will get better because I have the luxury these kids don’t have of being able to leave all this behind.

Poverty kid solo
It reminds me of a song called “Helicopters” that is about a band who visited a third world country and how they processed what they saw and leaving it behind
“This is only half a mile away from the attack. 
This is where my life changed in a day
And then it changed back…
just as soon as we were on the ground
We were back in the jet.  
Just another three day foreign tour we’d never forget. 
It’s hard to sympathize with all this devastation
Hopping ’round from site to site like tourists on vacation…”

Pottery girl bw

When you see this stuff, and you don’t have to see it first hand, you can see pictures and know that it exists. It forces you to make a choice.  Will I allow this to continue or will I help change the world one child at a time?  The choice is yours.

If you want to see more photos from Ethiopia check out

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