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Best Worst Trip Journal: Ethiopia Day 4 – Washed by the Water

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Today we left the big city poverty of Addis Ababa and drove two hours in a cramped SUV to a place called Yaya Gulele.  It rained the entire trip but we had it far better than the people walking or sitting along the road side in the shivering rain.  You almost feel guilty asking the driver to turn up the heat…so I had Zach ask
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Between dodging crater sized pot holes that would make the moon jealous and avoiding run away donkey’s I saw most of the trip peeking through my hands that were covering my eyes.  This is place is so far out you could search for days and not find the middle of nowhere, but is is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
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I always wonder why such and amazing canvas serves as the background for such severe poverty.
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This is my second trip to Africa and the second time that the face of a child will forever be etched in my memory. 
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A nameless girl standing in the rain with a smile that cut through the gloom.  She followed us most of the day as we stumble and slipped our way through the thick mud streets of her village.  I know I will never see her again but she gave me a gift today as I thought about the beautiful smile of my daughter back home.  The dad in me wanted to scoop this angel up and take her far away from this desolate place and give her a life she could never even dream of but I can’t do that.  So the next best thing is making sure that she and the thousands of other kids in Ethiopia get sponsors to give them a shot at a better life.
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Later we went to visit the home of a World Vision Sponsored kid.
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He was seven years old and tiny due to a heart problem but the amazing thing was because he has a World Vision Sponsor his mother told us he is getting the medicine he needs to live.  It was great to see first hand, the system working in the field.  We also got to spend a little time playing and giving out gifts we brought

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He loved playing with the ball that Dan and Kaylah gave him, but sadly, because of his heart condition had to stop playing after only a few minutes. 

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As we were were playing we noticed a small group of people walking down the street.

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As we took a closer look we noticed it was a casket being carried on the shoulders of a few men.  When we asked why no one was very emotional they said it was because it happens here a lot.  The average life span is only 49 so sadly that trip down the street is made all too often.

One thing I will never forget was as we were visiting with a family, sitting on the dirt floor of their dark house, we noticed a kitten. 

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I remember feeling bad for this skinny little kitten thinking what is he going to eat?  Who is going to take care of him…then I looked down at the feet of the KIDS standing right in front of me. 

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Instant perspective…forget about the cat.   Who is going to take care of these kids? 

As we left this village and drove on there was this constant cracking sound that would echo throughout the valley.  It was ridiculously loud.  It almost sounded like gun fire.  As we got closer we could see it was the crack of the whip of the local cattle herders so we stopped and they gave me a lesson in how to use a bullwhip

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I know it looks like I am whipping the child but I am not.  As it turns out it is a better wally whip than a bullwhip.
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I hit myself several times with it.  These young cattle herders got a kick out of the big dumb guy who could not crack a whip.  It was such a cool experience but something really stood out to me that was louder than the crack of the whip.  As I was leaving I taught them how do give hi fives.  One by one as their little hands hit mine I couldn’t help but notice the calloused texture of their sandpaper-like palms as each would slide over my hand.  These kid’s hands tell the story of the daily hardship of their lives.   
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All in all it was an amazing that that further deepened my resolve to help these kids have a better life.  Not a life with flat screen TV’s and Wii’s but with clean water and education so that they can make life better for the next generation
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