Much needed projects have been undertaken in remote places in Ethiopia through the hard work, love and dedication of the Living Waters Mission Team over the past years. Amongst these, the team has worked on the building of houses and schools, and the maintenance of them; as well as grinding mills and projects to help provide clean water to people living in very poor villages. Lisa Pace talks about their latest visit and explains what a touching experience it has been, both for the people there as well as the members of the team…
“This year, besides visiting for 5 weeks between July and August, the Living Waters Mission Team was invited to hold special programmes for youths in two separate areas: Bonga and Arramo, in the week leading to Pentecost Sunday, on June 8th. The team included six members, four of whom visited Ethiopia for their first time!
Our first day was spent in the capital, Addis Ababa, where we were welcomed by a Maltese nun who has been running a school and orphanage for over 45 years. During our first few hours in Ethiopia, we already experienced the first glimpses of life in this country. The streets of the capital are chaotic and filled with people who seem miserable. Here is the place where many people from all over Ethiopia come in the hope of a better future but regrettably end up begging on the streets.
The new members also had their first encounter with the children, who seem to be all over the country. In this case they were the talkative, clingy children residing at the orphanage beneath our rooms. However, expect to come across children everywhere, even in the midst of dense jungles where we sometimes stop to stretch our legs during our long, long trips. Even there you still find children peeping out of bushes or plucking up the courage to come up to our van asking for birr (Ethiopian currency), or Highland (Ethiopian bottled water). I am always amused by their cheeky little faces.
Leaving Addis behind, we headed for Bonga, an area where the team had completed several projects during its first years. One hour outside the outskirts of the gloomy capital, we were all mesmerised by the stretch of beautiful green landscape. Having arrived at our first destination some nine hours later, we were all happy to settle in our compound. We soon met the priests who serve in this vicariate, all of whom treated us like family and went out of their way to make us feel as comfortable as possible. Besides the priests, each compound has a number of workers and helpers who soon befriended us and helped out with anything we need.
On the second day we started what was to become a marathon of adventures and project-seeing. Together we visited most of the villages – sometimes requiring a four-hour mule ride – and reported on the condition of projects; from grinding mills, to schools and water projects. When one considers the limitations imposed by lack of transport, skills and funds, we were glad to see that most projects weathered the damages caused over time. Sunburnt and slightly bruised, we were never deterred from praying and sharing our views on the days’ events. Accompanied by guitar and a good supply of our favourite songs, we gave thanks and praise every evening…much needed fuel for the next day’s evangelisation programme.”