Ethiopia April 2010 Mission trip

April 2010 Hopethiopia Mission Trip Review

The following document gives a review of the mission trip details and findings from April 15th – April 27th 2010.

April 15th 2010

Departure from Calgary. Called to confirm my booking on Air Canada and was informed that my flight had been cancelled later that evening due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. LHR was shut down. I quickly called reservations and they were able to reschedule my flight on Lufthansa early that afternoon from Calgary to Frankfurt. When I got to the airport I had to deal with the most miserable Air Canada agent, she was really unpleasant and not a good representative.

April 16 2010

The flight took 12 hours and had to be routed south due to the ash clouds and we could not land at Frankfurt and were rerouted to Munich. We landed at the airport but since all flights were rerouted here the runways etc were littered with airplanes and no crew to offload the bags. We had to sign forms that the airlines would send on our bags at a later date.

I walked out of the gates into the central terminal to try and book trains to London. Waited a few hours in line up with people from New Zealand and Scotland. Finally got to the agent and they said almost everything going to Paris and London was booked. I booked a high speed train 3 days later (Sunday) to Cologne – Brussles – and London via Eurostar (for about 475 euro’s). Then I took the subway link train into Munich, Hof Bahn Hof, to find a hostel, took about 45 mins.

Got into Munich and found the Euro Hostel just a couple of blocks from the central train station. Really nice with great people, cost about 30 euro’s per night, shared accom. with 2 other guys. I also found out that there was a huge heavy equipment conference in town, a month long beer fest, and all the stranded passengers. Thus the whole town was pretty well booked up.

From there I went to the train station and decided that London may not be the best place to go since the flights might be shut down for a while and that maybe I should go south. On speculation I booked train tickets though Germany to Austria and on to Rome the next day so that I might be able to catch a flight on Ethiopian to Addis.

Since I only had carry on bags with me I went shopping at the local CMA store etc. and bought a new suitcase and clothes. A great selection of stuff but a bit expensive and I had to try to guess what I would need to wear for both business meetings in Addis as well as field work in Harbu Chulule.

Spent the next few hours doing emails at the hostel next the bar the people screaming and yelling and singing beer songs at the fest. Went to bed and then got up the next morning to buy a few more things and got on the train at 11:30am.

April 17th 2010

From there travelled through the mountains, a very beautiful trip like the “Rocky Mountain Express” and ended up going through Innsbruck and then on to Verona. Changed trains and then on to Rome. The trains were by now very busy and fully booked. I got into Rome at about 10:30 and had to get to the airport as time was running out until the flight that I was not confirmed on was to leave at 12:30am. About a 45 min drive from Rome central station to the airport.  I rented a private Mercedes cab and he got me there in 20 mins. One very crazy ride and I am sure that were driving at least twice the speed limit all the way, but an awesome experience!!. We drove by the Coliseum at night as well as many other historic sites.

I got to the airport and checked into the ticket counter of Ethiopia airlines. I explained that I was booked to leave on the 19th but had tried to get my flight  rescheduled to the 18th and Haymanot etc. had given me a priority booking if available. I dealt with 2 of the best agents ever and they made it super easy for me. Wow, what a relief. I got to the gate, sent a few emails and left Rome.

April 18th 2010

Arrived in Addis after a 5 ½ hour flight and got off the plane, picked up my bags and went through customs etc with not one problem or question. Met Mersea and Shiffe.

Went to Brian and Val’s place and dropped my bags and headed over to pastor Dawit’s church. They showed us around the newly built facility and introduced us to different pastors and members. They have 6 full time pastors at this location, with a couple of Elders. One of the Elders was our guide and he was also to be my interpreter for the service. He is also a medical doctor and when we explained the plans for the health care mission he was very interested and wanted to participate.

The service started  with awesome praise and worship. I then preached the message on the “Call of God” to about 3000 or so people. 3 types of people:1. Those that have never heard to call, 2. Those that have heard it and or, or are not following the call, and 3. Those that have heard the call a long time ago and have just forgotten it.  I then did an alter call and also asked if any wanted prayer for the call that God would speak to them. I knew that I was supposed to be there to do it and that was part of the whole experience getting there from Munich to Rome and finally getting there on time. The church has grown rapidly and is in approx 30 locations with over 100,000 members.

We had a quick lunch and then went to the orphanage north of Addis to visit the kids and to talk with the old man that took care of the facility. He showed us around and explained how everything worked and talked about the Spanish group that had built the facility “Azurlor”?? They have built 2 buildings and will be back to build other buildings later in the year. I explained how my bags were all stuck in London and that I had nothing to give them this time but that I would be back in July and that I would bring them then. I asked about us coming to do a sports camp with the kids and also that a team from Nashville would be available. Also if there were lots of rain could we use some of the new class rooms to do crafts etc. He said that would be great and that all the kids would be there. At the moment the kids from k – grade 9 are there (approx. 55) then the other 35 high school students would be there in the summer.

Went to the Sheraton to work on emails and then to bed.

April 19th 2010

Got up early to meet at Elephant Walk and then called president Girma to make sure that all was on for the meeting. He was great and we drove over at 9:30am. We talked about an update for the Hopethiopia project and I told him that most everything was held up due to the processing of the iNGO. We then talked reforestation etc. He said that there were some government nurseries in HC and that we should look at them to see if we could use them.  He also started to mention about some other connections to our plans. David of an Acacia reforestation initiative who has been doing this for a while raising Acacia’s. He called him and connected us. We will connect in the future. Then we talked about youth programs and leadership training and he got the contact info for his friend that is starting up the scouting movement. The movement did operate for many years and then fell apart during the Durj (communist era). It now has started again and is over 30,000 people involved. He connected me with his contact and I mentioned that I would like to meet with him some time in the future.

I mentioned that Dawit and Tim were coming up from Awassa to check out the reforestation project and he remembered talking with Dawit when Kev and I were in Awassa. We talked about the Hot Springs project and said that we would try to get there if possible.

I mentioned that Aunt Olive and my family had sent greetings and he talked about how he recently had honored about 250 seniors at the palace. It sounded like they had all had a great time.

After meeting for about 2 hours we said goodbyes and I said that I looked forward to meeting him the next time.

After leaving the Palace we went to the Hilton so that I could write up a letter that Berihun from Foreign Affairs was asking for. Mersea, Shiffe, and I had lunch and I wrote up the letter about how we were for all groups of Ethiopian citizens no matter what faith, color, creed etc. We then crossed the street to the ministry of FA and met Berihun for about an hour. Initially he was a bit reserved with no smiles but then he lightened up and we had a good time. He did mention about the inappropriate actions and intentions of some NGO’s. We listened and absorbed the important info and advice. I said I wished that the NGO’s would just fulfill what they are called to be, NGO’s. He said that most things were in order and he would go over the final details and let us know if any last things were required. He also went over the details of what the next steps would be at the Charities and Societies directorate. We said our goodbyes and left.

From there we went to meet with Sammy at the SIM compound about using their volunteer mission guest house. He showed us around and told us that they are all booked up for July but that there should be space in Nov 2010.

Then we went to meet with Taye and had a very good visit at his office. We went through the updates of the project and he mentioned how it would be good to come up with an area development plan. He said that he could arrange to do this if required. He wants to help in whatever capacity he can.

From there we went to meet at the “Family Restaurant” with two of the brothers of ETent. Tekalign and Mersea met with us and they were great. They explained their background and how their parents had grown up as very young missionaries. They all follow a similar call for the kingdom and are great people. Mersea is an architect and working on the designs for the resort project at lake Awassa. He had lots of great ideas for incorporating traditional designs with new materials and techniques.. Tekalign  has a network and computer hosting background. Their sister, who was not there, is an electrical engineer. We had a great meeting and they were very excited about possibilities for the future and “Tekky” wanted to connect with Kev.

I then went to the Sheraton to work on emails.

April 20th 2010

We went to meet with the people at the Canadian embassy. Very good access after clearing security at the embassy. Meaghan Byers met us. She is the head development officer with CIDA. She has been in Addis since September 2009 and is a mom of 2 young children and her husband stays at home to look after the kids. She will likely have a term there at the embassy for 3 years. We presented who and what Hopethiopia is and what our plans are. We then discussed all the connections and possibilities with CIDA and what the process for application is and the levels of accountability. She will send us all the details and cooperate with us.  She also mentioned that the staff at the embassy also do their own fundraising activity for a project and that they might be interested in sponsoring Hopethiopia. Will contact her later. Also Meaghan mentioned that the embassies have a joint funding of special projects up to $50,000.00. We can apply for that and also the individual embassies have funding for projects that can be applied for by all NGO’s.

She was sorry that things did not work out to meet ambassador Levesque and that we could do that at a later date. I enquired about ambassador Graham that I met last year and she was sorry to inform me that she had died suddenly of a recurrent brain cancer.

We then went to meet with the Oromia minister of Social, Women’s and Children’s affairs (a friend of Adanech). Had a great talk with her and she explained the process of watching and monitoring orphanages etc. She is a good friend of Adanech and is willing to help Hopethiopia. She talked about the orphanage north of Addis that we have visited and some of the problems that they have been having. They were not following through on some of the expectations and ran into some problems. We talked about the Hopethiopia project and she explained that she grew up in Tulu Bolo. She came from a very poor family and did not have shoes to wear to school. By studying hard and getting some opportunities she made it through college, and then on to the Oromia government. We will continue to keep in contact in the future.

We then went on to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to meet with Abeba, the secretary to the President of CBE. We passed on to her Melaku’s letter and gift and then met with the vice preident of CBE and explained a bit out NGO. He explained how busy things were and on the process that the bank uses for submissions for partnerships. Was not particularly ready to connect us to the president on Sunday. Exchanged cards and left.

After this we were called by Berihun at Foreign Affairs to get some extra documents. He wanted to make sure that our agenda was not connected to the Assemblies of God church. A couple of recommendations were from pastor Workneh, of the Philadelphia Assemblies of God church in  Calgary, and from Pastor Tolesa. I wrote up letters that we had no connection to these organizations whatsoever, particularly with respect to finances and vision. We went back and forth a couple of times and submitted them to the office across form the Hilton.

Bought a CMDA card for Mersea and discussed how he could now use the internet from home and not have to travel for 18km, one way, and pay for all the extra expenses and time. When we return we can get a CMDA card for the macs, will need to get a “Hawaii” card. Talk with Tim Trier as he has the details..

Then we met with Dr. Jemal’s second in charge to discuss the health care centre and the details required to bring over a mission team of professionals. They are very excited to work with us, as well as involving Ethiopian nationals. We will have to provide details of the health care program as well as the credentials of the care giver professionals on the team. He was very supportive.

From there Mersea dropped me off at the Hilton so that I could meet with Pastor Getahun and his Doctor partner. We talked about the different aspects of ministry and how their church was growing. Pastror Getahun shared how he was living in Texas and how he met his wife, she came to visit the USA, they got married, and was then asked to leave. He applied for earl citizenship , and then she could stay. She then was dx with ovarian cancer and lost her reproductive organs.

When they came back to Ethiopia for a visit in 1999, he saw 2 small kids on the road fighting for a scrap of food. His heart broke and he started his ministry “Bright Hope”. They are now over 300,000 members strong in many locations. They are very interested in working with us. He was originally given the opportunity to take over the orphanage in Wando Genet. Pastor Brihano took over the project when he felt threatened and turned to town against Getahun. They also are partnered with the Buckner foundation and have a school project in Bantu. Pastor Getahun and his wife have 4 children, all orphan’s.

The doctor that came with pastor Getahun was great and he shared how he also went to the USA, is a US citizen, and now lives in Ethiopia with his family. He had a prophetic vision a few years ago and  saw a cloud descend on Addis. The vision was so strong that the whole church was impacted by a very strong move of the HS for a period of time. They are now looking to build a “Revival Centre” and have heard a number of prophetic words how Ethiopia is the most bound with strongholds of all African nations. If the strongholds are broken and there is freedom and revival then there will be revival all over Africa. The doctor is also getting his Master’s in theology and wants to also get his Cardiac specialty.  He is very excited about the opportunity of joining our health care team in Nov and will also get some of his friends to join us.

April  21st 2010

Today we left Addis and travelled to HC to start meetings. The first meeting was held with the town administration including the: regional administrator, Huruma Mechesa, the regional Oromia administrator, and local leaders and farmers, etc.  I had brought lots of previous pictures for them to look at and they all had a good laugh. I explained where we are at the moment, what we have been doing in Addis, where we stand with the iNGO, why things have been taking so long, and then what the different aspects of the program are. In part 1 we discussed the coming mission teams: 1. Community team in July and 2. Health Care team in Nov. I went through all the different aspects of these teams and asked if they had any questions. They were all super supportive and couldn’t wait for us to start and bring support and hope to the community.

I then went into part 2 where I discussed the future land use projects ranging from the reforestation project to the community building projects. I talked about the 2 possible locations for the reforestation nurseries: 1. Just north of the town site close to where the mosque is, 2. Down in the river valley just south of town where president Girma said there was a previous nursery that Kevin and I had seen. We said that we would go check out the sites on Thursday when Dawit and the ERP team arrive. I also mentioned how the plans would be to have a site that is about 1 hectare for the nursery and 1 hectare for the brick building facility.

In regards to home and structure building I said that we still have to go through lots of approvals and that this planning will take a while.  They mentioned that they wanted advice what to do about their farmland and I asked them about crop planting and harvest. Crops are planted early July and harvested 3 months later in Sep to Oct. I mentioned that most likely we would not build homes before then and  that they could continue farming. However, we may want to reserve the north nursery / brick facility. They asked lots of great questions and then we passed out candies and treats and they had a good time. Again they thanked us very much and we concluded the meeting.

We were called by Berihun at Foreign Affairs and he congratulate us on the fact that we has met all requirements and that he had approved them all and passed them on the minister of FA too be stamped.

We then went over to the health centre to meet the administrator. We met in his office and he explained who he was and told us about the centre. We talked about bringing a mission team and he was very enthusiastic. We asked lots of questions and then discussed the possibility of bringing a team in July to paint the facility along with youth and young adults from the community. He was very excited about this possibility.

We then went over to the main facility to take exterior pictures and video and said that we would provide questions for the health officers and staff to answer for our teams.

Once completed we left HC and went to Wolisso to check in at the Balay Hotel and eat at Negash.

April 22nd 2010

Today we met up with the Eden reforestation team led by Dawit Kebede, and joined by his wife Sisay  and Tim Trier. Ewe ate breakfast in Tulu Bolo and then left for Harbu Chulule to check out the reforestation sites.

We first stopped at the north site just north of the town. Here we looked at the possibility of developing a nursery and brick making facility. There is ample land available and the soil conditions are good. We then went to the administration office and met with Huruma and the comm.. officer. TekalinThey accompanied us to the existing government nursery sites down at the south end of town by the river. The first site we visited, South site 1 was upstream from the bridge going east. There were 3 nursery plots, 2 growing eucalyptus and one was empty. All were available with a total area of 90 m x 35 m. The sites are all well bordered by good trees and are separated by two rows to make the 3 plots. They are directly next to the river so water access is excellent.

We then walked over to the South site 2 which is just downstream from the bridge. This is also a larger single area that has 7 columns and 20 rows per each column. Calculation is this approx. 1.4 million seedlings that could be grown. Size of this single area is approx. 90m x 35m. Also next to this area, just downstream, is another open area that could be used for storage, materials, training etc. and has a measurement of about 55m x 40m. The town water well and water pump also appears to be just downstream, of this area. Again this nursery is directly next to the river.

From here we went to the hillsides above the river valley to get a good perspective of the magnitude of the area to be reforested.

We then travelled to Bantu to check out the Buckner / Bright Hope memorial school and then went to the Health Centre. This is also a type A centre and is almost identical to the one in HC. The health officers were able to answer a few questions and said that the visiting medical teams from Texas work out of the school but not really in the health centre. We were not able to visit the Hot Springs as no one seemed to know where it was and we made the decision to visit it on another day to investigate the reforestation potential. Apparently the road is in very poor shape.

Berihun at FA called us to say that the project documents and application had all been signed and that they were now at the Charities and Societies office for us to process, pay the fees, and receive our iNGO status. A big celebration for all of us!!

We then returned to Wolisso for dinner and fellowship etc.

April 23rd 2010

ERP team had breakfast, Tim shared his testimony  with me…amazing story of him and Chavon. They then left for Addis and Awassa. Mersea, John, and I went on to HC. We picked up Tekalin at the regional court and then went to the elementary school for meetings with the staff. The new school has been in existence for 5 years and has grown from 250 kids to 1850. They believe that next September it will be 2300.

At the elementary school we were greeted by hundreds of kids and then went to meet at the library. We met with the librarian and some other staff, checked out the donated books, talked about shelving needs, books required, possibilities of expanding and adding solar energy. We then looked around at the facility, took pictures of the buildings and the sports fields etc.

On the way to the kindergarten we passed by Tekalin’s home and met his 2 kids and walked inside to meet with his wife and new 3 day old baby “Hopethiopia”.

Then we moved on to the kindergarten school. About 53 kids with one teacher. They were great and we had fun with them.

From there we went to the high school to meet with the principal. The high school has been in existence for only 4 years and has grown rapidly. So far they only have grade 9 and 10 and will expand to grade 11 next year and add the grade 8’s from the elementary school. We explained our plans for the future as well as bringing the community mission team in July. He was really excited and welcomed us. We then went to look at the other buildings and some classrooms operating. Most of the classes are taught in English with many of them done via satellite onto plasma screens in the classroom. Amharic and Oromiffa classes are taught in their language

We checked out the laboratory, clubhouse (approx. 15 clubs including: sports, AIDS, environmental etc…)  Then we looked at the sports fields with a soccer pitch and volleyball court. We then went to visit the library and looked at the books donated by Hopethiopia and talked with the librarian, teachers, and students.

From there we moved to the health centre to look at the facilities and talk to the health officer about all the questions that we had previously asked. The health centre is classified as a Class A centre which means that it is very well developed for a rural area. He gave us lots of stats and discussed the problems in the community and health centre concerns. Power voltage spikes are a concern in the area and have burned out some pieces of equipment. He mentioned that the prevalence of malaria has been on the increase, probably from people travelling from the lowlands. We then looked at the facility and took some pictures.

After the Health centre we went to meet with the evangelical Christian pastors that liverd and ministered in HC. 5 Pastors were present at the meeting representing the 4 churches in HC. I gave them a presentation as to who we are as Hopethiopia and what our plans are. I explained that e are for the whole community no matter what faith, value, or belief. We are here for Ethiopia. I explained about the mission teams and they were very supportive. They mentioned about not being too overt with our relationship to minimize concerns about intentions or misinformation. They asked what our most immediate need was and I said that the main need was for prayer. We prayed a couple of times and ended after about 1 ½ hours.

We then travelled to the south side of HC and crossed the river opposite the south site 2 nursery. We took lots of pictures and video of the nursery at SS2, climbed the hills, and met some of the local people.

After that we returned to Wolisso.

April 24 th 2010

After breakfast I talked with president Girma so that he would get me the mobile number of David, in Zuwy, so that we could see if we could meet at some point. When I called David later on I said that unfortunately since he was so far away (200km)  I said that I would make arrangements to call him at a later date

We went back to HC so that we could take soil samples of the black soil at the north side community project as well as the red soil on the way down to the SS2 site. These soil samples will be collected so that we can have them analyzed for brick building potential by SCV or another partner.

We arrived in town and met with Tekalin who took us to the high school where the students were writing exams. We met with the principal and I explained that in July we planned on buying more books and wanted a very specific list of the books they required for their curriculum. I apologized that Wayne was not able to buy the books that they had asked for and told them that Wayne had not received any lists of what was required. The list will be provided.

We went to buy a couple of containers so that I could collect soil samples. We first went down the hill towards SS2 and collected “Red” soil. Then we went to the admin building to meet with the Elementary school principal and explained the same situation about getting lists for the books. I said he would supply them and was very excited about the sports camp.

We then took sample of the “Black” soil at the north nursery site by the mosque and I took GPS coordinates of the mosque area.

We tried to go to the Hot Springs between HC and Bantu. Unfortunately due to the heavy rains the road was totally impassable with very heavy mud. So we decided to pass and do that at a later date.

We returned to Wolisso before we could head up to Wenchi crater. From Wolisso we travelled up to Wenchi crater which took about 45min – 1 hour. We arrived at the eco centre  for the Wenchi park and paid our 10birr entrance fee each. We then looked around, took some pics and video, and then hiked to the bottom of the lake and the hot springs area which is about a 7km hike each way (according to the locals – I think they’re exaggerating. Was about a 3 – 4 visit and was spectacular. We hiked with 5 boys and had a good time. Max elevation on the trip was 10,127 feet.

Returned to Wolisso had dinner, talked, went to bed.

April 25th 2010

Left the hotel after breakfast and contacted the office of the president of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia about meeting today. He had to leave for a meeting and was unable to meet with us.

Then had lunch at Mersea’s home with Gernet, Yosias, Betlehem, Brian  and Val Rutten,

Had dinner with Adanech and her family at the Hilton.

April 26th 2010

Left the guest house for the airport, talked with the president of the CBE and said we were sorry that we were unable to meet but would meet next July. No problem checking in at the airport. Left for London via Rome and had a great flight. Spent the night in London at St. Paul’s youth hostel.

April 27th 2010

Departed London via Air Canada with no problems. All was now calm at the LHR airport and the flight was ½ empty. Got back to Calgary, nice to be home!!

Blog, Mission Trips

Leave a Reply