So today I was asked to come give a presentation/talk about Ethiopia, our trip, etc. to the 6th grade class at Creston Elementary School (my dad's the teacher.) The background is that this year my dad started Project Kenya, a pen-pal/sponsorship program with a school in Kisumu, Kenya. In addition to corresponding with these kids from across the world, my dad's class brings in money to sponsor an orphan over in Kenya, they bring in money to buy kids bicycles over there so they can get to school, and they also bring in money to pay for some of the orphans' lunches. Not bad for a bunch of 11 year olds in a not-particularly-high-income area! (As a result my dad was asked to design/build the website for the national Kenyan Drama Festivals. Go Dad!)
ANYWAY, these kids have developed some seriously awesome compassion, care and concern for their Kenyan friends. The class has also kind of followed our adoption (the day I called my dad in his classroom to tell him we got the call to go to Ethiopia, the whole class clapped and cheered.) Tomorrow's the last day of school before summer, so today I headed in with some video we took while in Ethiopia and some Ethiopian souvenirs. (I found out yesterday that the school principal and another teacher were going to come and watch as well--scary!)
Well, God totally blessed the whole thing. The kids ROCKED--they'd written down questions ahead of time for me to answer. Many of them very deep questions, many of them fun questions. They had such a genuine interest and concern for the people I was describing. I've talked to a lot of people about our time in Ethiopia, about the people there, etc. but these kids were something else. Their genuine enthusiasm and raw compassion was something beautiful to behold. (And these kids are SMART! I was blown away!)
While I was talking about the widespread poverty there, one boy raised his hand and asked "Do the other people in Ethiopia look down on the poor people there, like they do here?" These kids are thinkers! Another student asked why AIDS is so prevalent in Africa, as compared to the United States. They wanted to know the life expectancy of a child born with HIV, if we saw any homeless children, if we want to return someday with the boys (ABSOLUTELY I said), if they wear seatbelts, how long it takes to adopt, and the list goes on. I felt totally humbled to be "representing" Ethiopia to these kids.
So, an awesome day. My prayer is that God will continue to open doors for me to advocate on behalf of the beautiful people of Ethiopia.