POST FROM CHRIS TRETER – Friday January 7th
After an in depth orientation with all runners (ethiopian and U.S), translators, and support Team from the Tesfa Foundation, the team headed out to spend Ethiopian Christmas spreading love to the poorest of the poor. Suprisingly, I think the group came back with much more then they anticipated out of the experience.
The group went to one of the Missionaries of Charity houses which was started by Mother Theresa in Calcutta, India and then replicated and spread throughout the world. In Ethiopia there are 18 such houses which care for the poorest of the poor. This particular house cares for over 700 people, mostly from the street, who are in need of serious care or have a terminal illness. Many folks with illnesses such as TB, Cancer, and HIV are turned away from the hospital because they refuse care in Ethiopia for anyone who doesn’t have someone to care for them. Many are dropped off at this house by the police or a hospital and left with the sisters who run it.
The picture above is a stock image. No photos were allowed.
This was told to me by Sister Marta, our gracious host from Poland who has lived in Ethiopia for over 10 years. When I asked her what one thing we as foreigners could do or learn from the experience, she pondered a moment, and then said, “Just sit there with them and love them.”
And love on them we did, Seth and May had a performance of a lifetime in the children’s home, – where sick children and their mothers sang and clapped along to their tunes as the rest of the team sat around holding and playing with the children. A definite highlight came as a group of mothers brought out their homemade leather drum and sang some traditional Ethiopian tunes as many of the team and the mothers and childrens danced along.
Words such as “life- changing, moving, inspiring, and overwhelming filled the van after our three hour visit. Sister Marta summed the moment perfectly after Seth and May sang, including “Mother Moon” (which May had been written for her mom) to the women’s ward. She approached me after the performance with tears in her eyes and said, “they sing through their hearts.” The whole experience felt as if by using music and our non-verbal communication we were able to transcend language, culture, and life experience barriers to speak to/ from all of our hearts. Comforting both the dying and destitute, somehow, we found was actually comforting to ourselves.
No pictures or other recordings were allowed in this place. The memory alone will do.
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