Getting Ready for School…The Same or Different?
Mornings at our house are characteristically chaotic and messy. Think of the stereotypical events such as kids running out the door in crazy outfits or mismatched shoes because the parents were too busy to notice such details or the last minute transaction of lunch money, snacks, library books and gym clothes. We’re not quite to the “You’re not leaving that house in that short of skirt!” part yet.
What is different about us is that the lunch money that is handed out is in birr and instead of entrusting the child with $2-$3 the child must be responsible for 20-30 birr (which is actually only $1-$2) and the snack that is packed will be consumed at “tea time,” a morning recess time that observed and much anticipated by, not only the elementary students, but the middle and high school students and staff as well.
When our ride arrives, our guard calls out to us to let us know that it has arrived and we run out to the waiting vehicle sometimes leaving the unfinished coffee behind and sometimes dumping it into the thermos to take with us.
What is different is the vehicle that stops to pick us up. It isn’t a big yellow school bus, but a little blue taxi. Here it is common to contract a taxi driver to pick up students in the morning and drop off in the afternoon, so that’s what we do. Over the rainy season (summer in the U.S.) a new bridge has been completed enough to create a shorter route to school but last year, on the way to school, we would pass the city dump and, depending on which direction the wind was blowing, were sometimes overwhelmed by the smell of burning, rotting garbage. This was a reminder to us of the people who live in or next to the dump and who earn a living sifting through the garbage to find what they can to eat, use, or sell. This year, even with the shorter route completed, we are still at times overwhelmed by the clouds of exhaust produced by the countless numbers of diesel trucks on the road. Let’s just say that 90% of the vehicles wouldn’t pass the emissions tests required for our license tags in the U.S.!
We arrive at school and Grace, especially, is excited to find her friends, see what important events have happened overnight and take Hannah to her classroom when it’s time to go to class before she takes herself to her own classroom. I get to attend staff devotions and prayer time, during which we take turns sharing what God has been teaching us and praying for the students, Ethiopian staff, and each other.
And then the day begins!