We all got up around 6 this morning and had our filling breakfast at our comfortable hotel in Dessie. We were set to do more assessments of the middle school children at 8:00 am at Gerado School. We left the hotel later than expected but arrived there pretty quickly, and we were all eager to get some work done and meet some new children. It turned out that the kids weren’t available until noon. We made our way back to the hotel, and some students got some fresh fruit juice from the local juice shop. We all took the time to pack up our stuff and used the wifi as much as we could. (Of course!)
We left for Gerado school, yet again, around 11:30, and began the dental and measurement assessments when we arrived. This being my second time to Ethiopia, as well as my second time visiting this school, it was nice to come back to a place that I was somewhat familiar with. The children were so intrigued by us, and they all crowded around us, with their sweet little smiles and adorable little giggles. Pang and I were assigned the job of doing the measurements of the children today, and those who had the job yesterday were assigned to doing dental exams today. Pang and I quickly came up with an efficient way to get the job done well. We both discussed how saddening it was to see the children with such extreme health issues – one of the most noticeable ones being that the children are incredibly small for their age. What’s so amazing to me and the rest of the group, is that these children still manage to be content and have a smile on their face even with so little, which is what Tau’Toya and I discussed today. We got all the assessments completed earlier than we had hoped, so we allowed some younger students to go through the assessment process for fun.
We left the school around 2:45 and got prepared for the banquet at 6:00. Everyone got dressed up and we listened to the presentations, ate some delicious traditional Ethiopian food, and had many laughs with our wonderful drivers and the Wollo University students and faculty. All of the presentations were wonderful, each of them having their own unique facts and points of view. The students expressed their gratefulness to be on the trip, and they also explained how the trip has affected them so far. Their research was all very interesting and it was great hearing what they had to say – I think everyone enjoyed it. At the end of the banquet, just before everyone said their goodbyes, the president of Wollo University presented to us beautiful scarves for us to keep. Also, Solomon, the Dean of Agriculture at Wollo University, gave us mini flags of Ethiopia!
Visiting Ethiopia as a 15 year old for my second time has definitely changed my life. I have gotten the opportunity to see things that many people in the US won’t ever get the chance to see. These experiences have changed my perspective on life – they have brought things to light about myself that I didn’t notice back home. They have taught me that there is no reason to complain and whine about the things that I normally do. They have made me realize that I am so incredibly lucky to have the things I have in my life, as well as for all the things that I get to do. I have gained memories that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and be able to share as well. Although our trip to Dessie is complete, it was awesome meeting so many new people, including the university students, and also learning so much while we were here! Can’t wait for what the next few weeks bring us.