Day 5

The whole day I continually had to remind myself that it is only Monday. Only five days have passed, and still I feel that I have been exposed to more than I have been for the four other weeks of my break combined. 

Yesterday, as you read, we arrived in Gondar which was a very different experience than was Addis Ababa. Here many of the students in our group feel that they are encountering the “Africa experience” they were expecting based on the media observed in America. We found ourselves struggling with internal conflict when small, underfed children reached their hands out and all we give them is a smile. 

Today, however, was more encouraging. We began our day at the JDC health clinic in Gondar, distributing medication to children aged 6-16 to rid them of “worms,” and “Plumpy Nut” bars (nutritional supplements) to pregnant women.  The children here were not begging, and many of them were part of the Falish Mora, awaiting their emigration to Israel.  Many of them spoke Hebrew and it felt great to finally be able to communicate and relate to the children and teens and not merely feel sympathy for them. 

Our day continued as we drove to the center of the city to the historical castles built by past Emperors. The castles were huge and beautiful, built from stone, displaying huge rooms with high ceilings and gorgeous grounds. 

We were then privileged to accompany Elizabeth and Max (JDC fellows) to the school in which they teach English. The school is ninth and tenth grade, with about 60 students per classroom. We were introduced to one of the classes and then told to disperse amongst them and speak with them in English. The students varied in their levels, but they also varied in age---the three girls with whom I spoke were 14, 15 and 16---all in the ninth grade.

It was inspiring to speak with them and here about their aspirations for the future. The 14-year old girl spoke great English and she told me she wants to go to Oxford University for college and become a doctor. I can only imagine what these students could accomplish if provided the same educational and financial opportunity as myself. 

Our night ended with dinner at a local hotel with doctors from Baylor College who are working in Gondar short-term with a partnership with JDC. Students enjoyed hearing about their travels all over the world, interested in the opportunities available to them in the future with regard to medicine, travelling, and planning their futures in general. 

Good night from Gondar!

Written By

January 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM




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