Ethiopia Final Reflections

Ethiopia Final Reflections

Ethiopia Final Reflections

As I sit in bed on our last night in Addis Ababa, I can’t help but reflect on the lessons this trip has taught me. We sat around the table tonight and shared our internship projects and ways in which we have seen God at work throughout the past two weeks. It was incredible to see how everyone’s different majors adapted to the situation and how creative people were in finding solutions to the challenges we have identified here. I think it’s important to make the distinction that these are challenges and not problems because problems imply that something is wrong here in Addis. While people encounter many struggles here and life is nothing like ours at home, God is alive in these people and the Adera workers in Ethiopia are beyond incredible. Yes, this community has a long way to go in the development process, but these are some of the strongest and hardest working women and children I have ever met, and they inspire me to do more. This week we had the opportunity to visit three different schools. On Wednesday, we met with management students at Addis Ababa University. Three of them presented their post-graduation business ideas to us, and we had time to sit and discuss their plans and their lives with them afterwards. They identified that the biggest problem they face in business is finance. They do not have the capital or resources to put their ideas in motion, and it is heartbreaking to see such hard working and motivated students be defeated by money. They kept asking us for advice, but it’s hard to relate to the struggles they face because, while money is often an issue in the United States, it is never to the extent that it is here. This country desperately needs these students and their ideas to inspire national economic development, and I hope and pray that they will be gifted with the capital to achieve it. On Thursday, we visited a public high school and went into a few classrooms to talk to students. In Ethiopia, students must pass an exam after eighth grade in order to enroll in high school courses. Many students do not reach high school here because they get one try at a test that is written in English, a language many barely understand. It was surprising to see that many of these students still struggled to communicate in English even after passing the exam. On the other hand, we had the chance to visit a private school this morning. These students spoke great English and understood us well enough to communicate without a translator, the first group we had spoken to here that was able to do this. Almost all of them dreamed of being doctors or chemists or architects and wanted to attend a university in the U.S. I talked with two of the girls, Elizabeth and Christina, and they both wanted to attend a university in California, specifically Stanford for one of them. I was so impressed by their aspirations and hopeful that students like them will come back and use their knowledge to strengthen their home communities. Ethiopia’s future is bright with its youth in the lead. This trip has been eye-opening, and it has been amazing to see God at work across the world. Goodbyes are always hard, but I am very ready to be home. Prayers for a safe two days of travel back home soon!

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