Monday, February 01, 2010

Mekelle here we come …

Belay is at the guest house at 4:45 am with two Gladney social workers and four of our caregivers as we head to the airport. We arrive in Mekelle after our one hour flight and are met by Kaleb (kaa-leb) and Guerre (gur-ray) who run the care center supported by Gladney. We head to the hotel to check in and then to a small “hole in the wall” café that has this specialty called Fana. It is a popular place with a line waiting to get in, so we wait our turn, then are ushered in and share the tables with the locals. Fana is an interesting concoction where they bring you three rolls that you tear into small pieces in a bowl with a number on it (you have to remember your number in order to get it back). Belay said the waiters will tear up the bread for me, but looking at their hands I realized my hands were a bit cleaner. When finished tearing up the rolls, you give your bowl and tell the waiter your number and he takes it back to the kitchen for the cooks to toast the bread, put scrambled eggs on it and bring it back to your table. In his hands, he also has a small bowl of hot peppers, onion, tomatoes, and garlic and another bowl of yogurt. You then tell him if you want everything on the bread and eggs, which I did, and he combines it together and stands at your table tossing it all with a spoon. I see the owner going around with a spoon telling the diners they look like they are full and need some help to finish their meal, and then he scoops his spoon in their bowl taking a big bite. This is done so the diners hurry up and eat to free the tables. I am eating as fast as I can, all the time imagining the owner dipping his spoon into my bowl. We get out of there without the owners spoon touching our food, whew!

We head off to the care center to visit the caregivers and kids. It is a very clean, well run center and the children there are precious. I get some time to talk to Kaleb and Guerre and find out more about what Gladney is doing in this community. We have sponsored a mothers-to-mothers group program where 18 women living with HIV/AIDS offer assistance to other women living with AIDS to help cook, clean and care for their babies, through our funding we have also reunited 51 street children with their families and continue to meet with the families to follow up.

We end up at our hotel to watch a soccer game with Arsenal taking on Manchester United (think Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins). The hotel lobby is packed with several TV’s on and there is nowhere to sit.  We are told to go to an auditorium across the street where there are about 20 people watching so we join them. Final score 3 – 1 Man U.



More Dorrs said...

So fun to hear about your time in Mekelle! We loved our time with the Bana Center guys and it was so good to hear about the great things they are doing in our son's birthplace. Good, good people!

J&B Dorr

Belleme said...

Just found this blog when searching the web for info about Mekele. Our Elyana was at Bana when you were there Feb 1, 2010. Did you happen to take pics? She was about 6 weeks old, and traveled to Addis with Belay and the caregivers the next day- Feb 2. I'd LOVE any information you can give us! We have very few early pics of her!