life as we know it

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kebeb Tsehay

Kebeb Tsehay is the orphanage I spend the majority of my time in when I'm in Ethiopia. I consider Kebeb Tsehay almost like a second home. I have SO many memories here, good, bad and everything in between. There have been some BIG changes here in the last few years, as evident by the completely changed landscape of buildings. When I was there the first time, the open space began as a "playground," with broken swings and lone slides. When I left after two months, the playground had been torn out, there were a few decent sized holes and eucalyptus logs sticking up from the ground. I had no idea the magnitude of the building these sticks would become. This new building is large. Like, larger than life large. I did a double take just to recognize the orphanage when I walked up. 

It was so eerie walking through the old buildings. The rooms that used to be filled with laughter (and tears) are quiet and still now. There is dust from renovations everywhere and broken ceramic tile pieces scattered on the ground. It felt like if you went back to visit an old house and it had been completely changed. The children I work with in the orphanage have very little in their lives that is stable. Very little that they can feel comfortable with. This now includes their changed surroundings. I'm not sure they'll have memories of that room. Of course they spent a lot of time there since they rarely left the room, let alone the building, but maybe because their pasts have been so disjointed and confusing to their little minds. I'm not really sure who is more affected by the loss of the old buildings; me or them. They will be remodeled and filled again with the sounds of too many children, and I know I will see it all again, but it won't be the same. I'm learning that with every trip, things will change. Children will come and go through orphanages, workers will turnover and there will always, always be more things to work on. Just because each trip is different doesn't mean each trip isn't just as worth it.

Playground at Kebeb Tsehay

More playground

Construction begins. This dirt wasn't pretty in the rainy season!

A few eucalyptus sticks and a big hole are how it all began

And here it is now...!

Crazy this came from sticks in the mud.

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