After Dessie, we drove to the town of Kobo, where Capuchin fathers run St. Joseph’s School. Eight hundred children from kindergarten to 10th grade make it a very lively place. One of our donors, Elisa Turner, once spent a few weeks at St. Joseph as a volunteer English teacher. Before our trip, Elisa gave us something special for her former students. The children loved the present from their American friend.
Fifty of the girls who attend St. Joseph’s live nearby at an orphanage run by Ursuline sisters. The orphanage badly needs a well. Right now, the girls must carry buckets of water to the orphanage from a public water pump. All the students at St. Joseph’s need the opportunity to attend the 11th and 12th grades — which is going to require the generous efforts of good folks like you.
After leaving Kobo in the afternoon, we drove for five hours to the city of Mek’ele, where Bill Doty has pledged to expand another Catholic school. The next morning, 1,300 children and their parents warmly welcomed Bill. He and the Eparch of Adigrat laid down the first stone of the new school buildings. The construction should be finished by September.
In the afternoon, we visited a youth center run by a priest named Abba Isaiah. The center has a free library and offers a variety of classes and activities.
On Monday, we toured Axum. The giant stelae in the ancient city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I wish I could show you the pictures I took, but you’ll have to settle for this link. The next day, Tuesday, we drove to the city of Gondar on probably the worst road ever. The cars kicked up dust so thick you couldn’t see through it. It was so bad we had to pull over several times. The trip took nine long hours.
On a lighter note, Bill and I have been to Ethiopia before, and we know what to expect when visiting a Catholic school. The kids want candy, and they aren’t afraid to ask — again and again and again. So we brought 5,000 pieces of candy (yes, you read that right). You can imagine how popular we are!
We are in Gondar tonight … with luck, I’ll blog more tomorrow.
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