Surviving To Thriving

with 4 comments

Today is the 10th day of living with 22 boys that formerly lived on the streets of Addis Ababa. The mental exhaustion is starting to gradually relent. Each day there are observable changes and growth. My brain can hardly comprehend this amazing time.
As I write this, the boys are in the middle of 2 hours of quiet and study time. I can walk out of my room and see multiple boys reading quietly, trying to teach each other the basics of Amharic and English, or writing something. There is no better time to soak in the reality of life in this house. My spirit is most full when I watch them learning, growing and helping one another. There is no greater reward for my sacrifice, I can’t thank God enough.
The first 8 days were extremely challenging. Coming from a life of schedules and regiment, the chaos that ensued in the first 8 days was mind numbing. The constant noise alone was hard to bear. I left the house for the first time by myself on the 8th day. It was a strange experience, like being released from jail(sort of) for the first time. I also took my second shower, shaved for the first time, ate food other then Ethiopian for the first time, met a friend for the first time, and observed the beautiful sky for the first time in 8 days. Those 8 days are in the past as each day we are with the boys gets more structured and enjoyable.
The boy’s days start with showers and washing clothes at 7am. Then we sit down for basic devotions followed by breakfast. Depending on the day, breakfast is followed by quiet study time, or a quest speaker(Ermias and Koni from Youth Impact mainly). Then we have afternoons that include lunch, chores, school for English, Amharic, and Math, community service, free time and more.The nights are “family time” where we watch a movie or play different games. Then it is time for bed around 9, where we find time to work on work stuff.
The first 8 days were “fly by the seat of pants” days. We(Muleken, Elias, Teddy and myself) basically stayed up each night trying to plan an organize 22 boys, scheduling recreation, school, and more. It is impossible to comprehend the amount of organization it takes to schedule and organize 22 boys. The simple things like bars of soap, soft, school, cleaning, chores are monumental tasks. Starting today though, we have a schedule laid out for the whole week. We also started our allowance program, where their behavior will determine how much birr they will earn each month hopefully giving them positive reinforcement and teaching them how to be financially responsible.
There have been major improvements in some boys already. A couple boys have gone from constantly disrespectful to being examples to the other boys. Yesterday we sent them out for soccer. It was the first time sending them out with no leaders. Three of the older more mature boys were given the task of leadership and they came back with joy because there were no fights and very few arguments. That might be the first time they have not fought during soccer, ever! Yesterday, we only had one boy who was late to a scheduled event once. Wow, the first attempt at tracking attendance only three boys were on time, now only one was late(by one minute).
As the schedule continues to solidify the full time leaders will find ways to maintain our sanity. I am experience extreme gratitude today because of how much improvement we have seen already. If the first 8 days became the norm I am not sure how long I or any of us would last. We still need a lot more people to help out, tutoring, teaching, just babysitting but we are no longer surviving but instead thriving.
Another great reward has been the gradual openness of some of the boys. Some of them have shown refreshing honesty admitting that they were high every time we met them in the past, telling us stories about stealing and fighting. It seems like a healthy release for those able to open up and a chance for us to show them unconditional love.
I gotta run, time to enforce my role as disciplinarian.

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Written by adamtaylorethiopia

August 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Hey Adam: The higher you get the greater the view~!! And, sometimes the greater the fall. I am praying for a good parachute for you during the times when all that was going up, seems to come tumbling down. Because just as sure as there are down times, there are up times, and just as sure as there are up times, there are down times. The question is not will they,? but when? And what you are learning now is how to be ready for them and having ways to deal with both occurances. I love the title “Surviving to Thriving” Learning to thrive in the survival times is when your learning curve is, and I am encouraged for you. God bless. Doc

    Ralph Eckardt

    August 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

  2. thanks for sharing Adam! I love the updates and will continue to pray for you and the boys! xoxo

    Rachel

    August 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  3. You’re starting to sound like double rainbow guy again…im happy for you. You are an inspiration to us all! Phils really need to start hitting

    john

    August 27, 2010 at 5:24 am

  4. Hey Adam, God is doing amazing things through you in Addis. I enjoy reading about it. God bless!

    dashasmith

    August 29, 2010 at 3:03 am


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