In July, a team of volunteers traveled to Addis for two weeks to work with the TrueLight Childcare Project. Katelyn Summerford is a student at Mississippi State University and spent her time in Addis leading lessons for the TLC kids and visiting homes to collect updates for their sponsors. Katelyn shares about her experience:
As I prepared for my trip to Ethiopia, I honestly did not know what to expect. It was a new place I had never been before, and I knew very little about their culture. I had no idea if the Ethiopian people would accept me, if I would like the food, and my biggest concern was if I was going to be able to drink all the coffee I was going to be offered. I was definitely not a coffee drinker before I visited Ethiopia. All those fears were a thing of the past as soon as I stepped out of the van at TLC to spend the day playing games with the children, leading lessons, and helping with art projects. The children were so excited to see us, and I received tons of hugs before I even got to the door of the compound.
One child jumped in my arms as soon as I got out of the van and would not get down for most of the day. She did not know who I was, and I definitely had no idea who she was. However, even through the language barrier, we were able to connect through a greater familial love. I later learned that her name was Chrisina, and she needed a sponsor. I knew that I wanted to sponsor a child, and after meeting Chrisina, I knew this was the child I was meant to sponsor!
The people of Ethiopia all acted just as Chrisina did. They were all so welcoming and allowed us into their homes as if we were their close friends. They fed us more than I was ever able to eat, and the amount of coffee I was served was unimaginable. I did learn to love the coffee, and the food was the best!
I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given to meet the people in Ethiopia. They are now like brothers and sisters, and I feel as though Ethiopia is my second home. I could never repay them for the blessings I received from them while visiting. I love them all so very much, and I cannot wait to see my Ethiopian family again!