Well, today went as we planned yesterday. Not really a ministry day at all, just a fun time to relax and hang out after the long day at the school. I did wake up with the dawn call to prayer over the loud speakers throughout the city and thought "oh no, I will not go back to sleep now" but I was wrong. I went right back to sleep and woke up a little after 9 and then we just sort of lazed around and chit chatted most of the morning. We walked to the nearby stores and bought very necessary items like toilet paper ("soft" it is called here) and water, as well as some bananas and bread and some other snacks. We took our haul back up the hill to the house, which was steeper than I remembered, and rearranged our bags to get ready to go out to change money and then go watch the guys' football (soccer) match. We got in the car to go and some random person standing there (I really don't even know who it was) handed me his cell phone and said "it is Bisrat". What? How in the world do they all know where to call everyone all the time and who knows where who is? It is a mystery to me and always and forever will be, no matter how much I see it. I took the phone and sure enough, it WAS Bizy! We have plans to see each other tomorrow after church, woohoo! I started to go into detail of what time I thought church would be over and where we would be and he just said "yes, I will find you" and I remembered of course he would, haha. This place is unlike any other-I love it, just makes me laugh.
We headed out and stopped multiple times for the usual ins and outs of random people. When we got to the place to change money, I realized I had been in that very same market before on my last trip, which was amazing to me because I get completely turned around here and everything looks the same and so I don't really know where anything is. But, I found myself starting to be in familiar places and recognize where I had been before. It was fun to go into the "supermarket" (think 7-11 type store, not Kroger) with Cherrie and Danielle while Surafel got our money changed for us and look around at the things there, some familiar (hello, Pringles! I heart you!) and some I have no clue what they were. Soon enough we were off again and the money exchanged at the highest rate I have ever had here-16.75 birr to the dollar! Awesome! (well for me, not so much for their economy though) It is great to get your money in birr, you feel completely loaded with your giant wad of money-until you realize it is like 20 bucks, ha.
Anyway, after that we did some more crazy driving around the city, dropped off some things I had brought to an Ethiopian friend (who met us in the middle of the road-no joke, Surafel was on the phone, we just pulled over in the middle of driving and there he was in the car beind us and I met him on the side of the road-I told you, I will never ever understand how that works here), and stopped back by the house where we are staying for the guys to change shoes and clothes for the big game-of course Surafel had jumped out of the van somewhere before we even got to the house, and then showed up at the van later before we left. If you have not picked up on it, there is a lot of stopping and starting that is just part of life here. Off we zoomed again to the match, at last!
We walked through a cow pasture, with some cows with gigantic horns that gave me the stink eye (I was relived to see the tethers on their legs later) and got to the cleared area with their wooden stick-frame goals, rocks marking the corners of the playing area. The game was soon underway and those boys played hard! It was a lot of fun to watch them having such a good time-Cherrie told us the drivers get together teams and then they play each other. They did not have any of the bells and whistles of American soccer players but wow, they play soccer at a whole other level! We teased Cherrie about being such a soccer mom b/c she brought oranges and water for all the guys-some things are just the same no matter what continent you are on.
After the game we all went back to the house for some to rest and some to shower. Danielle and I had a great time just talking and Cherrie came up, too. We all get along very well which is really nice. Cherrie had remembered that it was one of the Yiesmachu's birthday tomorrow so we put together a plan to take the guys to dinner, then Kaldi's (Ethiopian Starbucks) and have cake and ice cream. Danielle had a shirt to give him for his birthday so we wrapped it up and took it to dinner with us. Well, they ate dinner at the 1st place we went, but us Americans did not partake in that meal. They were eating a unique dish to Ethiopia called kitfo which is a raw meat dish served with various fiery spices and a flat bread made out of the fermented roots of the false banana plant. Mmmmmm. Hence the reason I just had a Sprite. Those guys went to town on the dinner which for some reason afterwards made them VERY giggly and funny in the van and Cherrie said they always get like this after a kitfo dinner-it was hilarious. We pulled into Kaldi's and I realized it was the same one I had been to before on my first ever trip here (remember that Dawn and Tim and Pat? With the frapoocinos??) and we non-kitfo eaters had a yummy dinner with french fries and super delicious coffee and a birthday cake. The servers all came out singing happy birthday with candles all on the cake-the smile on Y's face was great!! These guys work so hard as the leaders of the church ministry in such a difficult place and it was really enjoyable to see them having so much fun. Tomorrow is church day so I am looking forward to that experience. Weekends here tend to be a little more laid back, just like at home, but Monday we will be hard at work in Korah helping the group learning to make clay beads to generate income-I cannot wait!!