Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Year's Sheep Delivery!

In the past two weeks, many generous parents have contributed to our "sheep fund"---to purchase sheep for the holiday celebrations at Layla House and several of our "partner" orphanages. Gail Gorfe sent this post about the arrival and distribution of the sheep.

Yesterday, September 8, two of our staff, Sintayehu and Mebrate, headed out in a rented truck to buy 8 sheep from one of the many sheep “vendors” standing along the roadsides in Addis Ababa during this holiday season.

Around 12 noon, they pulled into the driveway of Layla house, where I was waiting with Ivy and all the current AAI volunteers (as we were just about to head out for our volunteer meeting). The sheep were all tied together in the back of the truck and the process of getting them unloaded started right away. The volunteers all took turns at helping out, holding onto the horns of the sheep lest they run away. However Sintayehu said that this was not necessary, so they happily let them go!

With all the sheep off the truck, Sintayehu lifted one by his front leg (as is the norm here) and walked him down to the lower part of the Layla house compound, where they would spend the next few hours. I followed along behind with the other sheep, Ivy, and the volunteers. When we crossed the soccer field the kids let out a shout of excitement, some running up to the sheep, others running away. Everyone came by to look at them during the lunch break.

After lunch, our volunteer Carolyn in an AAI car (the one used by Nate Ripley), took the first sheep over to Sele Enat orphanage. She came back with a one year old girl (being moved to Layla house). After that three of the volunteers went to Kebebe Tsehaye to deliver two sheep, though by accident they took only one. The second sheep was taken over this afternoon, with Garrit and Collin making the trip. At Kebebe Tsehaye the kids came out to play with the sheep and visit with the volunteers.
This morning another volunteer Patrick, went along to deliver 2 sheep to AHOPE. At little AHOPE the kids came running out to see what was being unloaded. When they saw the sheep though, they all ran away in fear. Patrick and the AAI staff brought back a child from AHOPE who had a medical appointment. Then they loaded another 3 sheep into the same car (which by now was very smelly) and went to Kidane Mihret. The sheep were unloaded into the driveway and the workers sent them up to the main compound. This evening Sister Carmella from Kidane Mihret called me with many thanks for the sheep. She could not stop laughing; she thought that the whole thing had been so interesting. They were very thankful though and the kids will have a wonderful feast on Saturday.

Because New Years’ Day is on a Friday this year, which is a day of fasting, all of the orphanages, including Layla house, will have their main holiday meal on Saturday. The slaughtering of the sheep will happen on Friday, at each compound, with dozens of children watching the process.
Many thanks to our wonderful parents for the contributions used to purchase the sheep; they were much appreciated by everyone.

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