Pop Quiz. What's the first thing you feel when you step off a plane in Africa for the first time in your life? Answer: Everything. When we landed this morning, to be honest, I had a mix of emotions that I have never felt all at the same time before. To list a few:
- Extremely happy
- Extremely nervous
- Extremely tired
- Extremely (and most importantly) excited
As you can tell, my emotions were pretty, well, extreme, and they still are. It's a good thing though. I think it means I'm finally in a place that makes me really feel.
With a camera bag in the overhead and 100lbs of cleats in the cargo space, we smiled. We made it. We're actually in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Because of the time change, it was morning when we stepped off the plane. Luckily, our excitement topped our jet lag and we started the day. After dropping our bags at the guest house, we headed to a village called Korah. Korah is one of the poorest communities in Addis Ababa and is known as the "trash dump community" because the families only survive by begging and eating from the trash dump that surrounds the village. When we arrived at Korah, we handed out food to the families that were sponsored, or in other words, taken care of by a family in America. Sad yet beautiful, the families stood in the pouring rain waiting for their turn to receive their donations.
It wasn't long before soccer found it's way to us. In the middle of handing out food, a few boys came into the room and said hi. We talked for a while and built the quickest bond I've ever felt. When we left the building, they came with us and we held hands everywhere we went. In Ethiopia this is a sign of friendship and was incredibly heart warming to experience. We walked the streets and laughed for hours. We eventually learned the boys were all best friends and play in a soccer league together. They said they get together and practice every Tuesday and Thursday. We asked them if they had soccer cleats and they said no. When we told them we had cleats for them, they were ecstatic. It. was. awesome. Their smiles were cheek to cheek and so were ours.
On top of THAT moment, the best moment today was sending these pictures back home to the people tagged on the cleats. Being able to show someone back home how they changed someones life is amazing, sweet, and absolutely priceless. "This makes me so happy!" "I'm gonna cry this is so special."
The feels are real right now but we're excited to continue to do what we do out here. Day 1 was incredible so I can only imagine what's next.