Whew! That was fast. The new budget goal has been met. We have hit 100% (again). What a sigh of relief we breathed today. It’s not that we didn’t think we’d get there, but it’s just such a great feeling to officially have it raised. 13.5 months, 15,000 miles, countless phone calls and hours, 70 church services and THOUSANDS of dollars…done!
Well, almost done. We have three church services left to go to. So, what if we raise more money? Well, the way our budget is set up, we have exactly $0 for transportation built in. Living in a city of 4-5 million, transportation will need to happen. Public transportation is available, but not like in large cities here in the US. We can ride the bus (which are often crammed full of people–not ideal with three little kids) or take a cab everywhere. That was our plan, just to tough it out–language barrier and all–and figure it out. Then, we were offered a third choice. IF we can raise enough extra, we can buy a car! This would be an amazing blessing for our family. It would further our ministry by freeing up some funds, allowing us to more freely come and go and it would help our kids out with their transitions to and from school.
Will it be a nice car? HA! I don’t remember seeing a nice one our whole time there. 🙂 Cars that haven’t been in the country for at least 10 years have a tax on them that almost equals the value of the car–doubling the price. And, cars are not cheap in Ethiopia. It is highly likely that we’ll end up with a 15-20 year old Toyota Camry and will pay $8000 for something like that! How are driving conditions? HA (again)! Any of our friends who have visited Ethiopia are probably now laughing at the thought of us having to drive there. It’s nutty. Our perception of driving there is this: you have to be incredibly patient and never anger. People use their horns all the time, but it never sounded angry. It was just, “toot, toot, I’m here” even when they were just cut off and/or almost hit. I don’t remember any stop lights and only a few stop signs–though more may exist, we didn’t drive while there and were happy not to. There were lots of round-abouts and it could take forever to get onto one, you just inched and inched and inched until you were in. Then, you might go around a few times until you ended up in the right position to get out of the round-about at the right place. There are too many cars and not enough nice roads, but we’re not afraid of this challenge. We are excited about the possibility of having the privilege of being able to drive.
So, even though the budget has been raised and we are cleared to order tickets as soon as our visas arrive (still praying for those to come quickly), the fundraising doesn’t stop. Any extra we can raise will help us to get that car which would be a HUGE blessing for our time in Ethiopia.
Thank you to EVERYONE who has contributed financially to our journey. We would not be at this place of excitement without your contribution. We have such an incredible team of family, friends and churches standing behind us and that is such an encouragement to us.
And now for your viewing pleasure, an example of what our car might look like…
Just kidding! Here’s a more realistic option (aka a “junker” according to our supervising missionary, but we’d be ever so grateful even to have a junker).