Just in case you you wondering.....when in Ethiopia, children crowd and clammer at vehicles that American's (I would guess anyone white) are riding in. It seems very heart-wrenching. I will be a mess I am sure. I think it is scary too. I have heard that some could barely travel out, and just about fell apart when they did.at the enormity of the poverty of the children who live there. There was a discussion about giving during outings. It is very complicated, but I really enjoyed this post, printed with permission.
"I know this is controversial. When we were in Ethiopia we found good people who thought the best thing to do was to give nothing. We had a driver,Gatu, who we liked very much. He ALWAYS gave just a little money and a smile to all who came up to the car and asked. He said that it wasn't going to help them out much - but it was like showing good will, good faith and compassion. We liked his philosophy and so followed it. We found people begging to be extremely polite and appreciative. Gatu even asked someone asking him for money if they had change and they happily gave it to him and them he gave them a bit back. I found it all very friendly and heart felt. While walking back to the Volunteer House from the store one afternoon a small group of children followed us and put their hands out. We visited with them a bit and then told them if they would carry our groceries we would pay them. They were so thrilled and happy and enthusiastic about their "job." They took it very seriously. Then we paid them more than enough and they felt so good. When you get there you will figure out what makes sense to you. It is such a difficult thing. I am not sure about toys. What they need most I think is food."
Bainbridge Island, WA mom to 5 including Yerus 7, home 1 year in Jan!