Trip Overview

When:    July22-Aug 1, 2018

Where:  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the Merkato neighborhood

Cost:     Approximately $2500, depending on the cost of airfaire

What:    Love on and build relationship with 200+ kids and their families at the Merkto CarePoint.

Who:     YOU!

Click for the full schedule and more details

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Full Trip Details

The dates of the trip are July22-Aug 1, 2018.  We will depart from our home airports on sunday 7/22, fly out of Dulles airport (in Washington, DC) on Monday 7/23, and arrive in Addis Ababa mid-morning on Tuesday 7/24.

Rough agenda:

Sunday, 22nd: 
PM: Depart Nashville/your city, spend the night near Dulles airport in DC

Monday, 23rd: 
AM: Depart U.S.

Tuesday, 24th: 
AM: Land in Addis Ababa, Ethipia. Travel to Yebsabi guest house and freshen up.
PM: Meet our sponsored kids!

Wednesday, 25th
AM: VBS activities, including Bible teaching, worship, crafts, and games with the younger half of the group (approximately 80-100 kids).  Also includes fingernail painting, soccer, and playing games.  Lots of time spent building relationships with the kids!
PM: Home Visits – Visit our sponsored kids in their homes and meet their families.

Thursday, 26th
AM: VBS activities, including Bible teaching, worship, crafts, and games with the older half of the group (approximately 80-100 kids).  Also includes fingernail painting, soccer, and playing games.  Lots of time spent building relationships with the kids!
PM: Home Visits – Visit our sponsored kids in their homes and meet their families.

Friday, 27th
Spend the whole day seeing the beautiful countryside and learning more about the culture in Ethiopia.  Souvenir shopping, and eat dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with music and traditional dance.

Saturday, 28th
Deliver care packages to the kids and spend time blessing the mothers and caretakers of the kids.

Sunday, 29th
AM: Attend church with the kids at Merkato on Sunday. (An incredible experience that you’ll never forget!) Take the Merkato staff out to dinner and bless and encourage them.
PM: Another round of home visits to our sponsored kids families.

Monday, 30th
AM: Final good byes, pack up and head for the airport.  Maybe a visit to a coffee roasting factory if we have time!
PM: Fly, fly, fly


The total trip for the cost will be $2200-$2500.  This includes airfare and all ground fees. This does NOT include immunizations which, depending on what you get, can add up.  This cost also does NOT include  spending money for gifts.  Go here for a detailed breakdown of costs and deadlines and some other things to consider.


  • Sun 5/6/18 – organizational meeting
  • Sun 6/10/18 – organizational meeting
  • Sat 7/7/18 – eat together at Ethiopian restaurant and discuss final details


Go here for a list of commonly asked questions and answers

Checklist for Travelers

Ready to go?!  Here’s your checklist of things to do:

  1. Let us know you’re on-board.  Contact us directly or sign up for the mailing list here.
  2. Apply for a passport (this can take several months).
  3. Immunizations.  (Get more info about our experience with immunizations and the choices most travelers make.)
  4. Submit Children’s HopeChest travel application here.
  5. Review Children’s HopeChest travel policy.
  6. Purchase airline tickets. (We plan to purchase airline tickets as a group in April or May, about 2-3 months before the trip. These usually run around $1200-1500, but the cost can vary.)
  7. Make payments to Children’s HopeChest for ground fees.  (Click here for full cost breakdown and payment schedule.)
  8. Pack!  (Click here for a detailed packing list and recommendations.)


  • Where will we stay ?

In a Guest Home – a nice hotel that provides breakfast. (Similar to this) The rooms are spacious and comfortable.  Two people usually share a room, and each room has its own bathroom.  Wireless internet is usually available at the Guest Home.

  • Is the hotel secure?

The rooms at the guest house are reasonably secure. We’ve never had anything stolen out of the rooms.  But use the same precautions that you would use staying at a US hotel.  Leave any priceless possessions at home.

  • What will we eat?

Breakfast is usually eggs, toast, and coffee at the Guest Home. Lunch and Dinner are generally in restaurants, and a wide variety of food is available.  Pizza and pasta is available at many restaurants!  A wide variety of veggies, meat, and rice are generally on the menu, as well.  We will eat at a “traditional” Ethiopian restaurant one night with the opportunity to try many ethnic foods.  There will be traditional music and dance, and it will be very entertaining!  But other than that, you can choose to try ethnic dishes at restaurants or to stick with more familiar fare.

  • Is there anything I shouldn’t eat while I’m in country?

You should try to avoid the following foods: tap water or ice, anything uncooked, salads or unpeeled fruits or vegetables that have been washed in tap water.  If in doubt, ask our CHC staff.  They will keep us safe!

Don’t eat food the locals have prepared. (Except for coffee.  That is ok and encouraged.)  Eat only food from the guest house and the restaurants where CHC will take us.

  • Is Ethiopia safe?

We have never felt unsafe while in Ethiopia. While the country has experienced some political unrest in recent months, things have settled down.  Children’s HopeChest keeps a close eye on this and will not allow us to travel into a situation that they believe to be unsafe.  While in-country we will be escorted by at least one employee of CHC at all times, and will often have multiple translators and other staff members with us. Our safety is their utmost priority.  The Merkato neighborhood is a poverty-stricken slum area.  Prostitution and drugs are rampant.  It is certainly a place where you want to be aware of your surroundings and always stick close to the CHC employees, just as you would in an inner-city or “projects” area here in the US.  But as this ministry has grown, people in the neighborhood now recognize us and welcome us.  We are overjoyed to walk through the streets of Merkato now.

  • What is the weather like?

The weather in the summertime is quite pleasant.  The highs are usually around 75-80 degrees, and the nighttime lows are 55-65 degrees.  The summer is the “rainy season,” and around 2:00 it will thunderstorm for an hour or so.

  • Should I give money/food/clothes to people on the streets?

No.  Don’t give money, food, or anything else to beggars on the street. It’s heartbreaking, but don’t do it.  Really.

  • What cultural norms should I be aware of?

Take coffee when it’s offered to you at a house or at the church. If you’re not a coffee drinker, take a couple of sips, but don’t feel like you have to finish it.  It is a sign of hospitality, and they want you to have it.  Coffee is a big part of Ethiopian culture.

Be prepared for long restaurant meals. A 2 hour lunch is not uncommon.

Stay flexible. Plans will definitely change.

FYI – many Ethiopian clocks are 6 hours off.