A lot happened to Sister Donna Francis since Dave last saw her in December 2010. On Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, a mob of 20 to 30 people broke into the Heartland HIV/AIDS Orphan Girls Residents and Vocational Training Center and tore down a wall Donna built to protect the children from the wild animals, including hippopotami that sometimes wandered into the compound.
But the wall forced the locals to walk around the property to water their livestock. Apparently, they did not like this idea and cut down a hedge of cacti and destroyed the wall. They locked Sister Donna’s assistant in his room. She was understandably scared.
The next week the mob repeated their actions and added thievery to the mix when they stole kitchen supplies, ox carts, and cooking utensils. Donna told Dave the local police stayed with her for two weeks to protect her and her property. Since they left whenever she heard a noise in the nighttime she wondered the mob came back.
But Donna remains so dedicated to her children and their desperate need for medical attention, education, and life skills.
On the way back to Addis Ababa, the group passed about a dozen dead camels that appeared to have broken legs. Ch Bill O’Sullivan surmised they were in the bed of a truck when the truck had an accident. “In fact, there were lots of accidents and dead animals on the road. I don’t remember it being this bad the last few times I’ve traveled to Awasa,” Dave wrote in his journal.
“I am thankful to have finished my last trip to Ethiopia in the beautiful jungle-like Awasa with good, faithful people. With the varieties of monkeys and birds and other animals, it was something to behold,” he said.