|Daniel Schofield, left, and Andrew Gardner were both born in Ethiopia. They leave on June 8 for a 16-day trip to Ethiopia to donate supplies and look for family members.|
So up and down the aisles he went, asking each passenger if they were going to eat their dinner rolls. Most weren't. He collected the rolls and stowed them away for later.
"At the age of nine, I knew how to take care of myself in a way that I was just worried," Gardner said. "If they don't have food where you're going, at least I have food in my backpack."
Gardner found himself on an airplane for the first time when he was 9 years old. He knew he was going to America, but he didn't really know where he was going.
The map on the airplane was the first one he'd ever seen. When he climbed aboard in Ethiopia he thought the United States was probably a neighboring country. He didn't know better.
In a remarkable twist, Gardner -- a now soon-to-be graduate of Mead High School -- will be taking a collection of goods back to Ethiopia. This time, instead of rolls stuffed into a backpack, Gardner will bring boxes of clothes and money for donkeys and other simple supplies.
It's the culmination of a senior project dreamed up by a pair of Ethiopian-born adoptees, brought to Spokane by two different families. Gardner -- an elite distance runner who will compete for the University of Washington next year -- and his adoptive mom, Michelle, along with a friend, Daniel Schofield, started the process last summer. Their group leaves for Ethiopia on June 8 for a 16-day trip.