I’ve been busy my first week here in Ethiopia. I spent one night in Addis Ababa and left for Adama where we’ve been dividing our time between the Joseph’s Children’s Home and The Orphan’s and Widows Home where Tezera is the director. Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the greater part of the day with Tezera. As much as I DISLIKE shopping, I did LIKE getting to hear her story as she shared about her life. She talked to me about what life had been like living in Ethiopia before during and after the Dirg, the hardships she encountered studying in Cuba for a degree and the early years of her work in Compassion International… I see now how God used such hardships to create strength in Tezera – it produced fruit and it shaped her into a strong resilient person, a leader that God is using among the widows and orphans in her own country.
While shopping, school let out and it was fun seeing all the kids walking home in their uniforms with stainless steel lunch pails. I was approached at LEAST 30 times by children wanting to practice their English: “Hello, How are you?” “My name is Mabucu.” “What is your name, please?” “I am 10 years old.” “I am in grade 4.” ” How old are you and what grade are you in school?” “Hello!!” My name is Jerusalem!” I am so very glad to meet you!” You are the first white man I have ever met!! May I touch your hair please?” Thank you!” That was fun!! Such great little people.
At Joseph’s Children’s Home we’ve stocked the nursery with diaper pails, installed mosquito nets over each crib, purchased bottles, nipples, bottle brushes and pans to boil bottles in and the material that diapers are made from. As you can guess, every item is purchased from a separate shop.. a shop for pails, a shop for pans, another for brushes. The idea of “ONE STOP SHOPPING” hasn’t caught on yet… :—) Which is great – it means I get to meet that many more people! Tezera, like my wife Liane, seems to know everyone, everywhere… People come out of the woodwork when she walks down the street!
In Ethiopa a greeting takes time; “hello” kissing, talking a bit and then “goodbye” kissing. You repeat that a few times and then it’s lunch time already. You throw in a little bit of good-natured haggling over prices and a few more kisses and then it’s dinner!!
Please be praying for Mark as he travels to several small villages in Ethiopia.