by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on January 19, 2015
It is a holiday today in Ethiopia celebrating the Orthodox Timket. Timket is very ceremonial and festive with deep roots in the Ethiopian culture. Because schools and government offices are closed and there is church around the clock, the streets are packed with joyful people, most women wearing white coffee dresses with colorful trim and even the men are shrouded in gauzy white. I couldn’t help but absorb the happy atmosphere as we slowly meandered through the throngs of people on our way to the Mana Gammachuu orphanage. We passed several groups of young men with linked arms confidently singing something that put smiles on their faces and music was blasting from loud speakers all along the main streets that were crisscrossed with colorful streamers. How could I possibly not smile on a day like this?
Stepping through the doors of Mana Gammachuu orphanage brought a whole different atmosphere to my senses. Here was a haven of peace and rest where everything was geared to the rhythm of seven babies. I only had about 20 minutes with the little ones and will spend much more time later… but it was a joy to see them all healthy and content and to greet the staff who have been with us since the beginning.
But the big program of the day was meeting with the fifty families supported through Adoption Ministry 1:27 in Shashemene. The case manager had planned a celebration on this day of Timkat to mark the second year of our program that supports the poorest in their community.
I was asked to light the candle to begin the commemorative ceremony and then Ephriam, our Project Manager for the southern region, was asked to cut the large round of dabo (bread).
The smell of incense intermingled with the fresh roasted coffee aroma as baskets of popcorn and bread were passed around followed by cups of rich, Ethiopian coffee and glasses of water for the many children.
When I go to gatherings like this, I am made to feel so welcomed and appreciated, but I am acutely aware that I am only the face of the many sponsors who faithfully support a family and pray for them.
These people have no way to personally thank their benefactors, so they liberally thank me and bless me. It is humbling and I want to pass those blessings on to the real heroes… the American families who many times give sacrificially and have radically changed individual lives through their benevolence.