The weekend was long and quiet for us. Saturday, we walked with the kids over to Samuel’s Home, the foster care home set up by Misgana Ministries. It wasn’t a long walk, but we are so unused to walking to destinations that the kids were a little bit whiny about it. However, once we got there, we all had a great time. We played games with the kids like tag and hide-and-seek. Then we were able to teach them how to play Red Rover. They thought that was awesome. We finally know the names of all eleven of them, and it’s fun to get to know their cute personalities. I’m so thankful to have this small group of kids for our kids to play with.
We walked back to our hotel for lunch, and then Casey’s friend Alan came to visit us. Alan and Casey were best buds in high school, and Alan was Casey’s best man. He and his wife Katherine moved to Ethiopia a couple years ago to teach at the International School in Addis. It’s really been an amazing coincidence that they moved here and that we’ve been able to visit them so much. Casey took Alan on a tour of the schools, even though all of the students were gone for the weekend. They also climbed the Adami Tulu hill to get a view of the town. We enjoyed getting to see Alan and hear about his family.
Alan left on Sunday, and we spent the rest of the day resting and playing cards with the kids. On Sunday night, we decided to walk to another restaurant for dinner, just to get a change of pace. The funny thing is that no matter where we go, they all have the same menu: pasta, fish, or Ethiopian food. Ethiopians are crazy about bread, “dabo,” so we end up having that three or four times a day. Between that and the pasta or potatoes, we’ve been in carb-overload. We’re trying to get creative with ways to get more fruits and veggies, but it has been challenging. They do have lots of bananas, which the kids like, but I’ve got some kind of weird allergy to bananas, so I need to figure out something else I can eat. The meals we eat at the school are always delicious and very nutritious; it’s just the other meals that are challenging.
After our supper, we walked around town a little bit. We get stares wherever we go; not only are we four white people, but we’ve got two habesha children with us who are speaking English with perfect American accents. We’re quite the anomaly. Speaking of accents, several of our Ethiopian friends have mentioned that they cannot understand Caleb very well because his Southern accent is so thick. I can’t help but laugh at that; he does have quite the “Saline County accent.”
On Monday, Casey and I went to the Adami Tulu school with Temesgen to organize the grain distribution for the poorer school families. Before we came, Peggy, Seble, and Temesgen had determined which families were most in need of help during the upcoming school break. Since the students receive two meals during the school day, many of them can really suffer when there is no school and no school meals. Peggy purchased enough wheat, corn, and aterkek (a kind of lentil) for 132 families in Adami Tulu. We spent most of the day dividing up the grains for distribution. We had lots of help, but it was a dirty job. We were covered with dust by the time we were finished, and Casey’s allergies have been suffering ever since.
About 3:30pm, when school was out, the families began lining up to receive their food. They had to bring the special receipt they had been given in order to receive the food, and then they had to sign or initial that they had received it. Many of the parents could not write, so they had to give their fingerprints instead.
I found the whole process very humbling. There is something so sacred about food and about providing food to someone in need. We passed out the grain and whispered, “geta-ibirk-echew” as our hands touched. ”God bless you.” Sometimes they responded with the same or with a whispered “amen.” And then they each carried off nearly 70 lbs. of food. Some of the guardians are withered, old grandmothers, and it was amazing to see them haul away the food on their backs.
I loved watching them help each other. Sometimes it would be a mother with a small child tied to her back. Sometimes it would be a grandfather with a cane. They’ve all experienced a kind of need and suffering that I can’t fathom. As I said, it was very humbling, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to feed my children for two months with only the food that I could carry away on my back.
We have so much. Our excess is sometimes disgusting to me. It takes so little to help these people, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend our time or money.
Thanks for your prayers. God is with us here.