I left Ethiopia last night. For 2 ½ blissful hours, I was in Washington DC and New Orleans. I was trying to solve the mystery of the deaths surrounding the Pelican Brief. Then, when the lights turned back on, I was slightly disappointed to find myself back in Ethiopia, surrounded by 8 forenge missionaries. We all gave a little sigh as we re-entered the world of service in a developing country, where everything is dirty, and the locals all point, stare and shout at us. Some of us are going back to cleanliness and anonymity within a few weeks, but some will be staying for months. Movies are a necessary escape, and we all appreciated it!
When I woke up this morning, I was definitely back in Ethiopia. We had a plan to go somewhere at 10, but didn’t end up leaving until 11:45. We walked for 45 minutes on the muddy, litter-covered roads. People shouted. The flies swarmed. When we got to our destination, though, I was reminded of why I am here. We were visiting Bethlehem’s house. She invited us to come see where she lives, and insisted that we eat a full meal with her. We enjoyed a beautiful meal of injera, shiro, and alicha, along with dabo and Fanta. Her house is lovely, with aqua-colored walls and real tile on the floor. She has pictures on the walls, and a vase of fake flowers on the table. Each place at the table was graced with a doily.
We got the special service while some of the most beautiful children on the planet watched. They also danced around, made noises, and were absolutely adorable and perfectly well-behaved. Once we were done, the children got to eat. They devoured a whole tray of food in 3 minutes flat. McKinsey had toys for them, and they were thrilled with their bouncy balls and silly glasses.
We then proceeded to a different house (probably ½ mile away), where we enjoyed coffee, tea, potatoes, corn, and bananas with Etigeneyehu (e-tig-en-you). She is the woman who works at the Launders’ house, and she has 2 beautiful little boys as well. Her house is a bit more simple, with a dirt floor and chickens running through at any given time. The cow also lives in the house. At that house, though, we got the real treat. Her children, as well as the 5 little ones from Bethlehem’s house, plus mom and dad, all sang for us. Etigeneyehu’s husband got his instrument (almost like a harp/ukulele combination) out, and they all sang some adorable Ethiopian songs for us. Then all the forenge (Launders, plus Kara and I) sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” for them. Those brown-skinned kiddos loved that adult forenges would sing for them….and we even did all the actions! We had them rolling with laughter!
I love Ethiopia. These people live in such poverty, but they are so honored to have us rich, ridiculous, materialistic Americans in their homes. They feed us and love us, simply because we are there. Mark made the comment that in his observations, the Ethiopians tend to be happier with their little, than we are with our extravagance. We live in a culture of want, while they live in a culture of need. We really don’t need things like electricity and whole closets full of clothes. They are happy with their dirt floors and the cow living in their house. I have a lot to learn from them!
God bless you! Sophie
If you’d like to partner with Sophie to assist the Soddo Hospital in providing better care to desperately poor Ethiopian people, you can see contact information here.