“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Is 40:28. Sometimes, when I think about Awassa, it feels like the ends of the earth. Years ago, when we first moved to Ethiopia I began journaling again, and one day I wrote… “It is beautiful here, I love sitting out on my porch and enjoying the unusual birds, the sounds of Africa and the occasional monkey. It’s the rainy season, and sometimes I can sit on the porch and simply appreciate the rain. It’s beautiful, and peaceful and quiet in it’s on way. Most of the animal sounds I hear from my porch in Awassa could only be heard at the zoo in the States. Amazing!” Because of many mornings spent just like that, Isaiah 40:28 rings so true, only God could have created this place… Awassa… the ends of the earth.
I suffered from a little culture shock when I first moved to Ethiopia… kids are everywhere, and many of them are working for their family, even as very small children. One of the things I had to get over was seeing little kids, 3yr olds and 5yr olds, shepherding these gigantic cows, or camels ,or herds of goats. (Ethiopia is the largest cattle producer in Africa.) You couldn’t even see the kids but you’d see these itty bitty legs peeking out from the herd of cattle, and this long shepherds staff rising above the herds. I about had a heart attack when I saw this… I was afraid they’d be trampled by the herd. But these kids are very smart and very careful… you see in the country side they are the rich kids, b/c in the countryside owning cattle is a sign of wealth… I got over myself, but sometimes, when I see a little one standing alongside a huge cow, I just have to remember, that kid knows what he’s doing!!
As a person coming from America it is not our place to tell ET families how to raise their kids, especially not in this case… But we have the privilege of learning how another culture does things, who am I to say its right or wrong, its what they do and what works for them… so I got over myself!! Thank you Lord for saving me from being the ugly American, yet again!!
I was standing in my daughters kitchen when suddenly that white noise, you know, the constant hum of running electricity went silent… suddenly I asked my husband, did the power just go out? You see living in Awassa has caused me to consider that as a real possibility …that the power went out, not that a fuse blew or anything like that. I’m referring to the frequent power outages we experience living in Awassa. In fact one of the first phrases I learned was “mebrat yelum” , and it means no lights, or no power.
When we were building our house, power outages were a serious problem. It was out every other day. No kidding, if you had power today you knew you wouldn’t have it tomorrow. For a season it was on one day and off 2 days! Do you know how hard it is to get a job done when the power is out every other day… it was crazy. It was crazy for the whole city, everyone was complaining.
All my food in the freezer kept melting. I asked a friend how she survived, she said her freezer was covered in permafrost so all her stuff never melted. Of course we had a new freezer, and that was not going to be a solution for me… so my great old American ingenuity kicked in and I filled tons of small water bottles and stuck them in the freezer!! My stuff never melted again.
They are there to this day… we still have power problems, but I just take them in stride, and nothing as severe as back then! I’ve had dinner parties with no power, my daughter has done homework by candle light, and sometimes we just catch up on our sleep!
Yes life in our little sleepy town of Awassa, Ethiopia has been an education in more ways than not… and thank the Lord, I can really say I wouldn’t have changed a thing… I love Awassa!!
We’re a non profit and naturally fundraising is a large part of what we do. Its not really possible to do that in ET, it is a developing nation and so we have to do fundraising in the US. We have some experience with this, but to continue the projects we already sponsor we have to begin major fundraising for our programs. Thank God we don’t have to raise funds for our living expenses, which means all the money we do raise goes to support the programs and people of Ethiopia that we have grown to love and appreciate.
I’m bushed now because for about 6 hrs today I talked to people about the 5K, and even signed up 30 + Walkers. God is so good, I think this event is really going to be a success and we are going to raise a lot of money for Fire Over Africa!
Also, special thanks to those of you who have started following me. I always wanted a blog and many friends encouraged me to do it… I just didn’t know how! Thanks Kirsten for all your help! Hopefully I’ll really get the hang of it and share with you some of the crazy things about life in the Motherland.
Well, we’re here visiting the States, and the reverse culture shock is pretty much under control… yes, its a real thing!! The culture shock I experienced when first arriving in Ethiopia was pretty intense… but don’t underestimate the shock your system experiences, when you move from the land where the needs are all but overwhelming to the land of plenty!