Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Internal Conflict

Words I remember most as I look at the back of my father-in-law's head:  "I don't see how people live like this."  He verbalized that line in the front seat of the van as he was videotaping scenes out the window.  That was driving through Addis Ababa.  The capital of Ethiopia.  Where so many "rich" live. 

Alan, Jayde, Avery (Alan's dad), and Barbara (Alan's mom) arrived last Sunday morning. We broke them in to Ethiopian life with 2 days of no power followed by over 2 days with no water. 

This past weekend we left the outskirts of the city to go to Awassa and my in-laws will finally saw some of the countryside.  It was beautiful and sad and proud and devastating and glorious all at the same time. 

Conflict. 

Conflicting emotions. 

I'm ready to go home, in a way.  And not, in a way. 

Ready to see family and friends.  Ready to get into a routine.  Ready to sit on my porch and ride through my pasture and plant my fall garden.  Ready to worship with the church family I love so much.

Not ready to leave new friends made here in Ethiopia.  Not ready to leave cool weather and go home to Florida heat.  Not ready to leave ministries I have grown to love.  Not ready to take my boys away from the only country they've ever known.

Are they going to resent me?  That is the question haunting me at the present time.  Will they learn to love our family?  Will they learn to love our country?  Will they grow into leaders that want to come back and make a difference in the country of their birth?  Will they be sad that we took them away from the only way of life they have known? 

On the return trip from Awassa, we stopped at a mud hut and a family let us see inside their life. 

The Grandmother is sitting outside the hut.

Here's our family outside of the hut.  The reason they showed us "ferenges" (white people) was because our driver knew the granddaughter whom he purchases charcoal from for his family whenever he takes people to Awassa. 

This is the daughter, the "owner" of the hut.  She posed in this position so we could take her picture.  She was excited to show us her home.
The whole family came out for the occasion.  The woman in the green dress is the one who sells the charcoal.  She translated through our driver.  She speaks Amharic like our driver.  Her family speaks the local tribal language only. 

This is the inside of the hut.  The man on the bed on the left is the Grandfather.  He is sick and slept through all the commotion.  The room is dark because there are no windows, and there was incense burning so the room is always smoky.  The walls are black from the smoke.  See the shelf behind her head to your right (her left)?  It's made from mixing cow dung with ash, as are the inside of the walls.  You can see the traditional coffee ceremony set in front of her.  I was standing next to the blue bucket and the room ended right behind my head.  That's it.  The only furniture was a stool and the bed.

The family proudly showed me the frame where they keep the only pictures they own.  The one in front is the grandfather when he was younger.


This is their artwork.  The owner of the hut made it from charcoal on the wall.  She thought it was so funny that I wanted a picture of it.



This is another building, the kitchen.  That round thing in the middle is where they make injera, their staple food.  When you lift the lid, you can see that their injera maker is cracked, but they have no money to purchase a new one.  That's all there was in the kitchen besides a few bowls and another shelf made from cow dung.

This is the place where they keep their cow at night:

The next picture below is the pen where they keep goats at night.  The fence is made from local branches covered in thorns.  They told me that the thorns are to keep away the hyenas, who would eat their goats.  (We have seen two hyenas since we have been in Ethiopia wandering in our neighborhood at night, and I would not want to meet it in person.  One time I was in a car and one time I was in the house when we saw them.  Many children here are afraid of dogs because of hyenas, including our boys.)



How different is this life from the one you live?  From the one I live it's like night and day.  It was humbling to tour their small living area.  I thought about all the times I am embarrassed to welcome people into my home because it's too messy, or so I think.  But this family proudly displayed everything they owned to guests who showed up at their doorstep.  They were very gracious. 

"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling." (1 Peter 4:9)

Today I am thankful for: my belt brought from home, baby wipes, Starburst, and good results on the boys' medical tests for Embassy.


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