Three Generations

Three Generations

The pretty little three or four year old girl was alone…….almost. When her father intervened in a dispute between two men they turned on him and killed him. Soon thereafter her mother was killed by lightening. The child had ear infections.

The oldest of her three brothers were teenagers. The four lived in a mud house with a straw roof in a remote village. Relatives decided an orphanage wouldbe best for her. Maybe there she would get medical attention for her ears. She didn’t.

In 2007 then eight year old Fetlework and a six year old deaf boy, Yonatan, “came home” to their forever family in America.

Four years later the location of the biological brothers and the village had been found and a visit was arranged. There was a large extended family of poor subsistence farmers who live near the brothers, among them her paternal grandmother!

Grandma's Kitchen

Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandmother, eighty nine, is blind and spends all her time on a hard ledge in her little mud house.

Her only comfort is an animal skin cover between her and the “bed” where she sits or reclines. Nearby is an open fire of twigs or cow dung to keep her buna (coffee) warm.

Grandma’s “Stove.” The fuel is twigs and cow dung

Surrounding the fire on ledges and in niches are her earthen cookware, a few modern artifacts and gallon plastic oil cans.

The cans are used to carry muddy water from the watering hole in the valley.

Ethiopian Child will help Gurane Village dig a well. The clean water will help keep Grandmother and the small children healthy. You can help by donating. Click “donate” in the column on the right.

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A New House for His Bride

Wondesson, Fetlework, Danychow and Zerihun Tebebu

Threshing as David did.

Threshing at Gurane

The four wheel drive car turned right off the pavement and began to wend it’s way through people, donkeys and occasionally  dogs. Dust swirled around the tires as we began our decent into the valley. Everywhere there are small farm plots being prepared for the rains which (hopefully) soon are to come. We crossed the “river”  which is little more than a ditch and drove across the valley.
Wheat, teff, peas and beans are the main crops here. They can all be harvested and stored. There is no electricity hence no refrigeration.
Finally we arrive at Gurane Village Ethiopia, on one of the many small hills scattered across the valley. At the foot of the hill the ground is level and flat enough for farmers to do their threshing. Animals walk in a circle, their hooves crush the seed heads and separate the grain from the stalk. I am reminded of King David and the threshing floor he bought thousands of years ago. The technology hasn’t changed here.

A few months prior Charlie had visited and asked Zerihun, older brother of adopted granddaughter Fetlework: “How can we help?” Three boys and the youngest child, a girl, became orphans years ago when both parents had died. The girl, Fetlweork, was deaf and went to an orphanage and eventually to our family. The boys stayed in the village.

Zerihun’s priorities had changed from a year before. Then he wanted “seed” money to open a small shop. Now his responsibilities have grown from himself and a younger brother. He has taken a wife.

Zerihun and his Bride, Zenash

We had told him “we don’t give money.” Now he would like to rent more land for farming and buy a second ox which means  he would no longer need to rent someone else’s. He needed a team for plowing. He may even be able to rent out his team instead.

We decided Zerihun is a responsible young man and, contrary to our word, gave him the needed funds with one stipulation: “God has blessed you with this. When your next harvest is complete and you have made a profit you must help someone else.”  We shook hands and it was done.

Now we have returned for, among other purposes, to see his ox. He was proud as he opened the gate and showed us. It is big, black, healthy and strong looking. He did well. So well, he had purchased the ox for less then market price. There was “Extra” money.

Zerihun is not one to waste an  opportunity. Their house is made of sticks and mud.

Current Residence

The straw roof  and walls are deteriorating. It is where they were born.

He can gather the needed poles and when the rains come he can make mud but really, a tin roof is better. With the additional funds he purchased the tin. The tin is in the house for safe keeping, leaning against the wall.

Now he can take down the old one and build a nice new, dry house for his bride.

There are other orphans in Gurane. As we identify them and determine their needs maybe you will help us help them?

Ain’t God Good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reunion at Agohelma orphanage

It was a typical ride through the city. There were near misses with taxis, buses, donkeys and people. A cacophony of sounds (and sights) assailed our senses as the driver maneuvered the ancient, overloaded Toyota mini van taxi through the chaos that is the streets of Addis Ababa Ethiopia. He missed the final turn. I informed him, he backed down the street against oncoming traffic and miraculously was able to carry us to our destination unscathed.
We had arrived at Agohelma Orphanage where four years ago we loaded then eight years old Fetlework into a thirty year old little blue and white taxi and whisked her away to another world.
I was honored to accompany daughter Rebecca and her husband Vernon for that experience. Now we had returned in the process of the adoption of two more Ethiopian orphans. Fetlework and Yonatan, both deaf, joined Mom and Dad to reunite with biological siblings and visit other memorable locations.

We entered the compound and disembarked. Down the slope (almost nothing is level in Ethiopia) we saw a group of ladies who were obviously American or European. They looked up and one exclaimed: “Just a few minutes ago I said I guess I’ll never see Fetlework again!”

They were a group of from a Lutheran ministry in Sweden visiting locations where they sponsored children and had just looked at photos of Fetlework on the wall from when she was a small child. A few minutes after they exited the room there was Fetlework walking toward them.

Hugs, kisses, introductions, photos, more photos and it was time to go.

Ain’t God good!!!!!!!!

Clean Water, Living Water

 

Dogachow and Zerihun Tebebu with Charlie

October fifth 2010 Ethiopian Child will embark on a journey to Ethiopia. There Charlie will meet up with Alayu Kebede. The two will deliver clean water by introducing Sawyer Point One water filters to the people of a small, remote village. Mr. Kebede is an Ethiopian man who works for Blair Foundation to introduce the word of God to villages in his native land. He will introduce the “living” water of the gospel (John 7:38) and interpret for Charlie who will deliver and demonstrate the filters for “clean” water.

The village is near Debre Tsige, North of the capital city of Addis Ababa in the heart of the area where the Oromo people live. Three teen age boys, Zerihun, Wondeson and Dogachow Tebebu have lived there eight years with no mother or father.

It is also planned to honor the people who have helped the boys survive by sharing a traditional Ethiopian meal with them.

It is a ninety minute walk to Debre Tsige and there are times when the Jemma River valley is flooded and they are not able to cross to town. Half way to town is the dirty stream where all their drinking water comes from.

Zerihun, now nearly eighteen, has expressed a desire to open a “shop” in the village, where he can sell needed goods to people not only in the village where they live but to others in the vicinity. We will help make that happen if, when we explore the possibilities, it seems feasible.

We will also deliver story books, clothes, medicines, bandages, school supplies and visit LeaMcD Educational Services for the deaf of Ethiopia.

Remember the Village

DSCF0830

When I arrived ten year old

Fetlework was busy cooking dinner, preparing sauce for the spaghetti with little help from her mom. She chopped and mixed.
Her tall slim body was clothed in blue jeans and a tee shirt. Her head, topped with long, beautiful black hair was gathered into something like a pony tail in the back, and shrouded by the steamy mist as she dropped the pasta into boiling water.

I marveled at how she has changed in two years, from the shy, undernourished wisp of a child into the promise of a beautiful young woman.

Tired of watching, I went to the sofa and opened a map of Ethiopia. Soon she came and sat beside me and together we searched for the location of the village where she was born. It wasn’t there, but the nearest town was.

I surmised that when I visit her brothers in the fall it would probably be a grueling ride on the bus and a long walk to the village.

“Yes, a long long walk” She said.
I wondered. When I visit will the distance I must walk be as great as her young mind remembers?

She thought for a while and began to remember some of the details of her young life with her mother, father and brothers, before both parents died and she had become deaf.

We discussed her past in sign language and voice. She has an incredible ability to communicate.

“The house was made of sticks and had small windows. The windows did not open and close with glass but wood.” she said.

“Was the house round?” I asked.
“I don’t remember.” She replied.

When asked, she said: “My bed was like Yonatan’s ( her brother’s bunk bed) but some slept on the floor. “

“Did the house have a fire in it?” I asked.
“Yes, it was rocks in a circle.”

“Was the fire near the door?”

“I think so, and at night the windows were closed. We could hear the hyenas. They were very loud and sometime I could hear them chew the bones. There were potatoes in the garden but I don’t know if they were sweet.”

She vaguely remembered the other houses where members of her father lived nearby.
We discussed how many years ago did she live there and decided about six. A lifetime to a ten year old.

Her dad and brother returned from their errand and it was time to go to the table.

There will be other times to discuss the village when I have returned with pictures.

Feven


At Agohelma Orphanage in Addis Ababa she was the very best friend of Fetlework, our “favorite” adopted granddaughter who was the only deaf girl at the orphanage.
I still remember the two girls holding hands during the farewell ceremony when more than 100 children “goodbye, we love you.”
It was a magical moment, packed with emotion. Tears flowed as the children sang with feeling.

She is no longer living at Agohelma. Her illness is better cared for where she lives now, with her aunt Tsehay, a very attractive woman whose name translated means sun, and surviving sister.

I was able to contact the aunt and visit with the two of them last fall.

We met on a street corner. I suppose the aunt was too embarrassed for me see where they live. The driver took us to a little sidewalk cafe where we talked for an hour or so and I photographed them.

The street was filled with auto traffic, throngs of people were walking past, taxi horns were honking, the not so appealing aroma of burning garbage filled the air.Pedestrians and patrons of the cafe  openly  stared. attThe lady, the young girl, the taxi driver and the old white man (ferengi).

The curiosity is obvious on the faces of the passers in the background of the photo above. I wonder what they thought, but no matter.

Waizero Zeleke wore a blouse and long skirt, and her head and shoulders were covered in the traditional style which most mature women wear at such occasions as a sign of respect.

Her life story was written on her heart shaped face. It described the hardship and sadness of the troubled times she must have experienced.

Feven was dressed in a pink and white hooded sweater and pink sweat pants. They probably came from donated garments at Agoheld. She was heavier than at the ceremony, the combined effect of care by her loving aunt and financial help from the orphanage. There were scars on her smooth young face. How did they happen?

I wouldn’t ask.

We were able to communicate mostly in English with the occasional assistance from Daniel, my ever helpful driver/interpreter.

When the time came to leave, Daniel drove to a place where they could get a ride home. I gave them money for the bus and told Tsehay: “You take good care of those girls.”

“You come back. You will see.” She replied.

Feven poked her head through the open window, kissed me on the cheek and Daniel drove away.

It was hard to not cry.