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.