Monday, July 18, 2011

The gift of deprogramming

From Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia
Greetings from Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia! Internet accessibility has been a challenge and I've been tremendously busy conducting my class, which is entering it's second week today, and is going quite well. My students are wonderfully gracious to their ferengi (foreigner) teacher and are excellent and eager learners, and surely marvelous peacebuilders-in-training! It's hard to believe our time here in Ethiopia is already half over! The first week of class started out slow and anxious but now things are ticking along. Preparation for each day's class takes a considerable amount of time and energy, as I'm flying by the seat of my pants as a first-time teacher in a completely new cultural context.

In addition to the classwork, the family has been enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. Behind the college compound there is a hill of open pasture land. One afternoon last week, we walked up to the top of the hill and were surprised to find that behind the crest was an amazing view of one of the five volcanic crater lakes around Debre Zeit! On our second trip, we decided to descend the other side to the water's edge. No sooner than we started down than three adorable little boys from the shepherding families around the compound began leading us down. Erin asked one if they were our guides. The oldest one said very confidently, "Yes." The smallest boy is named Buruch and he stuck near me most of the way down. As we neared the water's edge, all three boys were ahead of us, and when they caught sight of the water - without missing a beat - they ran toward it, stripping down completely naked, and jumped into the lake! Our daughter was, of course, embarrassed but we hung around and watched them swim happily in the lake. If the water quality wasn't a health concern, I would have gladly joined them, it looked very refreshing on that hot day.  As we left, they boys were getting their clothes back on. Waiting until Buruch pulled his britches up, I walked over and gave him a 1 birr coin for helping guide us down to the water. My last image of him is giving me a thumbs-up with a bright smile as we started back up the hill toward the college compound.

We've been able to talk on the phone to some of our family, so that's been wonderful to hear familiar voices. Due to bandwidth restraints, I'll have to add photos once we're back State-side. Not being on e-mail and Facebook several times a day is a good spiritual discipline for me, but hopefully I can get another post or two in before we come home.

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