Back in Addis
After 26 hours of traveling, I am back in Ethiopia. In a lot of ways it is great to be back. I have seen many friends again and used my Amharic again with my co-workers. There are a few cultural restaurants I want to go back to as well as eat Ethiopian food again.
On the airplane over, a steward spilled part of a dinner on my sweater. So, he gave me a first class Lufthansa shirt. It was a joy to give that shirt to Alemu, one of our nurses. He was so appreciative.
Yesterday was a difficult day in some respects. Upon arrival, I was told that there had been two deaths in the project on Saturday. One was Asnogich, whom I had visited and witnessed to many times. Alemu, Sara, Derek, and I went to her visitation yesterday morning to comfort her sister and mother. They said they remembered us and were thankful for caring for Asnogich. They mentioned that no one really cares about them, but that we showed love. Their family is heavily orthodox, so I do not know her spiritual condition. Her mom did say that her last words on Saturday were, “I’m going to my father.”
The other death really affected me. Girma Mamo died Saturday in the hospital where I had visited him many times. He’s the one whom Derek, Alemu, and I had groomed in the last few months trying to show Christ’s love tangibly. It seemed like he was doing better so it is a shock that he passed away. It is weird to think that my razor cut his hair and now he is dead. We visited his wife and family, and they were very thankful for what Derek and I did for Girma physically in the hospital.
My last visit yesterday was with Hagernish. She has been slowly dying for about two months now, and it seems that the end is near. She has lost a lot of hearing and cannot walk. She wants to visit holy water out of the city and we somewhat want to put her in the hospital so she can have a more comfortable death. We comforted her brother who was there.
So, being back has been good as well as tough. I am kind of struggling culturally with the people again. Anytime I walk out of the compound here in Lideta, which is also where I live, I feel like a celebrity. Everyone stares and yells. There are also many beggers or people trying to sell things. It is overwhelming. It is almost comical how bad some of the roads have gotten since I left. Workers have simply dug up huge parts of roads for now apparent reason. So, traffic backs up as people have to avoid ruining their cars on the crags of asphalt.
Our water was turned off for a while yesterday. So, there were no showers, coffee, or toilet use in the house. We are somewhat use to that happening though. I had brought over a great new water filter for our sink, but the company forgot to put the faucet attachment in the box. I only found that out yesterday. That is frustrating, but I hope to have it shipped here in a few weeks.
It is rainy season here in Addis. Instead of having summer and winter, we have wet and dry. So, it mostly stays wet even though it is not always raining. This changes the temperature. During the day it can be in the 60’s and night in the 40’s. This is quite a bit different from Memphis a few days ago. Memphis is in the 90’s with the humidity making it about 105 usually. We are also 8500 feet above sea level here, so that might explain why I was a bit tired after home visits yesterday.
Each of these cultural differences on their own do not mean much. But, when added together, they make for a frustrating experience. Perseverance is needed.
Having said all this, it is nice to be back with my co-workers as we labor to care for people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Even though the work can be tough, like yesterday, it is fulfilling and helps with the cultural issues. I am excited about taking a trip to Egypt in September at the end of rainy season with some friends. That should be a fun vacation. I will also soon be planning my November/December travel itinerary for coming back home. I hope to visit a friend in Istanbul and another in London. We will see what I can handle by then. Well, write me. I would love to hear from you!
Cheers from Addis,