by Joy Casey
written on 5-9-16
It has been a very long day. A good day.
Early in the morning we headed to Gutumuma after picking up a couple of our missionaries in Bulbula to be our guides. The roads, some wide, some narrow, all made for donkey cart travel, are a maze and we always have to have someone to give directions. It takes about a half-hour by car from Bulbula (the nearest town) to get to Gutumuma.
This past year, the people all over Ethiopia, including Gutumuma, have been severely affected by a drought. Since most of the people in Ethiopia (65%) and nearly all of the people we work alongside depend on farming for their food and commerce, this drought has been ruinous economically and dangerous health-wise. People and livestock are skin and bones, children are dropping out of school at an unprecedented rate, there are higher statistics of disease, and babies are dying of malnutrition-related causes. To say it has been a challenging year in Ethiopia is a gross understatement.
But now the rains have returned. I can almost hear a sigh of relief from the earth as it soaks up the water and sprouts green once again. Everywhere I look, men are out ploughing fields. Skinny (really skinny) cows are nibbling the fresh grass. The lake close to Gutumuma had been almost empty but is now filled and crops bordering the lake can once again be irrigated. I don’t think any Ethiopian will complain about the rain squalls.
There was no rain today. It was hot and sunny. Stepping out of the van in Gutumuma I was drawn to kindergarten voices reciting their lessons. When I peeked in the window, 26 students turned eager faces and waved to me. Their teacher, Radiya, is wonderful with the children and the classroom is peaceful and orderly reflecting her persona. Radiya wanted the children to sing some of the songs they know, so they came under the shade of the worship tree and sang with gusto.
The children are at school at 8:30 in the morning and finish at 3:00 p.m. so it is a long day. Recess is a wonderful break and time to get wiggles out playing soccer or playing on the playground. Back in the classroom, I was amazed at the level of math proficiency after only 6-7 months of instruction. Kindergarten in Ethiopia is not filled with a lot of crafts and fun and games… it is serious learning!
Lunch was prepared by the cook and the children eagerly tackled their fresh baked bread, tea and water. Three days a week they are given boiled eggs, bread and milk and two days is tea and bread. We are changing lunch to include milk five days a week and two of the days will be injera (Ethiopia’s cultural bread that is loaded with good nutrition) and vegetable wat (stew). Eggs and bread will fill tummies the other two days. We grow moringa trees on the church property, and I showed the cook how to finely chop the moringa leaves and instructed her to incorporate the moringa in the wat she will make for the injera.
Sister Church Steps In To Help
Lighthouse Church in Washington state is sister church with the Gutumuma church. After three years, there was serious maintenance that needed to be done on the building and Lighthouse provided the necessary funds. As you can see from the picture … the roof leak turned out to be a little more problematic than anyone thought, but they are working hard to get it finished as the rains are back and they need a solid roof. After the rainy season and all the repairs are finished, the church will get a fresh coat of paint. Thank you, Lighthouse Church!
We visited two ladies… one young mother with a baby and one grandma. Their houses were in such bad shape that they literally fell down (one was toppled by a strong wind). Today they proudly showed me their new houses (provided by our gift catalog) with a nice, thick cement floor and a tin roof… just in time to keep them dry during the rainy season.
Fao greeted us with her baby on her hip and proudly showed us her house with her few belongings neat as a pin.
Grandma Tekelech was exuberant in her thanks… first to God and then to Mission 1:27 for taking such good care of her and her husband.
What a joy to be able to bless these women with a house that will last a good long while. Tekelech still needs for the outside of her house to be mudded. Mission 1:27 provides the materials for construction and includes some labor costs, but expects the community or extended family to do most of the work. Housing is extremely poor in this village and many houses cannot be repaired and need to be replaced.
Would you like to help? You can gift a house or contribute to house repairs through our gift catalog here!