Living with Threat
Phil has just chuckled at the vulture he has seen roosting on an electricity pole which itself is at a jaunty angle and secured to another shorter post to maintain its integrity and its almost upright orientation. A curiosity that raises a smile but that we both now find unremarkable.
Inspirationally, SIM has threat levels that can be red, orange, yellow or green. Currently we are on ‘yellow’ alert, with only rumours of possible unrest.
So what does this mean for people day to day?
I’m shortly to welcome two little boys into my class who were living with their parents in the North. Having travelled to Addis after protesters clashed with police, it is unsafe for them to return. I understand that their Dad has gone back to collect household items this weekend, but of course the family is now displaced as they have been forced to leave the project that they have invested both time and effort in.
We have heard of others who were planning to move to Bahir Dar. We spent a wonderful long weekend with friends in that town once. However, plans for anyone to locate to that area have been delayed for an indefinite length of time.
Addis is surrounded by the Oromia region and this is home to one of the large people groups amongst whom protests may arise. Therefore the advice is to restrict travel to necessary journeys, preferably within Addis.
During Bingham breaks Phil and I have had the privilege of exploring some of the amazing countryside within the boundaries of Ethiopia. From the historical north, to the curious people groups in the south; from the lake beaches in the Rift Valley (great in the sunshine) to the Bale mountains and rainforest in the south-east. Other exciting possibilities beckon tantalizingly, but in light of the possible unrest we cannot book any more trips for now.
A ‘go bag’ was suggested, containing essential documents and other useful items for an emergency. Today we filled our pick-up with fuel. There are warnings of shortages, and we have a large full spare container too. We have also heeded advice to stock up on supplies of food and water, once again to prepare for all eventualities.
So how does it feel?
Day to day one could be forgiven for resting in the normality of school routines. I have just welcomed a class of eager 4-year-olds with a thirst for learning and discovery. They are settling into school life in the noisy, fun-loving way of ‘new starters’ anywhere.
Up until now our lives have been shaped by future plans (not something that is a feature of Ethiopian culture). Now there is a cloud of uncertainty lurking in the background. My Mum used to say “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” It’s true - it was our faith in God that brought us here and He alone knows the outcome of any unrest.
So for today it’s the noise of the vultures jumping around on the tin roof above me that provides a sense of normality – and I’m happy with that.