This week has been a bit dull (from a blogging point of view) so I thought I might leave it to Chris who's been to Lemma's again and nearly squashed a chicken (on a separate occasion). Until today. Today was International Sunday at the International Evangelical Church (IEC) that we have joined. Normally there are two services on a Sunday morning but today we all joined together and the place was bursting with over seven hundred people. Flags of the nations represented were hung from the balcony and all sorts of types and styles of singing lifted the congregation in praise and worship.
We first met Lemma’s family back in 2007. They remain the most hospitable and generous family that I have ever met. Lemma created a school within his property for children local to his neighbourhood. This has stood the test of time. My friend Clare has been visiting Lemma’s school every Saturday to teach two English language classes. I had the privilege of going with her this weekend. We chose a vehicle with good clearance from the ground to cope with a particularly bad pothole that we knew must be crossed, and travelled out of Addis into Oromo country.
During our regular Thursday 'Y’tesfye Birhan' local girls meeting this week we talked in groups about good things and difficulties that we had experienced during day. One girl shared that her friend had cut herself badly and had been sent home from school; another that her parents fight and that worries her. The youngest one (who not so long ago was on the street begging with her mum) had not been to school. The oldest girl in the group (aged 11 - we’ll call her M) was thankful that she had done well on a school test. She is in a grade well below her age.
Before I tell you about the unusual clinics I have done this week let me update you on Yalew, briefly describe a home visit, and mention an exciting occurrence.
An Exciting Occurrence
Many of you will know that before I left the UK I downloaded a selection of recipes, some from the Sainsbury’s website. I have been truly thankful for this. Especially when the internet is not working.
I wanted to make a chocolate courgette cake as we were meeting a group of doctors who would be involved in some AIDs work. This is how it went:
Wikipedia suggests that a giant tortoise moves slowly at 0.17 miles per hour. The fastest recorded speed is 5 miles per hour. There is a running track around the periphery of Bingham. As I made my way round it for the third time during a regular fitness attempt, I became convinced that the school giant tortoises are certainly of the faster variety.
This week for supper on Wednesday we made a foray into the mayhem of people, cars and taxis outside the Bingham school compound and found what looked like a bar that could perhaps serve us food. Seating didn’t look too comfortable so we explored further. The next rather smoky bar interior wasn’t much of an improvement but we were ushered into one of the back rooms where we sat on low stools around what resembled a coffee table. The television was on with the sound turned down, showing an American film with Arabic sub-titles.
His eyes told the story. Empty, frightened, confused. And he wasn't saying a word. As I knelt by his mattress on the floor of the two-roomed mud and tin house in the back streets of Kolfe a stone's throw from Bingham, I felt pretty helpless. I was also being watched. In addition to Theresa and Dawid who had brought me here, there were at least half a dozen more people in the room, and double that in the yard outside. All worried. All concerned. I needed a story and Dawid was translating, but Yalew would say nothing. As best as I could I checked him over.