I was walking home from the hospital and a family invited me to sit with them for lunch. I sat in the grass on the lawn of the hospital. They offered me a jug and said “drink”. I took the jug. It smelled sour. The liquid in it was white and chunky. They told me it was milk. I drank some. It was more sour than it smelled. I asked them what type of milk it was and they told me it came from their sheep. They poured more out of a very ornate jug. It was a tall flask, wrapped in leather. The handle was along the side and had shells sown into it. The lid was bright yellow with a leather top, covered in seashells and small beads cascading down the sides. The women then fed me. Not fed me as in offered me food, but took their bread and injera fir-fir (an ethiopian food) placed in their hands and put it in my mouth.
They wanted to know all about me. Where was I from? What languages did I speak? How did I learn Amharic? Do I know Oromo, their first language? Their questions kept coming. We all laughed as I stumbled through my stories in Amharic. I was eating with the son, father, mother and two wives of a man who had just had surgery three days prior. When we finished eating the women placed their veils back over there faces. The only part of their face that could be seen was their eyes, but as they spoke, this time, I could hear the smiles on their faces. God has given this muslim family the gift of hospitality. I felt so blessed to be a part of their family for lunch.
Later that afternoon, I brought them every “American” food I could find in my house. They got to try fruit leather, star bursts, different teas, pixie sticks, some cheese… The father of the patient absolutely cracked me up! He LOVED the pixie sticks. He hid one up his sleeve like a magician and would occasionally sneak a taste of the flavored sugar. As the tasting continued, the crowd grew.
One little boy, now nine, was born with an imperforate anus, meaning he had no exit for his stool. He had seen someone for it and they just form a hole with their finger. They didn’t find the right hole, so his stool just leaked out of him. He was here to have an anus constructed, but it had failed, so they had to give a colostomy (his stool went into a bag on his stomach). He became a part of my daily fun rounds (singing, treats, dancing and telling stories). One day I brought him a pixie stick. He told his dad that he didn’t want to eat it because he wanted his little sister to know how wonderful it tasted. His dad convinced him to eat it because it was a gift for him. The next day, I brought one for his sister. You should have seen his smile. He was delighted that his sister would also get one. What a precious boy!
Another girl had been here for a month or so for skin grafts on her arm. At the age of one she had tipped over the kerosene fire used for cooking. After the accident her arm had healed with the forearm attached to her upper arm. The skin grafts will give her the flexibility back into her arm. Her dad was here with her. She was quiet and shy, but was would seek me out everyday. I would see her peaking over a counter or around a door. Some days I would talk to her and she would run away, others she would jump on my lap. My favorite day was when her mother and little brother came to visit. She screamed and ran over to me and jumped up into my arms. She wanted me to meet her family.
Back to the other family. Over the next few days, I had the joy of spending time with this family. The father has three wives. The youngest hadn’t come to the hospital because she was pregnant with his twenty-sixth child. They taught me how to say things in Arabic and Oromo. The father had made sure all of the men in the family knew Arabic, so they could read the Koran. When he was discharged, they invited me to their home.
I have tried to visit, several times, but it just hasn’t worked out. I initially wrote this blog almost two years ago. I left it unfinished thinking that I would be able to share with you all about the trip to their home, but it hasn’t happened. I remember feeling so blessed by all of these people. I remember thinking about how God has made us all so special. He has taken the time to make each person wonderfully. And I remember thanking Him for reminding me of this. It is as simple as the children’s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.
I want to update you on the gifts you have given. I have now posted about all three of the projects. In 19 days (as of October 29) you all donated $2, 271! I had about $1000 in the account already. So that puts us over $3,200. My mom is coming next Sunday (YAY!!!!), and she will be bringing two fetal monitors. Daniel has put in a request for the carpenter to start building the shelves for the books. Next week, we are planning to paint one library. And the 5,500 books made it to Soddo!!!! We have 2 months left and I know we will be able to get this done because of how faithful you all have been. Many Thanks!