Teaching Hope

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Happy Millennium!!! September 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — teachinghope @ 9:22 am

Written 9.17.07

 

Hello again from Ethiopia! I am excited and yet intimidated to write this blog as there are many thoughts and feelings that I would like to share, but at times I can’t seem to grasp the words that would best explain. So bear with me as I try to describe all the experiences we have had here in the last week.

 

On Monday we moved into our newly acquired house! This is thrilling for me as well as the rest of the team because finding a home to rent in Ethiopia seemed to be quite challenging. We looked at a total of six houses within three days. The first five houses were fine and we could have made them work, but for some reason none of us trusted the people showing us the homes. On the third day after viewing the fifth home we made our way to an area of Addis called “Zeneba Work”. As we were driving to the last home our friend and Ethiopian father Pastor Mattewos stopped at a friends house. It turned out that his friends had servant’s quarters, which they were looking to rent. We walked into the house for rent and it was perfect! The house consisted of two average size bedrooms, one bathroom, a very small kitchen and a living room, just what we were looking for. There were also additional perks to the home: it was a twenty minute walk from school, it was on the same compound as Werku and Mambera (the owners of the house), and it was close to our father Mattewos. We wanted to rent the home. Before we could explain our interest in the home we were invited in to the home of Werku and Mambera for soda and traditional Ethiopian bread. In their home we were able to show our interest and our budget for rent. We were able to come to an agreement quickly into the conversation, so that afternoon we gave a down payment and we were moved in only four days later.

 

Now that we have spent a week in our home we have been able to get used to living in another country. It is no longer abnormal to purify all of our water, bleach our vegetables, wash our clothes by hand, have power outages every day, cook our meals over a butane-powered stove, and wake up to roosters crowing every morning.

 

The next big event that we experienced while being in Ethiopia is the millennium. For those of you who haven’t heard over the news, Ethiopia is on a different calendar than the rest of the world. The country uses the Coptic calendar, which consists of 13 months. Twelve of the months are 30 days while the 13th month is five or six days depending on the year. The only other differences between the Coptic and Roman calendars are that the Coptic calendar is seven years behind the Roman calendar and the Coptic calendar New Year falls on September 12th. So if you do the math you can see that we celebrated the year 2000 for the second time on the eve of September 11th. Most people in Ethiopia were celebrating at concerts, in the soccer stadium or different squares around the city. The four of us celebrated around our circle table playing cards into all hours of the night. We decided to celebrate this way because the transportation around the city was impossible and there were suspicions of terrorism. (So family members- be happy we are being safe!)

 

On New Year’s Day we were invited to Werku and Mambera’s house for tea, coffee, bread, popcorn and Ethiopian television. We sat with them for about two hours. It was fun being able to see all of the different celebrations around the city on television. The most memorable celebration we saw on T.V. occurred in a building built just for the millennium. There were thousands of people gathered in the building for a speech by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and other presidents and prime ministers of surrounding countries; as well as a concert put on by the Black Eyed Peas (a popular American band). While we spent our New Year’s Day with Werku and Mambera, others around Ethiopia spent their day eating injera and wot (traditional Ethiopian food). Many of our friends here even bought their own sheep to slaughter and prepare for the celebration!

 

After a great celebration around Ethiopia we were ready to get started with school. We were prepared to start school on Monday, September 17th, but over the weekend we found out from HOPE that the Ministry of Education decided that they wanted to have training for the Ethiopian teachers. It was mandatory that all Ethiopian teachers attend for the week of September 17th-September 21st. So now school will not start until September 24th. I believe that we all had bittersweet feelings about the delay of school. We are relieved that we can postpone teaching because we all feel slightly inadequate in this daunting task; but at the same time we are eager to get going on the task we have come for. It is at times very challenging to have the American “achiever attitude” in the African culture. We constantly remind each other that although we feel as if we are not achieving anything in the “American sense” that truly we are achieving by being a presence and building relationships.

 

During this week as well Maren has had the unfortunate experience of being the first to get sick from the food here in Ethiopia. Luckily, we were very prepared for this to happen during our time here. So Maren is currently on the medicine that we received from our doctors before leaving the United States and we are hoping that she returns to her normal perky self in the next few days! We will keep you posted.

 

Lastly, our team has been able to grow closer in the last week. We have had many great conversations revolving our adjustments to Africa, our life before Africa and our team dynamics. We are all very excited about our friendships with each other and are looking forward to how we can support each other better everyday. These conversations have blessed each of us and lifted our spirits.

 

There are so many other things that I could share about our life here, but I want to keep you all on the edge of your seat for our next entry.

 

With love and gratitude for life,

 

Bethany and the team

 

Thank God for: such a wonderful house, a great team of people working together, the many Ethiopians who have taken us in as their own.

Prayer requests: Physical health (particularly Maren), preparation and confidence as teachers, emotional health (again homesickness and overall adjustment to a new culture), personal and team visions.

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Correction!!! September 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — teachinghope @ 11:43 am

Hello All!

A couple days ago, I posted our new cell phone number and the only person that has called us is Patrick Engelhart and he lives in China. We were almost positive that our parents would be first, but we were wrong. We think that this is due to the glaring error made on our part. We put the wrong number!

There are two key digits that you must dial in order for the number to be complete. They are included in the new number below. Try this one instead!

011-251-9-13-204864

We would love to hear from anyone who would like to call. Love to all and look for a post coming in the next day or so. Bethany has it written already, but there have been some issues with the flash drive we’re using and perhaps the entire country’s internet connection. That’s all for now.

Apologetic but Hopeful,

Joshua

 

Contact Information September 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — teachinghope @ 2:27 pm

Hello all! There will soon be another updated post but for right now we just wanted to leave our contact information for those interested.

We just got a cell phone! The number is: 0251-9-13-204864. (0251 is the country code. 9 means mobile phone. 13 is the area code. And the rest is the number.) We have heard that you can get $5 phone cards at gas stations specifically for Africa. The phone cards should have about 20 minutes on them. Call anytime! Just remember that Addis Ababa is 10 hours ahead of Seattle.

Our address is as follows:

Bethany Krumm, Josh Tuggle, Maren or Sarah Mylander

c/o: HOPE Enterprises

PO Box 30153

Addis Ababa

ETHIOPIA

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Bethany and the gang

 

Ah-muh-se-guh-nah-what? September 6, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — teachinghope @ 4:13 pm

Written on 6 September 2007

We’ve decided to share the “responsibility” of updating those curious minds who are wondering what we’ve been up to—if we ever even made it to Africa…(the short answer is yes). I have undertaken the daunting task of writing our first blog entry—The entry which includes many of our first experiences. So I’ll attempt to fill you in, although we’ve all been keeping our own journals (and Josh has his own blog) so we’ll have plenty more stories and personal experiences to share with you.

Right. The first 2 weeks. We flew through London where we had a 24-hour layover. We took the tube to Big Ben and the Thames (Josh’s first time), and spent the night in a smarmy hotel before expertly making our way back to the airport. From there we had a short fuel stop in Alexandria, Egypt, then arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday the 27th at around 2am local time.

The trip up to that point had gone very smoothly, but in the Bole International Airport we met our first real challenges. #1) One of our bags never left London. (Not a huge deal, we can pick it up later) #2) No one was there to meet us as we had planned. No one was answering the phone, we didn’t have much birr (Ethiopian $), or even an address that we could give to a taxi. That was when our cunning and problem-solving skills came in handy. Finally we were able to contact another friend who came out to meet us (by this time it’s rounding 4am) and after an eye-opening drive through the streets of Addis in 2 rickety old taxis, and a huddled prayer of thanks for the Lord’s provision and protection, we slept on the floor of his home.

The next day our friends from HOPE (who had been expecting us the following day—miscommunication occurs regularly here) picked us up and brought us to our temporary home, a guesthouse in southwest Addis. We are still staying in the house, which includes a place to sleep, breakfast and dinner, companionship in the form of many other house guests (mostly adopting parents with their new children—we have seen the joy and the struggle of adoption), and some other minor comforts. This place has become our refuge and we have looked forward to coming back here at the end of the day…We are thankful for the sense of home we have been able to establish here in the past 2 weeks.

The first few days proved to be exciting and unpredictable. Driving through the city is always an adventure…HOPE has 2 locations in Addis: the school where we will be teaching, and the College Headquarters (HOPE University College opens fall 2008) which also includes the Feeding Center. The Feeding Center is the only one in Addis and feeds over 700 people every day except Sunday. The poverty here is different than in the US—I can’t quite describe it. My heart breaks for these people and yet I have such hope for them. Even the slightest touch or acknowledgement seems to strengthen them. HOPE has taken action against the poverty, both to meet the immediate needs of the people and to tackle the problem altogether through reform on government and social levels.

We’ve been on the school campus nearly every day, familiarizing ourselves with the programs, classrooms, and culture. The teachers and administration have been fun to get to know and we look forward to meeting the children in a week and a half!

Other than our escapades around Addis to the Feeding Center and to the school, we took a short road-trip (11 hour drive) northeast to Dessie with Dr. Minas (President of HOPE Enterprises). HOPE has a school in Dessie and we were making the trek to attend graduation. The drive was quite interesting—in a good way. We saw many other villages and the beauty of the land. The countryside is very green (rainy season is just wrapping up), rolling hills, patchwork fields full of crops…We can’t wait to share pictures with you!

The graduation ceremony was much like our own, except that afterwards all of the graduates wanted to take pictures with us. We all felt like celebrities and had to laugh about that social difference. On the ride home we stopped for lunch and what Dr. Minas called “the biggest surprise ever!” Here we witnessed the slaughter and preparation of our lunch—4 chickens. Wow. 2 things we have learned: Ethiopians love their meat and they eat it fresh.

Now we await the start of school. We’re learning what exactly our responsibilities are, preparing as much as we can, and getting ourselves situated. During our time we’ve also made some very dear friends. It’s my pleasure to introduce to you Dr. Minas, Pastor Mathewos, Tefera, Geneti, Danny, Zeneba, and Hannah. You will hear more of these incredible people throughout the year, but Josh is giving me a pressing look which I’m interpreting as: “Hurry up and finish the blog, Maren, so we can post it already.” So, I’ll refrain from telling you about these people except to say that they have taught us and loved us and we have grown to love them in return. The size of their hearts is remarkable and I pray that we continue to learn from these wonderful mentors!

I’ve told you just about everything we’ve done, but I can’t do it justice in a short blog entry (I suppose “short” is relative). I will say this and I think I can speak on behalf of all of us: We have been completely overwhelmed. Our senses have experienced so much “newness” over the past 2 weeks—the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds are so different. Our emotions are still reeling from leaving our loved ones behind and are struggling with the capacity to process what has taken place in our hearts and minds here in Ethiopia. We are confident God will continue to stretch and challenge us—and that He will be our source of strength for the next 11 months. He is very evident here—not only in the country’s rich history and culture, but also in the peace and passion He has provided to complete the work He has set before us.

Hopefully we’ll be able to write more consistently rather than trying to cram 2 whole weeks (let alone the first 2 eventful weeks) in one entry. Ameuseugeunallo (thank-you) for taking the time to read up on us.

With an expectant heart,

Maren (and the crew)

Praise the Lord: We got our last bag and WE GOT A PERMANENT HOUSE!!! For our friends, safety

Pray for us: Health (including homesickness), continued adjustment, safety, confidence in our responsibilities