Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Year 2007

Before we talk about this New Year, thanks to those who have responded about our previous post. My genius SIL had the idea that I make an online lists to help with management. Thanks Sarah, what a great idea! If you are interested, here is our wish list. Thank you for your consideration!

Onto our New Year celebration!  September 11th is a day remembered by all Americans as a day of tragedy for our country. It is also the day for Ethiopia’s New Year. Today marks the beginning of the year 2007. We have a different calendar, you should google it, it’s fascinating. 

IMG 4037

If someone was here with no calendar access, big holidays are predictable by the amount of live goats and sheep on top of public transport. I have seen up to twenty live animals strapped down as the minibus flies down the road.

The morning started with a trip to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

IMG 9849

There were supposed horse races to happen but it was too muddy and is postponed to a later date. 

IMG 9854

We then went to our friend, Yeshi’s house. Yeshi lives in a town about 30 kilometers away.

IMG 3657

It was our first time meeting Yeshi’s family and we loved it.

IMG 3672

The girls made pretend injera while the other adults ate doro wet (a traditional spicy chicken and egg dish) and drank coffee.

IMG 3660

Grinding the fresh roasted coffee beans. A group of five priests came in with a drum and songs.

IMG 3677

 I am so thankful for this dear friend.

IMG 9888

We walked to a neighbor’s house for the evening meal.

IMG 4049

Here we ate sheep tibs and we had coffee full of spiced butter. Between the “white” meat (the fat is considered a delicious part of the animal) and the butter in my coffee, I decided that food eaten to be culturally appropriate doesn’t count as calories. 

IMG 9891

At 5:00 pm, The Littles were given a Pepsi and a round of coffee. Amazing. 

May your 2007 be full of life (and sleeping kids)!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014



I don’t know how to do this in a non-needy way. I am going to list a few things we would love to have or borrow.

Sign up for it here: Jon and Amy’s Wishlist

English classes are going well.

IMG 3769

Crayon #101 

The first time coloring was more uneventful than the day I decided to teach painting to kids who didn’t know what a paintbrush is.

IMG 4015

So many of you have sent craft and art supplies that our being well-used, by The Littles, our guests just passing through and our neighborhood kids.

Kids’ scissors and crayons are always great

We would like to collect items when we are in the USA for a wedding, our return to Ethiopia in early January 2015


Each class involves a story, Reference post on “What’s A Boat?!”  This experience brought to my attention that a simple flannelgraph set could greatly enhance understanding. Also, any small realistic toys, vehicles, animals, household items, etc

-world map (laminated if possible)


-Small white dry erase boards

-multiple packs of dry erase crayons (we keep losing the lids for our markers!)

-Simple kids books that could enhance English teaching experience

-Very basic coloring books

IMG 4021

-Watercolors (WASHABLE)

-Stickers that depict real life things (animals, vehicles, etc)

IMG 4026

I asked Yenework which sticker she wanted. She smiled and pulled off the background sheet and slapped it on her shirt. When you are three, bigger is always better. 

Back to the USA

As we weren’t planning on being in the USA for a winter in quite some time, we got rid of most of our winter things. As we will be coming back now, to the USA for my brother’s wedding, we are missing some winter wardrobe pieces that I was hoping to borrow.

If anyone has these items and they are willing to lend for three weeks this winter, can you please sign up here?

IMG 3869

Otherwise, my kids may look like this. A combo of dress up clothes, pajamas, too small of shoes and an oversized shirt.

-2 pairs of size 10 girls’ snow boots

-2 nice winter coats girls’ size 5 

-2 winter coats to play in the snow, size 5

-2 pairs of snow pants, also size 5

- girls jeans, size 4 or 5

 -2 car seats for age 5 kids

For Mama to borrow:

-hair straightener and blow dryer

 If you are interested in either lending or sending items, please check out this link

We do have another needs/wants list that is more care package type items, I am not going to post it as I already feel extremely needy posting this, if you are interested, let me know and I will send it to you. :)


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Lake, First Take

Through English classes, I usually end with a story. During the story, “Jesus Calms the Storm”, I realized the kids had no context for a boat. 

After a toy boat was produced, I had the kids guess at it’s function. “Umm, is it a shoe?!” They held it upside down. I tried to describe a boat’s function. Nothing clicked. So, we pulled out little toy figurines, filled a tub with water and floated our toy boat.

As Jon and I talked, we decided that having a lake only 20 minutes away was a very easy opportunity to let the students not only see a boat but also experience it. 

We hadn’t fully thought through the fact that this was also the first time the parents or children had also seen a lake. One child asked as we hiked down to the crater lake, “Is it clouds?” It was so fun.

IMG 3524

We barely got the mother to board but as we slowly rowed out, there were huge smiles. We were way more excited than the others about monkey and rare bird sightings. Monkeys here are kind of like seeing something as exotic as a squirrel. 

IMG 3539

IMG 3562

Then we picnicked in a beautiful spot with the sun filtering through the trees and told stories.

IMG 3565

The next Saturday, we repeated our adventure with another family. The mother stayed home as (aforementioned naughty) monkeys were getting into their barley crop, so someone had to stay back.

IMG 3579

This group was profoundly more nervous. 

IMG 3593

Loading the boat was met with little exuberance.

IMG 3608

We had a fun visitor from Addis who was hanging out with us doing some research while his wife and daughter are in the USA. The girls loved his time with us and monopolized every second of his non-sleeping time. 

IMG 3622

Zody made it aboard the boat but at it’s first rock, that strong little woman jumped off. Her brother followed her ashore. We talked him back into the boat but Zody would not be convinced so we kept our feet on solid ground. 

IMG 3603

IMG 3600

They held on to their dad the whole time.

IMG 3615

Until the oldest son got a chance to “captain” the boat. The mood lightened and relaxed. 

IMG 3628

We picnicked again

IMG 3634

Combine a body of water with a family we love and memories built and I would call it a near perfect Saturday. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

And Then He Wasn't

Our community has been struck with two deaths. One an elderly gentlemen and the other a young man.

The funerals are extremely important and an event so large it seems like all other life stops.

We missed the first lekso (funeral event). When we later visited the son who had just lost his father, I entered the gate first, shook his hand and expressed my condolences. I moved on and as I looked back, another man caught my eye and gestured to me to crouch down. One by one, as sympathies were expressed, the person would crouch down. By the time the late man entered, we were all in a low circle and then we just quietly crouched, occasionally someone would make a small sound of sympathy or a low moan. Heads wagged in remorse, hands of support would pat the back of the man in grief. I don’t know how long we would have stayed in that position if the army ants had not broken up our gathering. 

It was a powerful moment for me as we just sat together in grief. No words, just crouching alongside. Sitting together and for just a few moments, sharing the burden of his pain.

Jon is currently at the lekso for the young man. My heart feels as gloomy as our gray skies. We pray for Shitu and his family and also that Words of hope and comfort could be shared and could reach his heart during this difficult time of processing.

The following photos were from a January lekso of a highly honoured Awi man.  We do not normally take photos at these events but Jon was asked by our friend, the son of the deceased man, to record it all through snapshots and video. 

IMG 5530

Hundreds of horses were ridden.

IMG 5517

There is much ceremony and tradition

IMG 5475

The casket

IMG 5435

Lining up his animal skins as a representation of his wealth

IMG 5395

Hundreds in attendance

Let’s pray for hope in the midst of pain.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jon The LumberJack

One project that Jon is working with here is a sawmill co-op.

IMG 9752

The men have a technical piece of machinery, a woodmizer sawmill. 

Jon has had this long time dream of being a lumberjack, partially because when we were engaged, my sister, challenged Jon’s eating abilities as he couldn’t finish his plate, with this statement, “A lumberjack could do it”.  Welcome to the family, babe. ;)

IMG 3426

So what’s a man to do but almost 7 years later, become a lumberjack?  ;)

IMG 3391

There is so much potential here, from the business and relational aspects. Jon gets to brush up on his mechanical skills as well, he has a manual about as big as a bookshelf. 

IMG 9748

Meregeta, Demelish and Fantahun are the current co-op leadership.



Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I drove. After over one year of not getting behind the wheel, white knuckles and many prayers later, I did it. Remember my previous mentions of being too terrified to drive here?  Well, about 2 hours into our trip, Jon’s sprained back flared up to a point where it was the safest option that I drive.

With lots of prayer and with Jon as my very patient coach, 7 hours later, we arrived, safe and sound. 

There was that one episode in the gorge, where the buckled asphalt had a sharp incline and I stalled…and then probably tried about 15 times to get off the hill, but we won’t talk about that moment. :)

Jon said this is the best spot to learn to drive stick, because after a road like this, anything else will feel like a joy ride.

The scenery didn’t disappoint.

IMG 9505

IMG 9529

IMG 9524

Rainy season brings this incredible lushness...

IMG 3737

Along with some really difficult terrain.

Now, if I can just pass my driver’s test (and remember to shift even when Jon doesn’t tell me) a whole new world is open to me. ;)


Friday, August 29, 2014

In Whatever State We Are

Our family has had many opportunities to talk about being content. The girls really like where we live but they also remember so much of what they hold dear in the USA.

After our time in Addis, they reconnected with friends and then said goodbye, again.
IMG 3747

Cuddled up in front of the heater, we had the following conversation.

A: Mama, when can we go to our real home?

Me: Where is your real home?

A: Indiana, America

J: I think it is heaven, but if I have to say goodbyes there, I will go to my heaven bed and cry and cry.

IMG 9149

Swimming in our “supply” city, about 2 hours north.

IMG 9291

Winking practice

Later that day, Little A said, “Mama, in Indiana, we don’t have mountains. I would miss the mountains”.

And so they get to daily practice the discipline of being content in all their circumstances.

Thanks for praying for Third Culture Kids that you know, it makes all the difference.