Day 4: Chapa

Today I’ve learned a lot of lessons. Lessons I am not sure I could have learned at home.

-       First, though probably least important - Firfir (injera with berbera sauce) for breakfast today and cold pineapple juice = delicious.

-       Coffee service involves roasting the beans over a small tin stove piled with coals. A small tray is set-up and surrounded with scattered flower petals. Coffee is poured into small bowl shaped cups without handles, still scalding hot. It’s key to hold the cup by the rim to avoid burning your fingertips.

-       You know where I didn’t think to spray bug repellent? On my fanny. You know where mosquitos love to hang out? In the squatty potty. Who has bug-bitten lady bits? Yea. Valuable lessons, guys, valuable lessons.

-       Getting pulled over for a routine traffic stop might go smoother if your driver doesn’t get into an argument with the officer. But I wouldn’t know. Because ours did. We were all asked to get out and stand on the curb for several minutes, then told to get back in our seats. I was sitting in the front seat, so I literally had a front row seat to the second portion of the argument, which started as we were pulling away. Our driver made a comment in a certain-tone and then the officer was opening his door again and demanding that he get out for the second time. Which he didn’t, which caused things to escalate, but then in a strange turn of events they both took part in some weird facial touching. I’m not kidding, one minute these two guys are yelling at each other in Amharic and making angry gestures, the next minute our driver is holding the officer’s face, patting his cheeks and neck and they are both chuckling. No explanation given either before or after we drove away from the checkpoint.

-       Power here is kind of thing. Or lack of a thing as I type this I’ve pushed my power cord back into the outlet and propped it with my bible to get it at just the right angle to pull some electricity into my macbook no less than twelve times.

-       The women of Chapa speak a language different then Amharic, they speak Sidomo.  We held a women’s meeting today and invited the women in the town to join. They delighted us with singing and dancing. And told us a little about their lives. I learned one word of Sidamo while they were speaking. I learned it because it was repeated over and over. The word was Megano, which means God. Every sentence was riddled with the word Megano. We had a translator and part way through I told her that based on the women’s stories I would venture to guess that Megano meant God. She said yes. The next moment I realized how amazing this was. I live in a culture that glorifies humanity, we tell each other to do what our heart tells us, to trust ourselves, to hustle, to lean in, to be who we are, to do what is right for us. When we tell a story from our life we begin with “I,” explain “myself,” and close with “me.” What would it sound like if someone were to learn the word God in English from me? Because I spoke of little else but His abundant goodness and mercy. What if my friends her the word God more then the word me. What a rare thing in our culture and how valuable an example that these women have set for me.

So glad to be learning from this place, I truly love it here.