the ban has lifted
Yeah haw, the ban has lifted. Due to the crazy response we have gotten over Ethiopia Barbie I can now introduce my wife of 7 years, Heather.
So this is her in the Ethiopian Dress given to her by our dear Ethiopian friend from Chicago.
This adoption has been one crazy story after another, you wouldn’t believe the contacts and friends we’ve made on this journey if we tried to tell you. We don’t believe it ourselves, and yet here we are with some of the neatest and dearest people on earth who we are now privileged to call friend.
So let’s talk about the actual dress itself today, there is quite the funny story from just last week in fact.
Both my wife and myself have degrees in Secondary Education, my wife taught for 1 year before being promoted to Mom. I never used my degree and would have to cut my salary in half to start. But my wife really enjoys teaching and kids. So she has volunteered over the year to come into our daughters school and do “workshops” on Ethiopia. Well last week she decided she would tackle our daughter’s kindergarten class and come in every day to teach a short lesson on Ethiopia. And every day she wore her dress as to “authenticate” the experience for the little imps.
So on day one Heather gets to the school and is very warmly received by almost everyone. The was one female teacher that decided her “education” was better than Heather’s and got into and argument about how Heather was wearing a beautiful Kente cloth dress. Heather attempted to explain that her dress was bought in Ethiopia and made by Ethiopians, and that Kente cloth was from Ghana, but that didn’t seem to work. I don’t know why it is that people think that in a continent the size of Africa there is only one culture. And why people mix and match west Africa culture with east Africa culture. I’m going to start my own American centric world view of painting Cowboys running the old southern plantations. And let’s paint a picture of the Boston Tea Party being done by the indigenous American Indian tribes. As one from Catawba heritage I’ve gotten somewhat desensitized to American lumping every Indian group under one banner, the Hollywood banner, but I guess I thought people would think just a little bit more when talking about a culture that you are totally separated from. At least I would think you wouldn’t try to pass yourself off as an expert, or smarter than a person with a 4 year degree that has specialized in African culture just because you have more melanin in your skin. Yes, that’s right the argument can really be boiled down tot he fact that this black teacher refused to admit that this white stay at home mom may know more about Africa than she thinks she does.
So we roll on, and the week continues. Well to back story a bit, my daughter has worn a necklace we made for her for at least the last year. It’s a small bead necklace with the colors of the Ethiopian flag on it. She wears the necklace with great pride and if you ask her about it she tells you she wears it to remind herself to pray for her brother and sister, and that she will wear it until they come home. Now that is a 5 year old I can be proud of! As you can imagine though it has been noticed by the other kids in the school and she has been bullied and told to take it off, or give it to the bullies on several occasions. She has always stood her ground, she is a big kid and doesn’t take anyone’s flack, but last week one of her good friends asked if she could wear it for the day. My daughter was very distraught on this one, as here was a girl she really liked, and she wanted to share, but just not this necklace. So I decide to step in and fix the problem. I made her friend a necklace. Then she comes home and says another girl in the class stole it from the girl she gave it too. After calling some parents, and talking to some kids we get the necklace back to who it was meant for, but I discover I have alienated my daughter by only sending one necklace for a tight nit group of girls. So I ask my daughter who else she wants to give a necklace to. She gives me a few names, 2 I think, but they are only the white friends. She is friends with the black girls in her class, and I don’t want to cause any race related issues in the group dynamic so I ask her if she has any of her black friends that she would like to give a necklace too. All of a sudden I have volunteered myself to make a necklace for every kid in her class. that’s 23 necklaces. And then I proceeded to forget about it until Thursday night, the day before I told her they would be done. That’s when I discovered we were out of beads and I needed to run to the store that was closing to get supplies. I didn’t find what we needed, but luckily Wal-Mart is 24 hours and they had some beads that would work. Heather and I staid up until 2 am making the dumb things!!!!! My substitute beads worked out to the very last bead. I used the last of the greens on the last necklace I made. But they all got done and all the kids loved their Ethiopian necklaces. Of course I was too dead tired to care.
So Heather goes in for the last day of teaching the kids. The day goes fine, she even gets the kids to participate in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony with decaff coffee. The kids hated the taste but loved the experience, and they all drank the first of their 3 cups. They were all proud of themselves for not complaining until Heather told them they had to drink 3!!!!!! She let them off the hook though.
So on her way home she decides to kill 2 birds with one stone and decides to do her grocery shopping. All of a sudden Heather was very, very aware of just how much she stuck out dressed in this tradition Ethiopian attire in the middle of this southern fried hick town in the middle of Food Lion. The only people to speak to her were those that said how beautiful the dress was, but even those spent too much time staring at my poor shy wife. I so wish I would have been there, but I would have just made it worse and would have drawn more attention to her, not less. I’m going to get her to do it again for me, but only so I can follow her around with the camera and get the reactions of the people around her. I think we’ll use the mall for that though………….