Thursday, the day the journal died
For his age, he’s wise
He’s got his mother’s eyes
There’s gladness in his heart
He’s young and he’s wild
My only prayer is, if I can’t be there,
Lord, protect my child
As his youth now unfolds
He is centuries old
Just to see him at play makes me smile
No matter what happens to me
No matter what my destiny
Lord, protect my child
While the world is asleep
You can look at it and weep
Few things you find are worthwhile
And though I don’t ask for much
No material things to touch
Lord, protect my child
He’s young and on fire
Full of hope and desire
In a world that’s been raped, raped and defiled
If I fall along the way
And can’t see another day
Lord, protect my child
There’ll be a time I hear tell
When all will be well
When God and man will be reconciled
But until men lose their chains
And righteousness reigns
Lord, protect my child
Bob Dylan – “Lord Protect My Child”
6am is officially the butt crack of dawn. The blaring schoffar is the fart from that butt crack. I know some people love to hear the mosque in the morning, but I’m guessing those people are morning people. And everyone knows morning people are evil Satan puppets.Tired was a thing of the past, I have moved past tired and into delirium. I just want to be in my home where I have learned to tune out the train on it’s regularly scheduled route. And the other not so pleasant sounds all of our guest complain about in our house, but I’ve grown accustomed to. This mosque at 6am, it’s not for me.
Today I decided to try something new for breakfast, and ordered the fried eggs. I’m not exactly sure I was eating chicken eggs, but I’ve had weirder before. All in all the food here has been good, not that I’ve had an appetite sense I arrived, but I’ve eaten.
Walking into the orphanage was walking into a zoo today. There were at least 3 simultaneous soccer games going on, all of which overlapped in boundaries somewhere. And I don’t think the kids have noticed, but with the slope of the play area the northern team has a HUGE advantage, in fact I’ve never seen any one beat whatever team makes up the northern team.
Yesterday they boys brought out the pump for the soccer balls and we discovered that ALL of the balls had holes, or bad plugs. On the way to the home today I stopped at a street vendor and bought 2 balls for about $2. They were excited to get the new balls, but they continued to use the old balls. I was a bit confused until I saw one of the kids letting air out of the new balls, THEY WERE TOO HARD!!! I busted out laughing, and thought it was hysterical. We may have the future of the USA soccer team here, but they are going to have to thicken up their skin a bit first!!!
I decided the soccer games were a bit much for me this morning, I couldn’t even figure out who was on whose team, not that they had that problem, but I did. So I decided to give my morning to the younger kids and toddlers. They were inside watching Baby Einstein, or something like that, there weren’t any baby faces in this one and I seem to remember that from when my biological kids were watching this stuff. I sat down with them and I was swamped with little arms wanting to be held. One little girl was very insistent that I give her my time, and she was being so freaking cute so I conceded. A few of the kids said something to her after a while and the next thing I knew I had a sobbing child in my arms, who I gave to the nanny as this child spoke NO English, and needed someone who could understand her. The next thing I knew one of the older girls came in threw herself prostrate on the floor and began to wail. A lot of Amharic was going on, I was feeling quite overwhelmed, so I left the room and decided it would be a good time to grab some lunch.
I guess in many ways this small episode just showed me how bad it was going to be to leave. I want to stay here and protect my kids from anything that may be down the road. These are my kids and I love them and want to be there for them, but I have to lay them in God’s hands and trust Him to protect them. I struggle with that fatherly desire to be there for them, and the call of Christ to trust Him with my kids. I am going to be spending the next few months away from my kids, and I have to trust Him with the protection of my children. Not that I don’t have to trust Him with my children at home, but as a parent I am sure you understand.
Well the internet was still down, in fact my regular place didn’t even have power. SO I chatted for a few minutes and then head over for a bite to eat. My meal was only about $2 but there was enough for about 3 people to eat. I asked the waiter to put the rest of the food in a bag, with the intent of giving the food to the first beggar that I saw. Wouldn’t you know I walked out into a deserted road. I’m not sure why, normally this road is swarmed with people, but not today, not now. In fact I made it all the way to the orphanage and I didn’t cross paths with a single person. At this point I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t keep it or take it in, but I couldn’t just waste it either. At this point I noticed a young boy playing kick the can in the middle of the road. I called him over, and he was very shy at first, but I extended the baggy out to him and he came over and took it. Honestly I don’t think I really helped any one out, perhaps I ruined the kids dinner, but he was dressed quite smartly and looked very well groomed. He was not a street kid by any leap of the imagination.
Back inside the orphanage I played some soccer with the boys that were still playing. In the middle of the game a kid came out to ask if I wanted to join the nannies for buna (coffee). Of course, and I headed in to sit with them for a while. Of course I didn’t understand a word of the conversation, but I really enjoyed the coffee and bread.
The director was there so I asked her about the mornings events and she told me the other kids had teased the young girl about having to go to America right now, without her sisters, and that was the cause of her meltdown. The sisters are very close, and whatever kid said it knew exactly what button to push. These are some of the sweetest kids I have ever met, but mind you they are still kids, and they are still selfish and self centered. I’m not sure the reasoning behind the attack on the kid, but I understand the attack perfectly. As far as the older girl she had came in, saw the commotion and decided to act it out as well. She actually thought she was quite funny. I am praying for her future family, they need it with the firecracker they are bringing into their home.
At some point in the week one of the kids had lifted up my shirt to see if my belly was white like the rest of me, or perhaps it was just to see how fat I really am, I’m not sure. But in doing so they saw the scar from a surgery I had last year where they removed a cyst the size of a softball from my liver. As you can imagine it’s a large scar. Of course they asked me where it came from so I told them an ambossa (lion) attacked me. They told me I was a liar, so I told them it was a dgebo (hyena), of courts they said I was a liar again. So I made up a story about how they both attacked me at the same time and killed each other and all I had was this one scratch.
Of course being kids they assume if they ask enough times I will slip up and tell them the truth, but we were all having fun with the story. Not to mention they were having fun embellishing it for each other. Well it was nothing to have two kid act out the scene where the lion attacks me and the hyena attacks the lion, and then there was the part they invented of me riding on the lions back carrying a spear killing the hyena, riding the lion to safety, and then killing the lion….. But the absolute best was the 2 toddlers that invented the game of pretending to be a lion and attack me, so that I would grab them and tickle them as they screamed in laughter.
These kids are great, but my battery was dying so I called it an early night and decided to retire to bead early.
Or so I thought.
On the way to the hotel I stopped in the cyber café, not my normal one as it still didn’t have power, but the computers still worked just as well. Mind you I missed the fact that at the other place they speak English, and this guy, well not a word. But as I was checking e-mail my wife hopped on line and figured out we were both on together. It took a minute to configure it but the next thing I knew we were using Yahoo Instant Chat and “talking” for the first time since I arrived.
Talking was a good thing, but doing it until 10:30pm wasn’t the best. Mind you I had taken an early lunch and was famished, and the restaurant shut down at 11. Luckily for me, the room service feature goes past 11, and I was able to have a meal brought to my room.
My Bible had come in during the day as well, and they were very excited to give them to me. Unfortunately the English/Amharic Bibles were sold out. But they had found 2 very nice Amharic only Bibles. They asked me what the other one was for and when I told them for me they were truly stunned. I explained that I am “preacher” (for lack of a better word with the already huge language barrier) back in the US. Now mind you I do preach in the “biker” circuit and I am ordained so I can do weddings and funerals and the like, but I am vocationally an IT helpdesk nerd. I wouldn’t say that I “lied” but perhaps I could have thought of some other way to explain my role in the church here in the US. I just didn’t think they would get, not comprehend, I’m a missionary to the biker community, an elder in Bikers for Christ, and a worker bee for the kingdom purposes of the local church assembly.
I attempted to journal out the day as I ate my supper, but my journal died tonight. I got half way through the day and couldn’t bear to relive the day for another moment. Don’t worry, I am going to continue the story, but my attempt at keeping a journal while there died. It was just too much emotionally to continue reliving the days experiences every night. I still have a lot of story to tell, and it is still very current in my mind, but this is the end of transciption of my journal from Ethiopia. The rest is on memory. I was so very tired, and perhaps if I would have tried journaling in the morning it would have been better, but I couldn’t write another page. In fact, my journal stops in mid sentence, in mid thought, mid day. I was just done.Another very late night.
A very exhausted me.
A full day.