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These children were in town as we were watching the parade of priests during the festival of Meskel.  Aids is a big problem in Ethiopia and many children are infected.  Unlike Tanznia where children have free medical care, children in Ethiopia do not have medical coverage, so many are sick.  A few of the children we saw looked unwell, others, like children everywhere, played and smiled for the camera.

Look at these wonderful clothes and colours.  Even when you look closely, and see that they are worn and tattered, they have a style.  I am sad at the way Americans are dressing these days.  The ubiquitous tee shirts and baseball caps are now seen in the airports.  When I traveled for business, men wore business suits.  Now they can be counted on one hand.  I see men with briefcases, in shorts and tee shirts.  Where are they going?  Do they do a “Clark Kent” in some phone booth and change into suits?  No, that can’t be it as there are no phone booths any more.  We have become so sloppy.  We have huge closets compared to when I was a child, but they are filled with baggy, sloppy clothing.  In Tanzania, men who live without running water or electricity, pour out of slums wearning the whitest shirts, with ties and slacks.  We wonder how they do it.  There, they want to look western in their dress,  I hope they don’t go the way of American men.

One of the many things I love about countries like Tanzania and Ethiopia is the mingling of animals and people!  Farm animals share the home with their owners, especially when they are very young.  Well, we have dogs in our beds – so who are we to question…In towns as well as cities (see photo here of goats in Addis Ababba).  When driving, undoubtedly when turning a corner, you dodge a goat, chicken, or sheep.  We were sitting at a small cafe drinking wonderful Ethiopan coffee with our guide and I asked him about all the animals roaming the street.  Donkeys and goats in particular.  Who did they belong to?  How did their owners find them, etc.  He said first of all their owners recognized all their animals and that most often, the animals found their way back home in the evening from their grazing in the town.  You would see them grazing on the verges, medians, in main cities.  When the animals were being attended to, it was most often a small child.  Can you imagine a 5, 6, or 7 year old  child caring for a flock of animals on their own?  Taking them to grazing pastures quite far from their homes and spending the day by themselves with the family wealth?  When there are boys, they take care of the animals and the little girls are responsible for taking care of babies or toddlers.  It isn’t unusual to see a girl of 6 or 7 with a baby on her back in the town with no adult – though she most often was with other children.  I will really miss not seeing goats in Southern Pines or a donkey roaming in Pinehurst.  At least their are horses in horse country…

The photo above of their priest, is one that our friend Joanne Kilpatrick should paint.  This photo is a bit blurry, but I do have some more of the priest reading the Psalms in one of the wonderful churches of Lalibela.

We arrived on American soil late yesterday, the 29th.  I was up at 3:30 this morning with my internal clock on Africa time ~ they are 7 hours ahead of us.  So it was 10:30 on Friday morning there.  We both are over-flowing with blogs but want and need time to process all that we experienced ~ quite different this time.  Jessie wrote of the bed-bug bites, and she stopped at the agriculture desk at immigration yesterday.  We were told not to bring our luggage or clothes in the  house other than to take them straight to the washing machine.  Also to spray our luggage with Lysol.  My rolling duffle has had it anyway so it is in the trash.  I literally unpacked in the garage and stripped down and went straight to the laundry room and then the shower.  Do you remember the old joke about the old men and women in the nursing home?  The women decided to streak the men.  As they went by one old man said:  “what was that?”  Another said:  “I don’t know but it needs ironing.”  If anyone had seem me that is what they would have said!

My camera and lap top is in Jessie’s luggage so I cannot even send you a picture of some of the amazing things we saw and did.  Her last picture of the young boy and the goat almost tells it all.  I told Jessie that artists have such an extra gift of conveying feelings as they paint ~ musicians can compose to express the same.  Folks like me, neither a painter nor a musician have to struggle to find words and in somethings we are wordless.  For now, with much more to come, I will say I was again humbled by their love for God and for each other.  Jessie has some wonderful thoughts about egos and I hope she will write about that.   She’s quite right and profound with those thoughts.

When we arrived in Dodoma we were both given gifts with this note:  “Welcome Home” which makes me ask that question:  “Where is home?”  Something to think about by William Stafford.

CONCURRENCE

“For intervals, then, throughout our lives we savor a concurrence, the great blending of our chance selves with what sustains all chance.  We ride the wave and are the wave.  And with renewed belief inner and outer we find our talk turned into prayer, our prayer turned into truth: for an interval, early, we become at home in the world.”

We arrived in Dar yesterday afternoon.  The bus ride was pretty good, no noisy videos and we had the front seats so could stretch our legs.  This was especially good for Tom.  Went to Slipway to shop,  Tom bought gifts to take home.  Tally and I realise we are old hands now, we hardly ever get the camera out, and don’t buy much of anything as we have all the African things we want.

We do have a bad case of bed bugs bites.  Irene, the Bishop’s wife looked at our marks on our skin and made the diagnoses of bed bugs.  Tally’s face is covered and my arms are bad, though have some on my face as well.  We look like chicken pox victims.  They don’t hurt or itch, thank heavens.

Tom leaves today to return to the States, and we head out for Ethiopia.  We probably won’t have time to blog, as it is a busy schedule.

So many wonderful experiences, and all good ones.  I will write a report when we return, but Bishop Stanway is doing very well, the piglet project is a huge success and the Wives English Class has ramafications we couldn’t have dreamed of.

Thank you again, for your continued support and prayers, without you, none of this would have been possible!!!  You can be very proud of your help, you have changed lives and hearts.

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