Okay, so the translation, like so many things from Amharic to English, isn’t totally clear. Perhaps we would say, “Slowy the egg can walk.” To be honest, even when our Amharic instructor explained it to us this way it didn’t make a lot of sense. Finally he said, “it takes a lot of time before an egg can grow and become a hen.” That meant a little more than an egg walking.
As we spend time here in Ethiopia this Ethiopian saying means more and more to us. We have been here just over a month and many of the changes we have seen have been slow, or we are still waiting to see them. The CHE beneficiaries are probably the best place for us to witness this slow change. Many of the children have stopped being disruptive and defiant. Others, well they are still eggs, but the potential is there. As we have spent the last few weeks helping out at the Drop-In Center we have watched the children become more comfortable with the schedule and be very eager to have lessons, showers and of course to eat. We have also been witness to the slow changes of CHE. The Drop-in Center finally opened and while it is serving and doing its best, there are things that will slowly grow and change. There are still repairs that need to be made at the compound and the staff is still working on the enforcement of the new rules with the children. It is a very slow growing process.
The reason we were told this phrase by our Amharic instructor is because we often feel a bit discouraged about our Amharic. It is foolish for us to think that we would learn a language, totally different from our native language, in one month. We have learned a lot of the basics but we cannot carry on regular conversations, yet. We want to be able to talk with everyone and understand what the children are trying to tell us, but to learn all of a language in one month is an impossible task.
We have also learned that we are Westerners and we are certainly not in the West. We can understand why that saying came into being as we wait for things to happen here. Nega is still waiting for the new CHE vehicle to arrive in Addis. It has been probably two months since Micheal bought the car in Dubai. Each time Nega thinks he has everything turned in, he gets a phone call that there is another piece of information that someone needs. We are used to things happening at the snap of a finger or the waving of some money. That is not the case here in Ethiopia. Nega has to remind us often that we are in Africa, things work a little differently here.
One of the best examples any of us can look to is the slow growth we experience as Christians. Sometimes it almost seems like we are growing back into an egg. We praise God for the work He has done in us and that He continues to love and nurture us as we slowly work toward becoming a hen.
“…to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth of love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head-Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-15 (HCSB)
Back Row (left to right): Addisu, Metu and Beti. Front Row (left to right) Desse, Meaza, Abee, and Amelawork.