It’s sad that as we get older our vision gets blurred. I don’t mean in the usual physical since. I mean that we have trouble seeing all of the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. Maybe our vision doesn’t blur so much as we just change our focus. So often as adults we seem to focus on all the filth instead of the beauty. We should always have children around us if for no other reason than this, to show us the beauty that surrounds us.
I was reminded of this as my 2 year-old nephew Jack danced in uncontrollable excitement and joy beneath a colony of Masked Weavers at the hotel we stopped at on the way to Chencha. To me it was an interesting sight, but Jack reminded me how absolutely wonderful it really was. Jack has an endless fascination with animals, much like me when I was young. Though I think I held on longer than most I’ve lost much of that fascination. To me a sheep is just a sheep like any other. To Jack each sheep is something new and unique. This is a great place for a kid like Jack. It’s a never-ending parade of cows, sheep, donkeys, horses, and chickens. We even saw some baboons, monkeys, and crocodiles.
I had a great week with Joe and his family. I was only in Addis Ababa for a couple of days before we made the long drive down to Chencha. They stayed with me in Chencha until last Thursday. I was sad to see them go. It is a strange, lonely feeling to be left as the only alien in a foreign land. The people here are very friendly and welcoming, but it is still apparent that I’m not from around here. Every time I start to feel at home the children’s constant chanting, “foringe, foringe,” reminds me that I’m not. I have convinced some of them to call me by name. I hope that after I’m here long enough they’ll all know me.
At Nega’s Family’s house they try their best to make me feel at home. Chu-chu, Nega’s sister, runs the household. She ensures that I’m comfortable and well fed. She actually feeds me way too much. I wasn’t feeling well the first three or four days after I got here. The whole family worried about me not getting enough to eat. Joe got all the praise for pigging out every night. Chu-chu didn’t help matters by trying too hard to make “foringe food”, which was a lot of work for her and it wasn’t very tasty for me. I finally told her to stop and to just let me eat whatever they were eating. She tested me Friday night with a dish called fisosee. It is hard to describe, but it has a lot to potatoes and cabbage in it. I ate so much that she even gave up pushing more on me. I think I ate more than anyone else in the room.
In Ethiopia I see a lot of filth. Thick red mud clings to my feet. Poor, dirty children yell at me. Trash litters the streets. However, when I look through Jack’s eyes I notice a butterfly dancing by as the birds sing. I hear cows in the distance and the muffled chatter of people as they walk by on the street. I see the hills rolling into the distance, green and alive. The world is full of despair, but it’s also full of beauty.
This really is a wonderful world that we live in. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of it. We all need to have someone in our lives who can still dance for the weavers.