Blue

Sunday, July 14

Hi Pastor Carrie,

 

It is Thursday evening here in Mettu, 10:49 pm which would be 3:49 pm in Virginia. Wow what a trip this has been so far. We landed in Addis Ababa and I immediately had to take the altitude sickness pills. We stayed in Addis for one night and a the next morning started our journey to Jimma where we spent the night. That was about a 9 hour drive. I knew this was going to be a culture shock but no one warned me about the driving. It's crazy! There are goats and cattle just roaming around in the road. People will walk out in front of you and expect you to stop. Little kids four and five years old would play next to the roads. They don't treat dogs or cats as pets. We saw several dead dogs a long side of the road. Well we finally got to Mettu the next day which was July 4 th. 

We kept cheering "Happy 4th of July". I've come here with a great group of people. We are all getting  along well. There are six of us total.

 

Monday July 8th was our registration day. There were about 85 kids total that showed up. The kids had to answer three questions. What  color is my shirt,  What number comes after 4, and why do you want to take this class? From their answers we were able to place them in Beginner, Intermediate, or Advance class. We had to switch up the questions so they didn't give the answers to their friends who weren waiting.

Tuesday we had 75 more kids show up. That topped us put at 150 students with an average of 50 to a class. Everyday more kids show up that we have to turn away. There is just no room in the class.

Some of these kids are so shy (mostly the girls) that they couldn't even look at me when I was talking to them. We have made some great progress in class getting them to stand up and read. Girls and boys alike. Most all of them will start by saying "thank you for this opportunity to be in you class". So very polite and happy. 

So tomorrow is Friday and the end of our first week here. We have the students reading short stories and discussing words that are not familiar to them. We have gone over parts of sentences, noun, Verb, adverb, adjective, and participle. Most of which I have forgotten. (Thank God for Nate!) They are picking it up fast. We are having them write short stories for homework and standing in front of class to read them. This is big considering where we started. And we are trying our best to make it fun for them. There is a fifteen minute break when we go out side and I get swarmed by students asking questions about the United States. 

 

Today is Friday and the first week is over. We had 54 students in the morning and 54 after the break. It's hard to keep the class quiet with that many people but for the most part they are very polite and and want to learn.

We've made big improvements since our first day of class. Students raising their hands to ask questions or  volunteering to read. Nate and I are very happy with the progress! 

This weekend Bill has plans for us. I'll keep you informed with what we do.

 

Talk to you later,

Ruth

 

Thursday, July 18 from Bill Burslem

 

Dear All,

Things continue without significant hitches.  We are seeing significant progress with our best students, some don’t participate enough to tell, and some don’t do much of anything except listen.  Their written work is pretty good, but getting them to speak is difficult.   We started Martin Luther King yesterday, many took the paper home and three did very well reciting today the “I have a dream speech” (abbreviated version) from memory today, after only one night of practice.  One of the three was Amena’s daughter.  Shocker. Carrie, YOUR cat from hell returns if we forget and leave the window to the dining room open.  If we do it sleeps on the sofa and won’t move in the morning.  But even reclining on the sofa doesn’t shut it up. Rains every day, frequently VERY hard at night, I don’t remember rains this hard before.  Probably memory lapse.  We mostly ride to and from school, allsix or seven of us in one 4 door Land Cruiser; in part because of showers and in part because of slick rocks; in part because it is easier for geezers.  Nate is great with the kids, he can be a real showman!  He played the keyboard and sang “I once was lost and now I am found”-several verses- at Mettu Church on Sunday.  Great applause.   I am getting tired of pasta, tomato sauce, mutton, cooked carrot, and gomen every night.  It also seems we have been chewing on some old goat’s bones for many days. I hope to finish it off soon. Our cooks seem to figure out what we eat and keep serving it over and over.  One morning after several days of the new box of Corn Flakes remaining unopened,

I decided to pay it minimal homage; it hasn’t returned since.  Corn Flakes with hot steaming dried milk is not my idea of the finest way to start the day.

Dear All, Things continue without significant hitches.  We are seeing significant progress with our best students, some don’t participate enough to tell, and some don’t do much of anything except listen.  Their written work is pretty good, but getting them to speak is difficult.   We started Martin Luther King yesterday, many took the paper home and three did very well reciting today the “I have a dream speech” (abbreviated version) from memory today, after only one night of practice.  One of the three was Amena’s daughter.  Shocker.

Carrie, YOUR cat from hell returns if we forget and leave the window to the dining room open.  If we do it sleeps on the sofa and won’t move in the morning.  But even reclining on the sofa doesn’t shut it up.

Rains every day, frequently VERY hard at night, I don’t remember rains this hard before.  Probably memory lapse.  We mostly ride to and from school, allsix or seven of us in one 4 door Land Cruiser; in part because of showers and in part because of slick rocks; in part because it is easier for geezers.  Nate is great with the kids, he can be a real showman!  He played the keyboard and sang “I once was lost and now I am found”-several verses- at Mettu Church on Sunday.  Great applause.   I am getting tired of pasta, tomato sauce, mutton, cooked carrot, and gomen every night.  It also seems we have been chewing on some old goat’s bones for many days. I hope to finish it off soon. Our cooks seem to figure out what we eat and keep serving it over and over.  One morning after several days of the new box of Corn Flakes remaining unopened,

I decided to pay it minimal homage; it hasn’t returned since.  Corn Flakes with hot steaming dried milk is not my idea of the finest way to start the day.

 

The internet remains a fleeting and undependable mistress.  Maybe she has too many suitors.  Power is “a little more dependable” the last few days.  When on it negates the need for cold showers.  One still must carry a flashlight everywhere after dark.

Raining again, enjoying the mud, that’s all for now folks, will try to do better next time.

 

Ruth seems to really enjoy her “intermediate” students and relates very well to them.  Frances and Andy love working with the “beginners class” and have fallen in love with their translator.  Chuck and I are intentionally working without a translator, hoping and forcing the “advanced class” to embrace English.

Blessings, Bill

 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

 

 

 

Hello Pastor Carrie and my church family,

 

I hope this email reaches everyone doing well. Our second week in Mettu has gone well also. We are making headway with the students understanding English. We have a 15 minute break at 10:30 when the students can move around and stretch their legs. But what's been happening is there are a few students that come up to me asking questions about America. All types of questions. They are very interested in our President Trump. They like him soley on the fact that he is aganist gay marriage. But don't understand why he is against refugees entering our country.  They ask if there are black people in American. And how did they got there. One guy asked if he would turn white if he came to America! I had to laugh at that one. They asked what the difference is between American English and British English.  Would they understand and be understood if they went to England. I try to answer these questions as non bias as possible. Especially questions about our President. They also want to know about our families and what type of work we do.

 

As I sit here writing to you, I hear Nate teaching the alphabet song to the little daughter of one of the cooks. So darn cute. Now the girl is skipping around singing it to herself. 

 

We have the students read aloud (in english) their homework. They all read so very well but their comprehension is what we need to work on. We are reading a lot of Aesops fables. They can read them perfectly, but when we ask what word do you not understand, they all have their hands up.

 

It's Friday evening close to 4:00 pm. We are going out to dinner at some unknown location meeting with the session from Kata church. Kata is the first church that was the outreach from Mettu church, where we are staying. We will be leaving in an hour. (We think.) Time in Mettu is very relaxed. 

 

I have been to two different church services since we arrived. ColaCorma and Mettu churches. We are asked to bring greetings from our church to theirs. I had everything planned out in my head when the Pastor at ColaCorma asked me to give the final prayer. What! I haven't figured that out. I said no but he insisted. So I turned to Bill and said what should I say? Bill gave me some suggestion and I got up there and said the prayer. Oh boy - stepping outside my comfort zone!

 

We have one more week here. Well we will be leaving Friday morning to go back to Addis Ababa which is a two day drive. So Thursday will be the last day with our students. It will be sad to leave the kids here but good to see our families! Students have asked for my phone number but I've given them my  email address instead. 

 

We (the group I came here with) have discussed getting all the pictures we gave taken and put on Google picture. That way, someone, will create a picture slide show. I will be happy to share that with you when it's finished.

 

So it's Saturday morning and we ended up eating here at our Mettu compound. All the session members from Kata came here. We scrambled around to clean up our room where we eat and prepare for school and play cards. The lades in the kitchen had to prepare food for 12 more people. The session expressed how much the love us and the partnership with Shenandoah Presbyterian. They gave us all a wonderful gifts. I was so blown away with their generosity. I will bring to church what they gave me.

 

I will write again so bye for now,

 

Ruth 

 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

from Bill Burslem

 

Friends,

 

Classes continue. A number of students show real improvement in speaking skills and are more are willing to stand up and read and answer questions. Some are too quiet for us to tell exactly what they are getting out of class, but their written assignments are somewhere between adequate and very good. A few refuse to speak, don’t do either homework or written assignments in class, so we have no idea what they are getting out of sitting there.

 

Yesterday we went to Alge, the church that was burned 20 odd years ago by Orthodox Christians. It was rebuilt years ago and now a second church has been completed on the other side of town. We visited the new bible school and had a big lunch in a classroom. The dormitory, constructed entirely with funds from Shenandoah Presbytery Mission & Outreach Committee and from Opequon, is almost complete. Some of the paint was still wet. Some rooms already have bunk beds in them. Six rooms for men and two for women, each room sleeping six, or 48 total. They are expecting 15-20 students in September for the inaugural class. Kes Tesfye, the new school principal was nothing but smiles and obviously very proud. The Alge Synod leaders, Kes Tesfaye, and Kes Amena were effusive in their thanks to Shenandoah.

 

Today we all worshiped at the historic Gore Church, Andy preached, and Nate played the keyboard while he sang an Amazing Grace solo. Quite a round of applause.

 

Tomorrow it is back to the high school. It remains rainy and cool, I am wearing a fleece sweater, and our laundry is not drying. I understand you are not having to deal with such problems.

 

Will try to do better next time.

 

Blessings of Peace and Justice,

Bill