Dear Friends and Family,
We hear it’s getting cold in the U.S. and Europe, which makes us even more grateful to wake up each day to nearly ideal temperatures. Although God has led us to an impoverished and desperate country, He has given us beautiful weather, amazing animals and birds, and wonderful people to enjoy. I read recently in a news magazine that Ethiopia is the seventh “worst-off” country in the world. That’s a little improvement from its usual 3rd or 4th poorest slot.
We have added two more residents to Samuel’s Home. They are 4-year old twin girls given up by their extremely poor mother. The father has run away and the mother had nine kids to care for. The other seven are all boys. The mother, in desperation, came to us and asked us to take the girls, willingly going through the legal process. We cannot even comprehend how difficult that must have been. She makes her living by collecting firewood and grass and selling them.
The girls’ names are Helen and Hulagerish. Our houseparents speak English, Oromo (the language of our state), and Amharic (the trade language of Ethiopia), which makes them capable of handling almost any situation. However, these girls speak only Mareko, which makes for interesting times at Samuel’s Home as none of the other children nor the house parents can speak that language. However, the girls will soon learn all three—English, Oromo, and Amharic—in our schools.
When we first met the mother and the twins (see attached picture), Hulagerish had on a huge, filthy green polyester dress and Helen had only a tattered and shredded top and skirt. They had absolutely nothing else, including no shoes. Their hair was matted, filthy, and we didn’t want to imagine what else was in there. The house parents shaved their heads and we immediately got them outfitted in new clothes, shoes, etc., much of which have been donated to Samuel’s Home by generous friends from the U.S.
Today they have a completely new outlook; they are in Nursery School; and they are full of life. They are still a little shell-shocked by the language problem, but we are sure they will soon be conversant in several languages. The “after” picture of Hulagerish and Helen is also shown below.
Some of you may not know that Peggy has become quite the shepherdess. Beginning with one sheep donated to her as a result of an auction a year ago, she bought a male sheep, and now is the proud owner of ten sheep. Her female sheep are quite fertile (fecund!?—I never know for sure which word applies, but I know someone will help me out). Several sets of twins have been born. One set of twins was born just a couple of weeks ago.
Peggy uses these sheep to supply occasional meat to the feeding programs, especially for big holidays such as Easter and Christmas. She even gave up one for celebration of completion of the construction of the new Ziway Pre-School. As is custom around here, even though they can work together and play together, Muslims and Orthodox Christians cannot eat together. So Peggy gave the Muslim workers one sheep and the Christian workers money for another sheep (at the time I guess she didn’t want to sacrifice too much of her flock). These workers, who had worked together side-by-side for months built two fires and within the same compound each group roasted and ate its own animal. Amazing!
In case you are wondering, no, we do not have these sheep at our house. Our daytime guard at the Pre-School is also a farmer and has them at his home. He is very conscientious and, if even one sheep develops any kind of cough or sore, he immediately cares for it. In return, we are helping him and his wife with some improvements to their “barn” and their house.
Shown below is a picture of Gary with one of Peggy’s new twin lambs.
We wish all Americans a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
May God bless you and your families.
Gary and Peggy
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