Dear Family and Friends,
We’ve decided not to wait until the last day (or after) of this month to send out our newsletter. ? Already in May we have had some significant events take place. One of those was the marriage of our house worker. Tayetch Alemu has worked for us since we first moved to Ziway three years ago. Last Sunday she was married to Demissie Tibeeso. It was a beautiful wedding, for which we spent most of the day with Tayetch and her family. The next evening, as is Ethiopian custom, the bride and groom come back for “mels,” which means again a big meal and celebration with their friends and family members. Four days after the wedding the new couple again goes to a party where the two extended families get to know each other better. Only after that does the couple have a chance to take off on a honeymoon, and then only if they can afford it.
Even though they are married, Tayetch and Demissie will live in towns about 1 ˝ hours apart. Tayetch will continue to work for us as she completes her degree in Nursing at a college here in Ziway. We hope then that this young couple will be able to live together and not have to be separated because of jobs, as so many Ethiopian husbands and wives are.
As I was looking through pictures of the wedding to send you I ran across a picture of the beautiful bride sitting with some old man on the sofa. Since they looked like such an interesting pair I have attached that picture. I also have attached a picture of Tayetch and Demissie performing their candle ceremony.
Regarding construction, progress is still good. Shown below in a picture is part of the 14 room (12 classroom) Primary School building in Ziway. As you can see, the floor between the first and second floors has been poured and work is under way to lay the blocks for the walls of the second story. We are still waiting for the floor to cure, thus the “forest” of eucalyptus poles which are holding up the forms are still in place. Cutting and placing those thousands of poles is an engineering marvel, but it’s the way such work is done here in Ethiopia.
Also shown below is the front of the new four classroom building in Adami Tulu. Being a much smaller project it is further along. The tile floors are being laid, the ceilings are being painted, and preparations are being made for finishing the windows and doors.
With our projected increase of 150 students this September (from 600 to 750) we will need these buildings finished and ready for use by then.
As a result of our April newsletter where I told about finding out I had prostate cancer, I have received such an outpouring of well-wishes and prayers that it is really humbling. Many of you also sent personal stories of your of your friend/relative’s battle with this kind of cancer. I have digested all of them and continue to do further research as to what type of treatment to pursue. There are many very viable options, but it seems that for every strong advocate of one kind of treatment there is also a detractor who feels just as strongly. We are hoping to return to the U.S. this summer to treat and conquer this disease. Thank you very much for your prayers, especially for discernment as to what type of treatment to pursue.
I have learned that my book, “I’m Just an Illinois Farm Boy,” is now available as an eBook from the iBookstore for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch AND for Kindle devices through Amazon's Kindle Store. The publisher assures me that the availability for other devices will continue to expand. So, for those of you who don’t like to lug around a paper book, here is your opportunity to obtain my book electronically.
May God richly bless you and your family,
Gary and Peggy