Category Archives: Ethiopia

The Final Dinner Debate

While I wish I could say this week that my children never complained about the food they ate nor did they argue or fight over their many toys, art supplies, etc. Because, as we learned about a country in need, of course I would have loved for the message of how blessed we are to sink in. 

The other side to this is that as much as Ethiopia is a country in need, they also have much to offer and teach us. And, with what eludes our nation with wealth and material possessions, we also could be considered a nation “in need”, in need of knowing what true values are. 

So, as we did talk a lot about the struggles they have had in Ethiopia, we also focused on the many wonderful aspects of this culture, their deeply rooted faith, ability to work hard (we even practiced walking with baskets on our heads) and more. I thought a lot about our final dinner, debating whether or not to just serve a bowl of mush and show the extreme differences in what we’ve been given, but, in the end I decided that would be doing a disservice to Ethiopia. For while I want our kids to recognize what they’ve been given,  I also want them to recognize what other cultures have to offer. 

The lazy side of me also felt it would be easier to just serve mush, knowing I have to start from scratch learning a new menu again. But alas, I mustered up some energy–after a few days off from a minor operation–and tonight we gave thanks for Ethiopia, just a few days late. 

Honey Bread

 

Doro Wett (Chicken Stew)

 

Beet and Potato Salad

 

Trying the Injera Bread

 

Beet Lips

 

We really liked the dinner, especially the Honey Bread and the Beet and Potato Salad.  The chicken was nice, too, but I made the milder version hoping the kids would eat it. The injera bread didn’t have much flavor, but, when used to soak up the sauces (which is what it is for), it really was good and the kids ate theirs up quite quickly. Even Addie enjoyed the beet salad which might be the twenty-fifth time I’ve tried to get her to eat beets. There was a hint of jalapeno in the salad so Tallinn needed his rinsed off, but I was happy he ate some. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with this dinner as several warned me that Ethiopian food is much different from ours. All of the recipes except for the Injera were found on epicurious.com which usually proves to be a good source. 

Ethiopia, Amesegënallô (thank you), while we only had a small taste of all you have to share, we feel a closer connection to your nation and your people and are thankful we were able to visit. 

Dehna hunu. Ciao.

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Lalibela

There is an amazing town in Ethiopia called Lalibela. It is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities and is a center of pilgrimage for many Ethiopians. Built to be a type of New Jerusalem, it is full of several churches all carved from rock.  

In our little “E is for Ethiopia” book, there is a picture of the Lalibela city but I’m not sure this picture does it justice. So we spent a while on the internet looking at many of these beautiful churches, marveling at how they have stood the test of time.  The pictures are all amazing, but I liked this YouTube video best.

In the book of Acts in the Bible there is a story we read about Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, being led by the Spirit of God to go witness to an Ethiopian eunuch, who works for the queen herself. The eunuch goes on to get baptized by Philip and then bring the gospel to Ethiopia. I love that over 2000 years ago the Good News was brought to this country and that people in Ethiopia continue to live for Jesus despite the many difficulties they face. (Although Ethiopians claim the real beginning of the Christian church to be in the 4th century).

These churches to me capture the rich history of the church in Ethiopia, one of the oldest established churches in the world today.

Coffee Bean Kids

I am a firm believer in things being created for a purpose, particularly when it comes to coffee. Afterall, how would I ever get through the day without it? Lucky for me, this week we’re studying a nation that is known by coffee lovers for it’s delicious beans.

Because it’s such a staple for the Ethiopian ecomony (it generates 60% of its total export earnings), I came up with a little craft using these precious beans. Also, it was a bit difficult to find many Ethiopian crafts for kids and I needed to think of something.

So, my super fun idea was to make paper dolls and decorate them with coffee beans. Using cardboard, I cut out a little boy and a little girl for Tallinn and Addie to decorate.

The kids really loved this craft and I loved the smell that permeated our “Create Room”. Tallinn carefully arranged each bean and I helped Addie just drop handfuls all over her glue-covered doll. We thought about putting googly eyes and fun hair on our creations, but felt in the end that they looked best just they way they were.

We’ve done several crafts so far and I think this was the first one I came up with completely on my own. I have to say, I was pretty excited about it! Tallinn asked if we could do more coffee bean crafts as apparently he really likes the smell. Hopefully he won’t be excited about the taste for a while or we might have a problem.

Arriving in Ethiopia

Once again we have shifted gears and have taken our travels to the Southern hemisphere, this time to Africa. This is our first stop in Africa and we have much to learn as this is one continent we are quite unfamiliar with thus far.

Appropriately, our first African stop brings us to one of the most ancient countries in the world, Ethiopia. I really wish I had a friend in Ethiopia like Anu to help guide us on our journey, but we are already quite connected with several Ethiopians through the wonderful world of adoption. My heart actually feels quite heavy today knowing the extreme need of the people in Ethiopia, the medical needs, the need just for food to sustain them, the need for orphans to find forever families. Last night I heard that 30,000 children will die (worldwide) each day from starvation or a preventable disease. This just isn’t okay! I am hoping this week my kids will learn much more than just Ethiopian culture, but gain a deeper understanding of how wealthy we truly are and how we are called to use what we’ve been given to help those in need.

In preparing for Ethiopia week, I found a great website with resources on the culture  http://www.amharickids.com/. One book looked fun for our study and I decided to add it to our library.

Today, after we journeyed to Ethiopia on the globe and identified it’s flag, we read this great introduction to Ethiopian culture. I had every intention of making a fun flag out of beans but didn’t quite make it to the store in time so we just plain colored them…and sometimes that’s okay. What I loved about it was that Tallinn quickly copied the flag and went searching for star stickers to place in the middle. He’s needing me less and less these days which can be a bit sad, but I love seeing him take the initative in learning!

I also love that Ethiopia is bringing us into a bit more of a Bible study this week. This morning I shared with the kids that America isn’t anywhere in the Bible, but Ethiopia is! They were a bit shocked and I love showing them the world is so much bigger than California and the US. We have so much to learn. We’re really barely making a dent, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.

This Week’s Verse:

So he (Philip) started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship.

Acts 8:27

*I’m adding a section to my links on adoption as it is so close to home for our family. There will also be some from friends who have adopted from Ethiopia and reaped the great blessings of adoption.