First impressions of the new home
Although work on the interior has not yet been completed and the outside facilities still have to take shape, during my visit there was a small “pre-moving in ceremony” with invited guests from local political parties, representatives of the church and other organizations such as “Woman’s Affairs”. Here are some photos.
Drinking coffee with a tribal elder
There is one very exciting thing I still have to tell you about: Lale also took me to visit the Hamer Tribe (one of the tribes still practicing this unspeakable Mingi superstition) in the deepest bush. Before that we stopped briefly at a small lodge in Turmi and – as chance would have it – a young woman works there whose home village is nearby and she offered to accompany us there.
When we arrived only a few members of the village were present; most of them were with the livestock (cattle and goats) on the pastures or farming the surrounding fields. But one of the tribal elders, whose field is very close to the village, greeted us and was immediately enthralled by my various tattoos, especially the gecko on my forearm. But first she tested to see if they are really real and gave them a powerful lick. Me showing her my pierced tongue earned me an invitation to a coffee ceremony in her hut, which is a great honor. Lale had to stay outside, this is only for women, she said. With the young woman we met earlier as an interpreter, I was able to ask her many questions as she proudly showed me all her possessions, cups decorated with pearls, furs and belts and also put on her traditional headdress. After I had duly admired everything, she asked me whether I had anything like this. I said, no, I did not have anything like that – to which she stroked by head regretfully and said “Oh dear, then you are unlikely to find a husband”….
Unfortunately I was not allowed to photograph much, “these things have to stay among wise women”. The coffee – which was cooked over an open fire in the hut (no wonder it felt like about 50° degrees in there), and made from coffee leaves and the peel of coffee beans, mixed with water from an open yellow canister – was served in a cup made from calabash and decorated with pearls that she cleaned by spitting in and then wiping out with her finger. I could not refuse. And today I can say – thank god – it didn’t do me any harm!
But as exciting as this encounter was: I had to think all the time that I might be sitting opposite a child murderer… (of course it was impossible to mention Mingi).
During the last 5 days I spent a lot of time with the children, eating with them, studying, playing, helping them to wash and putting them to bed. Not once in all this time did any of the children cry.
The children see their situation like this: They are a big family, the Nannies are their mothers, Lale their father, and Lale’s team (his deputy, the “tutor” etc.) are their uncles. The children are all brothers and sisters and all belong together and will be there for each other forever. They know, however, that there are people in Europe who have heard about their fate from Lale, and that these people care so much about them that even though they do not know them personally, they give them money so that they can go to school and become especially clever and good people. This thought makes them very proud, and they also feel it is their obligation to study hard so that these friendly people in Europe can be proud of them. And I’ve been asked to tell these people, “We all love you”!
What I noticed that was particularly positive was that Lale promotes this family and community feeling (the children have no possessions of their own, even their clothes belong to everyone), but nevertheless promotes their individuality. With every child Lale sees what he or she can do particularly well, where his or her talents lie (regardless of whether it is languages, sports or arts and crafts) so that their abilities can be given as much support as possible. The children are also much praised, kissed, hugged, treated with respect, and listened to. And of course they are shouted at too, if they are too wild and impetuous. They do what they are told – as far as I could see – always.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE SPONSORS
That these children are so happy and grow up feeling blessed is thanks to Lale and his team. And for Lale and his team to be able to do this, financial support is needed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have donated so far. And at the same time reach out to all of you who are touched by the fate of these children: Please open not only your hearts but also your wallets and donate – every Euro helps.
Bank account for donations
OMO Child Äthiopien
AT93 1500 0006 0110 2296