Dear Friends of Addis Hope,
Greetings from Addis Ababa!!! My apologies for this form letter. I am very fortunate in having so many relatives and friends that for now this is my only option. I promise to be more personal in the future.
It’s only now after dealing with telecommunications to pay for internet and phone service and going for a week without electricity and water that I’m able to be up and running, at least until the next blackout.
It’s been approximately two weeks since my arrival back to Ethiopia after sixteen hours travel. For a few dollars more my United flight to Frankfurt provided extra leg room but they forgot to pad the seats. The Lufthansa flight to Addis had wonderfully padded seats but anyone over five feet tall was in trouble. I used my pillow as a pad to brace my knees. No one dared put their seats in a reclining position. In the stopover in Jedda, Saudi Arabia we were told to hide any liquor but, unlike previously, no liquor police came through the cabin. Upon arrival, I was happy to be met by my good friend, Brother Kassu Fantaye. Kassu had lived with our Irish brothers in South Africa, took a great liking to them and now insists on being called McFantaye. I can’t yet bring myself to accept his wanting to be black Irish. He is the headmaster of De La Salle primary/ secondary school of 1,000 students. Others in my community are Betre Fessehay, headmaster of Nazareth Girls School, 1500 students, Belayneh Medhanit, headmaster of St. Joseph’s Boys School, 1300 students, Tsegaye Worku, Sector Coordinator, Peter de Groot, Dutch American religion teacher in two schools, Daniel Carlin, Irish Community Director and English teacher in St. Joseph. My room reminds me of the joke that the flies have to file a flight plan- a big change from CBA, Lincroft NJ.
As always moving from the first world to the third/fourth is very disconcerting no matter how often it’s done – and for me that’s quite often over the past forty years. At 11 PM on a damp cold night on the way to our residence a young barefoot woman carrying a baby begged for money which she received. One of her other children could well have been one of our students in Addis Hope since begging is a way of life for a good number of our parents.
Needless to say, I’m happy to be back with my confreres and Addis Hope colleague, Ruth Girmay. Ruth continues to be my chauffeur to save on fuel. She is a very good driver and loves outmaneuvering other drivers – the rule here is whoever gets to the spot first owns it. I’ll have more to say about our work with Addis Hope and the disabled in another note.
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Flynn, Bro. Gregory (MC1957)
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The Literate Chef
Submitted on 2014/03/10 at 9:04 am
Great letter. Thanks for posting.
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