Friday, September 19, 2008

So I forgot to mention

...One thing I forgot to mention about our trip in Moyale…so while in Moyale, Ethiopia (during the 2 week project trip), our driver notices this same boy at a local restaurant all the time when he makes his trips to Moyale. He finally asks the local people the story behind him and finds out his dad died in the tribal battle and his mother died of an illness. The boy, Getu, of about 10 years had been living on the streets for who knows how long. And like that, our driver, Kenyua, decides to “adopt” Getu and take him back to live with him. None of us knew he had done so and thought the boy was just accompanying a man hitching a ride with us (it’s pretty common to here to give people lifts since transport is hard to come by). Finally, Kenyua tells us he decided the kid needed a better chance at life than what was offered and knew he had the capacity to help (along with the assistance of the NGO he worked for). And like that, he took on the responsibility of another life. I was floored…like mouth-gaping, wide-eyed, “are-you-serious” floored. I know I sometimes feel good about spending time with the local kids or teaching them some basic math or English skills but I was completely and utterly humbled at this act of kindness. I don’t know if I would have had the guts to do that. I was completely excited, though, that this had happened and wanted to get involved. So when everyone went to dinner that night, I spent some time with Getu trying to talk to him (he speaks Ethiopian, barely any Swahili, and some very broken English). Needless to say, it was an interesting endeavor, but I did come to find out this boy is really, really clever. First of all, I offered him some chocolate wafers and asked simple questions like his name, age, etc. When the whole verbal communication thing wasn’t working so hot, I turned to writing and drawing pictures (and yes, using my very animated face and gestures). We wrote our names, drew pictures (well, he just copied what I drew) and tired some simple math and English. Considering he hadn’t had consistent education, his basic education skills were fairly decent. We then proceeded to watch WWE on tv (don’t ask me why they show wrestling here) but the reception was bad. Being the little engineer that he was, he got up on a chair to re-connect the wire, re-position the antennas, and to clean the tv to better the reception. Once he found out the remote wasn’t working, he decided to rotate the batteries in the remote. I was surprised at his ambition and knowledge. More so, I was encouraged at what seemed like a precocious mind. I then showed him my digital camera and he went nuts. He wanted to take pictures of everything and everyone. So we had a photo shoot outside (note the Marsabit pics in the links below). I told Kenyua later that day I would love to mentor Getu on the weekends if it was possible. Unfortunately, I have been traveling during the weekends these past weeks and haven’t see Getu yet but hope to do so soon. Anyways, I thought that was an amazing story and just wanted to share. I definitely know I be less skeptical of random acts of kindness. Who would have ever thought that our driver would just up and adopt a kid without even thinking twice? I am humbled and hope I have a heart to do something similar.


Issam said...

I love this story! "Oh by the way, we randomly adopted some kid." I will be so interested to see where Getu is 5, 10, 20 years from now because of this. Really a touching story

Victor said...

I'm pretty sure "Ethiopian" is not a language. Are you sure you're a sensitive African volunteer? Ha ha!