When you come from a place that’s all about connection — like having unlimited access to the Internet through the smartphone in your pocket — it is quite the shock to move to a place that is so decidedly remote. When we first arrived in Ethiopia, we felt alone and disconnected.
To be honest, the first couple of weeks were rough for our family as we tried to settle in and figure things out. We would take all the kids for a three-hour walk (round trip) to the Internet café, hoping there would be enough power to send a few quick messages home. We wouldn’t make the trek again for another three or four days.
Fortunately as we met with more people and asked more questions, we were able to find a way to get our iPhone unlocked, get a local phone, and get connected to the Internet.
Our family has been in Ethiopia for just over a month now. And although things do not always work, the biggest lesson we have been learning is to have patience.
The language barrier has also made us feel quite isolated; as we’re unable to speak with those around us, we’re often misunderstood during even the most basic of tasks, such as buying groceries.
During the past month, loneliness and homesickness have been major struggles for our family, as we’re used to being quite social and out and about most days. Here we are more confined to our house, and we don’t have many friends to invite over. But, like gaining technology connections, friendships are slowly forming. We knew this would be a challenge coming here, especially due to the fact that Blessing the Children does not have any other international families serving here.
But even in our moments of frustration we have had a great sense of God’s peace. We know this is where we are supposed to be. We miss people at home, but we haven’t missed much else. Our kids for the most part have adjusted well and are embracing the way of life here.
Blessing the Children is different than many organizations: on the field it is 100 per cent Ethiopian run. With that, things happen in an African way, taking more time in some areas. It’s maybe not as efficient in our North American minds, but they are working their hardest within the structure of this country and with the resources that they have.
On the ground where we are, Blessing the Children operates as two entities: one being the school, which is quite self- sufficient, and the other is the Blessing the Children Development Organization (BCDO), the non-profit that specifically works with the sponsorship families.
My husband Brad is spending much of his time working with BCDO, developing and implementing income generating projects for the families in the program. This program will give families different opportunities to start up their own businesses and gain skills to provide for themselves.
As we meet with different staff members and hear their stories, there is no doubt that God is at work. We feel blessed and excited to be a part of what God is doing here.