Another couple of weeks have come and gone and I’m finding myself constantly surprised by how quickly time flies. Something that has been on my mind lately though is the idea of giving. While give and take are a normal part of life anywhere, the amount that other people have given to me, even in such a short time, definitely feels above and beyond. Because of that, I’m going to highlight some of the people who give a lot to others.
Nati is a really kind dude who has finished secondary school and works as a tour guide up in the Simian Mountains. He has given a lot of his time and knowledge to us over the past month. He has taken us up different peaks in the Gondar area which usually involves several hours of walking around and Lorenzo and I asking him a bunch of questions about where we are and what we are seeing. He has given mini history lessons about Gondar and Ethiopia and been willing to talk about politics, which I find fascinating. He has also shown us different places to find whatever goods we are looking for like garlic or a water filter. I asked him where I could buy incense and he gave me a bag. He helped me get the local price for a scarf at the market.
The SCOPE team here at the university has given a lot of time and energy to us. It has taken hours of meetings with Dr. Getahun and Adino to sift through the specifics of our work and I know they both have a lot of other commitments. Adino has also given his time during lunch, on the weekends, and late into the evenings to make sure that we feel welcome, that we have everything we need, and that all of our questions get answered (and there are a lot of questions). He’s also given me personally the most insight into the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church and the way that EOC parishioners may feel and interact with SCOPE’s projects. I wouldn’t be able to know or understand those nuances without sitting down and talking with someone who is intimately familiar with both the church and SCOPE.
Lorenzo, of course, deserves a shout out for being giving. He has played more games of cribbage with me than anyone besides my grandmother and he gives a lot of encouragement to stay active and continue exploring different parts of the city and surrounding areas. He’s also giving with his photos (this blog would have much lower quality photos without him) and movie collection, which means that I’m not stuck staring at the ceiling in the evenings after work.
Finally, the SCOPE team in Seattle and the donors who sent along boxes of medical supplies have been very giving. Two health workers from the Ambober clinic came last Friday and received the supplies at the guesthouse with Adino. It was really touching to see their faces as everything was opened, and I was really happy to have been there to witness the exchange. Adino explained how he had spoken with the clinic staff about what they needed in addition to the conversations had by the SCOPE visitors several months back. Everything in the boxes will be put to good use and will really make a difference in the ability of the clinic staff to provide the care they want to provide to their clients. So, a big thank you to the clinic staff for coming all the way to pick up the supplies and a big thank you to the donors who took such care making sure the equipment they sent was exactly what the clinic needed! The SCOPE team in Seattle also generously provided for the renovations to the apartment that make it feel much homier and there was enough money leftover that we now have a water filter! It will stay at the guesthouse so that all visitors and future fellows will have worry free water! The environment is also thankful since we can stop buying bottled water finally!
I know there will be many more instances where I will be grateful for the generous spirit of the people around me, but I wanted to use this to give thanks to everyone who has made my first month here so great!