Valentine’s Day in Ethiopia
Last week, we received a blog post from one of our Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers, Dave Pearce, in Ethiopia. Here’s a snapshot of his trip, in his own words:
Thursday, Valentines Day in Lera, Ethiopia (Lera is a small ((mostly Muslim)) community of 15,000, 260 KM south and west of Addis Ababa. 2600 meters above sea level, cooler mountainous air, in the dry season of the year– the rains come in June, July and August– and the people are ready!).
In nearly 20 years of overseas volunteering– this time to meet and work with small growing and emerging agricultural coops– I am always fascinated with community participation at the Marketplace. Thursday’s and Sunday’s provide that opportunity for any and all. Today, (a Thursday) seems to me 1 in 3 of the population are here! 5000 of the 15,000!
Everything to anything is available– goats, shoes, sewing machines, butter, wrenches, hats, hand tools. The market place is a social and economic standard for Ethiopian people as for ALL PEOPLE. The American/Caucasian is “obviously” a standout at today’s market– and “not for sale.” Groups of children gathering to see and hear this different being. …..Mostly fascinated with the pictures and the Ipad!
Specifically, I take this as opportunity to meet and greet members of the cooperatives I will be working with– the chance to walk, and talk, and hear the sights and sounds– provides the context of life experience I need to do my best at teaching and training– to meld my education and experience with theirs….. and ready my learning experience as they will “teach me how they see.”
I have learned that much tradition and wisdom is taught through parables and proverbs. One African proverb I love is “He or she who teaches — learns twice.” I think it more than doubles the value of this experience!
[Thanks so much, Dave!]