Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Experiencing Culture

At our last Perspectives class we (I) were challenged with going outside of ourselves and experiencing the culture of others. Now this mainly had to do with going on the mission field. For example when a missionary goes to another country do they live among the people, get to know them, their ways, their language? Or, do they live on the hill with the other missionaries learning the language but really not practicing it because they're talking English or whatever their mother tongue may be and not intermingling too much with the native people. So this got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing in and of itself. :-)

So I took three steps, although small steps, they're steps. I invited an Ethiopian family over for dinner tonight. This man and his wife and their baby son will come join us for a potato soup and cornbread meal. I have only met this man on the phone. He talked to Addis & Abi Mulu in Amharic when they first came from Ethiopia last year. I asked him to ask them if they were happy, did they need anything, and did I need to know anything they couldn't tell me because of the language barrier. He was so kind and found out that they were happy as little clams and didn't need anything. We have kept in touch every season it seems and this time I decided to call him and invite them over for dinner. Step one.

Then I called another lady to help me learn to make injera which is the bread of Ethiopia and their most basic of foods. She works and so had her friend call me who happens to be new to America and offered to help me when she was here for the girl's birthday party in February. We talked and I am to go to her home on Thursday bringing teff and sorghum. I was also told to bring Derartu and Mihret as her sister is there and they would like to do their hair. (Wonderful!!) Addis is actually the one who wants her hair braided and this mama doesn't know how to french braid/cornrow. She also told me I can help her learn "perfect English." So it's a deal, we will help each other in the ways that we need from the other and where we ourselves are lacking. Step two.

Then I wrote an email to Alex from the Addis B&B in Addis and apologized for being such an American ninny when I stayed at his guest house in August 2006. I wish I could do that whole visit over again and have enjoyed my time there instead of being sleep deprived and traumitized by the adoption and culture shock that taking on two babies in another country did to me. Step three.

We went to the Ethiopian church service on Sunday, but unfortunately had to leave to attend our small groups Truth Project viewing. Did you know one song in the ET service can last at least fifteen minutes? We Americans know very little about worship. I love going to their services, I just wish I knew what they saying so I could worship with them. I do sway and clap, but because of the language barrier I have no idea what they're celebrating other than I know they're celebrating Christ. and that is enough. for now. Step four.


  1. You're taking the Perspectives class?!? I am planning on asking for it for my birthday! Would love to hear more about your experience. I may end up taking the online class since it looks like one won't be available here until the Fall. Sweet blessings, Amy in OR

  2. Sounds good to me... have a good time.

    Peace & Love Paula