Saturday June 6th – Perhaps my favorite memory of this remarkable day was befriending Terefea and her brother Habbu on the long rocky descent by foot to Wenchi Crater Lake in the countryside of Ethiopia. An Interesting story about Habbu, it is very common here for children to offer their help in return for money. So when Habbu offered to carry my backpack, I assumed it was for money and having been instructed not to pull out any money he could see the reluctance in my eyes, he assured me with a smile that he simply wanted to help and walk beside his new friend. I was moved by his act of kindness and his desire to simply walk the journey together to the lake from which he fishes.
On our hike, there was ample time to learn the correct pronunciation of lovely Terefea’s name, rolling the R was the most critical, her smiling laughter at my difficulty in doing so was precious. Terefea is pronounced (tar ah fee, all while rolling the tongue). When I eventually mastered the pronunciation of her name, her initial shyness gave way to the smile of a friend. Terefea is 13 and in the 4th grade, her brother Habbu is 10 and in the 3rd grade. The beautiful purple material draped around her back contains coffee and other staples from the market for her family. Living in a little round grass hut (that she and her brother invited me into) means that access to the market and to school is a tough one hour climb up this rocky dirt road that is too rutted and bumpy for cars.
As we walked and talked, I smiled at the typical 13 year old girl answer to my question of what she likes, “clothes” she replied as she blushed and gestured to her very worn but carefully put together outfit with little pink buttons along the hem.
I love how the ingredients for making friends is pretty much universal around the world. Investing your time, giving something of yourself, listening and discovering commonalities that cover up the differences. When we talked about Jesus, Terefea smiled and pointed to her heart.