I have a new name to add to the list of alternatives the boys at the drop-in center call me; Alyska! I think this one might be the most creative yet. The boy who solely refers to me by this name, finally corrected my pronunciation of his name this week, just a little one letter difference. I found it wholly entertaining as it would be futile for me to even attempt to correct the boys after they’ve become so creative with the various manifestations of my name since I arrived.
I feel like in the time I have been working with Onesimus there is now a regularly attending group of about 10 boys and most of them have really started to adapt and behave. To these boys who I see almost everyday, I am not only a volunteer, but a nurse, a teacher, a playmate, and whatever else I can be that they need.
Today was a particularly special day for me because we cleaned their play area where they spend the most time; an activity that I hope will be a weekly occurrence to teach them respect for their living space. But also one of the boys, Tesvah, really stepped up and acted as my assistant nurse, helping me clean wounds and put bandaids on the numerous boo-boo’s. These boys get a lot of cuts, scrapes and blisters, especially on their feet while they play throughout the day since they often have no shoes or have sandals that don’t really protect their feet. I can now call myself an almost totally reformed germophobe and have become quite adept at putting bandaids on inconvenient places.
When I first started coming to the center, many of the boys were selfish, because living on the street they really have to look out for themselves. Watching this transformation where they begin to care about and actually take care of their peers, has really been amazing. I wish I could do so much more for them, but for now, I’m really happy with how far they have come in this short time.
Before I finish this post, I’d be remiss (or chastised by my mother at least haha) if I did not tell you about this interesting fact about Ethiopia. Time and date are measured by a totally different method here. Because the country is so close to the equator, it has almost exactly twelve hours of daylight and twelve of darkness. So their midnight or 12am is when the sun rises and 12pm or our noon is when the sun usually sets. It is especially important to ask if you’re talking about farengi (foreigner) or habesha (Ethiopian) time when you are trying to organize an event or meeting time. The Ethiopian calendar also is very different because it not only has thirteen months but is (I think) seven years behind us. So right now its not 2012, but 2005, and I have absolutely no idea what day it is or month, so you’re going to have to ask an Ethiopian if you want to know. More random culture facts coming soon! J
Have a great week! Until next time, Ciao!
PS will have lots of pictures with the next post
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