A Culture of Generosity

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Relocation inevitably encompasses loss. Different members of my family are giving up different things to make "Korea" an opportunity for me and all of us:

Bentley is giving up stability to move to his third continent and third language in three years [please pray for him in both regards!];

Beth is giving up freindships, living space, gardening, Tsehi (her dog), flowers, and independence (we won't have a car in Korea);

Kylie and Amy are both giving up developing relationships with some great kids, birthday parties with, a big yard, canoeing on the river, homeschooling, and camping in summer.

To help mitigate the negative affect of these losses we are trying to sensitively manage them. One of Beth's good ideas to reduce the affect of missing birthday's with their friends was for the girls to take a couple friends to Seattle for a weekend. We took our kids and two friends to Seattle in April and stayed in a hotel with a pool (hear the splashing?), went to the Space Needle, spent a morning touring IKEA, and all the girls got their hair braided by an Ethiopian lady met through a kind restaurant owner (Marta of the Salaam Restaurant in Seattle on Cherry Street near Seattle University.)

While eating roasted lamb and other Ethiopia food for lunch, Marta gave us direction to her friends house (whom we had never met before). The following day, Sunday, after breakfast we went to her friends apartment in Kent, met her friend (who speaks no English) and a second Ethiopian friend of Marta's who does speak English!) One lady translated what the girls wanted done with their hair and the braiding began!

Braiding takes a lot of time and while the girls were having their hair braided, we were kindly given coffee in an informal Ethiopia coffee ceremony. Our hostess explained that with young children (like Bentley) she does not do the ceremony sitting on the floor as is normally done. For the sake of convenience and the child's safety she took out some coffee beans imported from Ethiopia, roasted the beans on the stove by hand, ground them in an electric Braun grinder, them put them in a traditional clay "jubehnah" and boiled the coffee on the electric stove.

The whole event was a real treat to receive the kind hospitality of these two women we had never met before and have them braid the girls hair and give us the gift of REAL coffee as well as their time (the whole event took about 4 hours of steady work). It was a little window into the generosity of people from the "third" world. It was a lesson not lost on any of the children and such a fragrant reminder to me of the wonderful people of the country of Ethiopia.

Copyright 2011 Jay Reimer    (You can email me at jay.reimer@gmail.com