Concerts and Street Ministry

I haven’t posted for a week or so, so its a pretty long post here. Enjoy!

Another busy week has just passed here, life here at Bingham goes at a very quick pace. I’m still trying to find my feet as a teacher, as I’ve been kind of thrown in at the deep end; I’m teaching grade 7 and 8 which are the notorious classes for behaviour in the school.

Monday I had a lesson observation, which I’d purposely scheduled to be with my grade 10 class. It went very well, as I knew it would. The kids are great, well motivated, and we get on very well. I guess i must be doing an OK job with them, as they are all now adding me as a “friend” on one of the social network websites. Grade 8, next period, though were abysmal. I was glad I hadn’t been observed for that period. Later in the day, my observer gave very positive feedback, saying that I had a teacher’s knack for getting the kids to think, asking plenty of questions and not just lecturing. I asked for some tips regarding what to do with Grade 8 and she said to come down hard with them, not to try and be their friend. Being friendly works well with Grade 10 but not with Grade 8. So Thursday of this week I had them again, and we set out some boundaries and consequences, which they inevitably broke that class and I had to ensure to stick to the consequences. Its not nice having to be mean to them, I’m not used to being mean, but if I’m not then the rest of the year will be torture. The other teachers say that once they get to know me, and show me some respect, we can work on the friendlier side of things.

On Tuesday and Thursday night I went to some concerts in Addis, on Tuesday there was a Japanese flute and drumming concert which was great, then on Thursday there was a Russian classical music concert with piano and violin. Both very enjoyable. Speaking of drumming, we’ve finally had success on the electric drum front; there is a working set in the school now. Great!!!

Wed night I joined some of the folks who go out on a weekly basis to bring bread and the gospel to the street people in Addis. We met for a meal and prayer beforehand and then left together in a minibus. There were a couple of Ethiopians who came to translate and we, the “forengii”, were split up between them. I was in a group with Summer (Grade 4 Teacher), Don Fisher (Elementary IT Teacher) and Kudsaii (one of my students in Grade 10). Our Ethiopian translator was Dundee. We set off with a bagload of bread and Dundee quickly spotted about 6 kids sitting on the side of the street. We joined them, and Dundee spoke a bit, and then translated as Don shared a bit of his testimony. It wasn’t long however before a crowd began to gather and Dundee said that we should move on, and maybe come back later when the crowd had dispersed. We continued on down the street, and found another 3 boys huddled round a small fire of cardboard that they were having to keep adding to to keep it going. Dundee spoke to them and asked if we could sit down. We sat down on the road, and they made sure we had some of their cardboard fuel to sit on. We began to talk to them a bit, but again a crowd began to gather. Dundee tried to talk to the boys a bit but became vexed by what some people in the crowd were talking about. He stood up and began talking in Amharic to them. The boys continued to put cardboard on the fire as Dundee talked, when the ran out I saw that they were tempted to put their plastic sacks that they use as sleeping bags on, to keep us warm. We quickly gave them back the cardboard seats they had given us to ensure that they didn’t do this. Meanwhile, Dundee was deep in conversation with some of the members of the crowd, which had continued to grow to the point where it became intimidating as we sat on the pavement around the fire. Suddenly, a truck came around the corner and literally rammed some of the crowd who were standing on the road. 4 policemen got out, 2 with AK47 rifles slung around their shoulders. They came up to Dundee and began talking to him in Amharic. I saw Dundee get ID out and give it to one of the policemen. The policemen took the bibles that we had brought with us, and flung them on the bonnet of his truck. After what seemed like hours of hurried conversation with the policeman, Dundee came to us and said, “OK we will go with them.” We all climbed into the back of this police truck, Dundee leaned round and said “Its OK. Its positive.” A woman who was standing watching began pleading with the policemen, clearly upset. She was begging the policeman for something, and he permitted her to sit in the front with him. 2 of the policemen with the rifles climbed into the back too, and we set off down the road.

About 1 minute down the road the truck stopped, turned around and headed back up the road. We got to almost opposite where we had come from and the policeman got out with the woman, who was now in floods of tears. Dundee, the woman and the policeman began into a conversation that probably lasted about 10 minutes but again seemed like years. Eventually Dundee said “OK we can go”. We got down off the truck and the conversation between Dundee, the woman and the policeman continued. After about another 5 minutes, the three of them swapped numbers and the police drove off. The woman then continued to talk to Dundee, and then turned to us. Dundee told us that she wanted to join us in our work, but as we were about done for the night he had given her his number. She shook our hands, hugged us and expressed her joy at our work. She then prayed for us, and we listened as she prayed in Amharic, I heard her say “God” and “Thank You” many times. It was very moving. We parted company and we returned to the other groups who were waiting for us. Dundee explained all that had gone on.

Apparently the crowd had started to gather and some of the people had begun to talk about us, telling other members of the crowd that we were deceiving the street kids, bribing them with bread. It was then that Dundee stood up and began to try and explain to them why we were doing this, explaining we were doing this out of love. This was when the police showed up. The police’s main concern was apparently for the safety of the “forengii”. The saw the crowd and decided to intervene, taking us on the back of their truck away from the crowd and the danger as they saw it. They were apparently arguing with Dundee that this was the wrong time to be doing this type of thing, claiming that it was against the law. Dundee hit back saying that he was a law student and he knew that this was not the case. Apparently he said “I know the Gospel but I also know the Law. So if you try and stop me you will waste your time”. The police apparently relented and said that this was OK, but that the next time that Dundee wanted to do street ministry of this type that he should call the police so that they could protect the “forengii”. They swapped numbers so that this could be accomplished. So in the end it was fairly harmless, but when you don’t speak Amharic and you’re in the middle of the whole situation you can do little else but trust God. A great experience nonetheless!

Some development on the situation is that later in the week, the policeman phoned Dundee and apologised! He said that he wants to go with Dundee and have coffee and talk about spiritual matters. Praise God!

Friday was “Crazy Hat Day” at Bingham. Everyone is encouraged to bring a crazy hat to wear and earn points for the your house. Some of the girls and I got together to make something to wear. I thought that I could just stick 2 of my drumsticks to a baseball cap I have with me, but once I got down to the art room, began creating my own. I went with rolled up corrugated cardboard instead of drumsticks so they’d be lighter. A few photos of the end results follow.


Steph (with a bird on her head) and Summer (with a bug.)


Christina with a multi-cultural hat, and my drum hat.


Summer and Amanda (with a last minute work of art.)

Crazy Hat Day certainly was crazy, most of the teachers participated and a good number of the students did as well, even a lot of the older ones. Some mad examples were; two skateboards duck-taped together, a kettle, etc. One of the other I.T. teachers dangled all sorts of floppy discs and CDs from his hat and then got his pupils to name all the storage devices he was wearing in class.

Saturday morning, I joined up with the Horizon project where some of the staff invite about 25 local street kids into the compound where they play football, sometimes they take them on outings. They have a small devotion at the end. Today they had a football match with some other street kids who are sponsored by a local church. Unfortunately they lost, but it didn’t dampen their mood. Brian is quite involved with them, and he had managed to get some clothing donations to give to them all. There were only 2 pairs of shoes unfortunately, as that was what they all wanted; their footwear is mostly worn through. They all picked numbers from a hat to decide who got to pick first, numbers 1 and 2 got the shoes. The ones who were stuck with later numbers, and only got to pick from pink girls clothes took it extremely well, which was great to see, but they were obviously disappointed. Its awful to think of how we throw clothes out in the western world. Its good to get involved with them, they are really likable, and you see them all the time outside the compound, if they know you, they’re really keen to help you without looking for money in return. It means you don’t get hassled so much by the others if you’re with one of them.


All the kids preparing for their match


In action


Browsing the clothes before hand


Lining up for a number

We went to the cinema tonight in town. Its a large theatre that plays random movies, mostly illegal copies with bad sound. The movie for today was “World Trade Centre”. Not a great movie, but I can’t complain for 25p.

That’s all for now.

Niall

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3 Responses to “Concerts and Street Ministry”

  1. mark Says:

    Hey man thanks for the blogging, its great to see the pics & hear the stories!
    Keep ’em coming!

  2. rachel mc Says:

    wel wat da crack wit a

    how u kippin !!!!!!!!!!!!

    x

  3. rachel Says:

    lovin dat hat ur wearin in 1 of da pics ! lol

    x

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