Monday, September 22, 2008

A Letter to One in Need

*This is the letter I wrote to Richard today - this is so hard for me, but it must be much harder for him - to be so close to help, and to wish with all his energy to change his life. Is this note ok? Does it serve him? Is it compassionate enough? Will I deliver enough help? Are we doing the right thing? Is this letter for him, or really for me?

Dear Richard,
We are working hard to make it possible for your studies to progress.
We often think about you and the other boys we met. We talk about our time in Ethiopia with great fondness, delight, amazement, and respect. Your country is so beautiful, and the people of Ethiopia make the country even more lovely. We also know there is great need in Ethiopia and great struggle for many to work and study. We do recognize how hard you must work for simple things in your own life. It is our intention to help you with the hope of making a difference in your life.
We are trying to help Getu and Getnet also. We know that agreeing to help is important, but also we cannot do all that we want to do. We don't want to say "no" to anything, but there may be some things that you ask that we cannot do. Please don't mistake anything that we cannot do as not caring or as unkindness. We do care so much to know you are well and that you are succeeding.
We are happy to know you, and hope we can find ways to assist you to follow your goals to be a fine young Ethiopian man. That is our hope for you. You are being very patient. I know this must be difficult.
In friendship and kindness, Ms. Plum, Mr. Silly Pants
Songbird, Twinkletoes, Mr. Waffles, and Blueberry (the photo is of all 3 boys mentioned)


Anonymous said...

I applaud your desire to help. I lived in Ethiopia for two years and you are correct that the need is real (and kind of crushing when you are confronted with it firsthand). I think your note is appropriate, and necessary, as so many young people in Ethiopia see all foreigners as being very wealthy. Of course, most of us are in comparison.

I also urge you to verify the costs of education, room and board in Addis. Not that I am implying dishonesty on the part of the young man you wish to help, but often people in the countryside are not aware of action costs of living in the capital (which have gone up immensely in the last few years). What school would he like to attend?

M and M said...

Anon - I took the leap and have heard from Richard that he is in Addis and making arrangments. Your advice is very good, and I wish I had more access to verify his preparations. The best I could do was be very clear what his obligations are as part of our support (tuition receipts, and a new arrangement for funding next year). He is hoping to attend the medical college in Addis.