Yesterday I stopped by the church office to drop off a note for my friend Alemnesh who is trying to start an orphan home in Ethiopia – one of the pastors is heading over to see her at the end of the week. I wasn't expecting to get into a conversation with the pastor, but I did. It included a big hint that I should join Alemnesh as the admin person for this project. My heartstrings felt the tug.
From there I went to a bank to deposit a check for friends that live in East Africa. I had never been in this branch, on Franklin and 26th. As soon as I was in line for a teller I was immediately transported to the Barclays Bank I went to each month to pay my rent in Nairobi! I searched the room, I was the only white person in there: customers, tellers, security – absolutely everyone was black. I suppose that would scare some people, for me it feels like home.
I could hear conversations in other languages and ones in accented English. Some were African America, others Somali and some were from other African countries. I overheard the two large dark men at the next window asking their teller where he was from. “Liberia? Do you speak French?” one man asked. “Because we speak French.”
My teller had another guy walk up while he was helping me. That teller asked where he was from. He replied, “Ethiopia” before the other guy corrected, “which branch are you from?”
When I commented that it felt like Africa in here to the two tellers at my window, the customer on the other side of my laughed knowingly. He must have been East African too. As I left, I said the my teller, “Amesegenallo, ” one of the only Amharic words I know (thank you). I heard him comment that was perfect pronunciation.
As I drove off to my next errand I wondered if I should be considering Ethiopia more seriously. I just feel I need to finish school and get a good job. I feel torn.