When you get a haircut, be sure to go back home
When you get a haircut, get a barber you have known
Since you were a little bitty boy sittin' in a booster chair
Or you might look like Larry, Moe or Curly if a stranger cuts your hair
- Ray Stevens
Take Miles for example.
The other day, while out with me to get bread and eggs, he was hounded by some local boys who decided that this blond-headed foreigner was someone they could poke fun at. He was pretty upset by their teasing. Back at home, I explained that the majority of people here are really friendly, but there would always be the few rascals to deal with.
He didn't want to go back outside the gate.
Until I uttered the magic words: "soccer jersey."
Once he knew I would help him look for a soccer outfit, he wouldn't stop asking me to take him back out! It was so neat to see the fear and anxiety turn to eager excitement. The picture below says it all...
Then there was the day we gave away all our oranges.
I had been out with the kids, doing some shopping on the streets. At our last stop, there were four older gentlemen, sitting in a row, looking haggard and asking for alms. I decided to give each an orange. As we walked back through the gate of our compound, I handed the last two bits of citrus to one of the guards.
Miles was aghast. "Why did you give away all our oranges?"
This provided an opportunity for a mini lesson on poverty and generosity.
"Why did you give away all our oranges?"
We're learning just how rewarding giving is.
The other day, Caleb and I went with a group from school on a five hour hike in the mountains outside the city. It was beautiful!
Most of the hike brought us through farmland where young children tended the cattle and sheep. A few of the children accompanied us all the way up to near the top of the mountain. Here, Caleb and I shared some of our snacks with them.
But what got me was how thirsty they were.
I had brought an extra plastic cup which I used to share some of our filtered drinking water. The little kids chugged it down like they were on a Gatorade commercial. I was reminded of Jesus' words in Matthew 10:
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
- Jesus (Matthew 10:42)
It felt good to bring a little joy to these kids' hearts.
But really, we weren't sacrificing anything. The reward Caleb and I got from seeing their joy was so much more than what we gave away. I doubt those kids high up on the mountain were even aware that they were helping us along our own journey of cultural adjustment.
I doubt they knew how much they gave us that day.
I'm thankful for the little things like haircuts, soccer jerseys, and oranges, that help us adjust, little by little, to life here in Addis.
"Slowly, slowly an egg learns to walk."
- Amharic proverb