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Welcomed into the circle

CCFC’s Terry Slobodian reflects on the hosting graces of the Ethiopian people

By Terry Slobodian, V.P. of Fund Development & Communications

Landing in Ethiopia on my birthday was a double blessing. Not only was I afforded the opportunity to visit Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC’s) Addis Ababa office and field projects for the first time, but I was also blessed to be fêted by our local staff and exposed to their culture through a traditional coffee-making ceremony with popcorn and birthday bread.

Of course, there was much more on our agenda in Ethiopia, but that welcome framed the rest of my trip perfectly. It showed the far-reaching graces of the Ethiopian people, which was evident as I visited a CCFC-supported water project in the drought-affected Langano area. Despite circumstances, we were welcomed with warmth and sincerity, and traditional clothing was offered as a thank you to two of our major donors whose support transformed a community.

I was also invited to play with the children, who found unbridled joy in a dusty game of volleyball and swarmed like bees at the sight of a camera — eager to fill the frame with their youthful exuberance.

Professionally, I returned to Canada with a new understanding of how we’re helping disadvantaged families become more self-sufficient. The people we serve are doing so much with limited resources. We fortify their efforts by providing access to sustainable sources of food and clean water, educational opportunities and health care. With the current drought affecting millions in Ethiopia, it’s not easy.

Personally, I returned with a memory of communities of people, grateful to welcome outsiders into their inner circle.