POST BY CHRIS TRETER (Still in Ethiopia)
Monday January 24, 2011
Bizuayehu, or Mamoosh, as he is known to his friends was born in the town of Nekempte 24 years and 2 months ago. Following his father’s untimely death of an illness not fully revealed to him when he was 10 years old, Bizuayehu had to find work to support himself and his Mom, brother, and sister. Working on the streets as a shoe shiner and porter in a town of 85,000 he quickly became known as “Mamoosh,” or “little boy,” a name that he uses today.
He used the money earned as a shoe shiner to pay for his school materials and uniform through secondary school. In high school, a neighbor, who did not have any children, sponsored him to complete his education. He then went on to get his nursing certificate. He is a natural born caregiver. That’s a very good trait to have in his family as his Mom is in late stages of AIDS, his brother is paralyzed and with severe seizures, and his sister is sick with asthma. Before his job interpreting and acting as run support and nurse for the support bus on the Run Across Ethiopia, Mamoosh, last had a paying job nearly 4 years ago as a guard for 30 pigs in his hometown. He would sleep in a dirt shack that acted as the guard house and would feed the pigs each day. For the service, he was paid an equivalent of $30 for the month.
Sitting back under a tent as the rain gently fell and lightening danced on the horizon last night on the eve of our departure from Ethiopia, Bizuayehu spent some time reflecting on the Run Across Ethiopia and the next steps. With a bible in his hand, Bizuayehu explained, “You have to treat visions as if they are a finish line in a long race. Don’t stop in the middle of the run to talk to people. Don’t let them entice you with a banana. You will have many bananas when you arrive at the finish line.”
Today Shauna, Bizuayehu, our driver Absolom, and I are careening through the Rift Valley swerving around cows, goats, and donkey carts filled with people and yellow water jugs on our return to Addis Ababa. This afternoon we’ll have a series of meetings to discuss future plans for school construction and other proposed projects from a few different Ethiopia organizations before we hop on a plane for a much needed break.
Mamoosh will be with us until we part ways at the airport. He’ll be staying with a friend in Addis while he looks for his next paying gig. He’s told his Mom he has a new job and says he can’t return home until he finds more work. We’ve assured him that upon our next journey to Ethiopia we’ll be looking him up to help us get to the finish line.
These comments on Chris’s tribute to Mamoosh were added by RAE teammates Anne Stanton and Nigel Willerton.
From Nigel: “Mamoosh is the man! He is featured on the home page of the Wholesome Sweeteners website grooving it with the choir in Hase Gola! “
From Anne: “Chris, What a wonderful tribute to Bizuayehu, with whom I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time. His name, “sees all things,” really fits him as he could really anticipate what you needed … water bottle, bandaid, you name it! And what a smile!”