April 2020: Ethiopia / Durame: Easter (by Abel Yonas)

Life from the source gives me hope and strength

A text for Easter by our PBF manager in southern Ethiopia

Abel Yonas is currently studying sociology in Germany/Bielefeld thanks to a KAAD scholarship. He has been active in the Foundation for a good decade, especially in Durame, but then also with the commitment of PBF for the elderly people living on the streets (VDI) in Addis Ababa. He also writes here for the people in his home country.

Spring breaks out here in Germany, unlike in my homeland, where the rainy season is now. Rocks, rivers bring a lot of water, and whoever receives it as a gift drinks spring into themselves. People can quench their thirst, refresh themselves and feel new energies. I experience it differently here than in my home country.

But there, too, people receive water for their livelihood. This time would be a life-giving source for millions of people, especially for those who have no access to modern and clean pipelines or even mineral water. I now live in a highly industrialized country. I remember how my brother Yossy, my elderly parents, the villagers of Doano received a new well from PBF a few days ago. How I would like to be there!

Every now and then I drink mineral water in company. The mountains in Europe enable high-quality healthy water. We also know “Highland Mineralwater”. Few want and can afford it.

Back to the source, the origin! It “feeds” our small village, the small brook reaches a large river somewhere, it does not stop, it is increasingly becoming a source of life for biological diversity. Those who are in daily stress, in the routine of everyday life, perhaps boring and almost desperate, may find their way back to the sources and pay new attention to their lives. The hard rock becomes the image for your own life wherever, the bubbling spring can be a hopeful experience for a new creation. I remember the green meadows in Doano, I hear the birds singing in our forests, I use them to recharge my energy for my studies. I think of my family, my children in Durame, “see” the women and girls with their buckets of water tied on their backs or balancing on their heads. They need it for their household, for cooking, for drinking, there would be no life for all of them without water. It is important for me at this time to be able to remember her great gratitude, nothing is a matter of course.

I associate these thoughts with Easter, the big feast of thanks. In my country it is celebrated in the Orthodox Church a week later. People have prepared themselves for this by strict fasting for many weeks. The feast is called Fasika in our Amharic language. It is the main festival of the Christian church. After the experience of the cross comes the Resurrection. That gives me strength – again this year. At home I have been very active in church services since childhood, which took a long time and are solemnly organized. As is well known, everything is different this year.

I know of some texts from Holy Scripture that speak of “water”, but the words of Jesus, which he says to the Samaritan woman, a “stranger” at the fountain, and promises her to give “living water” touch me this year most notably. Whoever drinks this water that I give him will never be thirsty. It becomes the source in him that leads to eternal life (according to John 4:14).

It is not my intention here to “explain” the water or even “preach” over Easter, but to point out the meaning of our life – here in Europe or in my home country.

It is very warm there at the moment, here we have the winter behind us. We know very dry times without precipitation, the water becomes very precious and is often missing, some things in nature die. I want to remember that too. It’s kind of a Good Friday. But now it is rainy season in Ethiopia, a kind of summer. Incidentally, there was much more water in the past than today. Global warming and climate change pose immense problems for us. Add to that the population growth … How long will we have enough water in our village? These are questions that I deal with here at the university. I am grateful that I can associate Easter with great hope for our very poor people. I have been a part of PBF for over ten years, owe all my studies to the foundation, and try to get involved with my brother Yossy in various changes so that Easter becomes a real reality year after year.

Happy Easter and God’s blessings

Abel