Posts in Ethiopia 2018
Ethiopia Blog 11: Saturday

by Frank Dimmock

Wonderful day for visits to six preschools in two refugee camps (Tierkidi and Nguenyiel) and two adult learning centers. Most of the preschools have hundreds of children and too few teachers. Many of the teachers are volunteers without curriculum and materials. The Outreach Foundation has provided funds for plastic sheets to cover classrooms, blackboards and tables and will continue to support the preschools. Children comprise the majority of the population in the camps – they are everywhere!

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Ethiopia Blog Ten: Friday

by Frank Dimmock

Greetings friends. I had no internet connection last night, so there’s extra news today.

We completed our final lesson in trauma healing this morning and reviewed action plans for following up healing groups in each of the six refugee camps and Gambella town. It was a very good exercise and will help the new trainees to collaborate with others trained during the children’s trauma healing and audio trauma healing sessions. We are getting a core group of trained folks in each camp who can continue the work in their camps. On Monday next week we will be meeting with three representatives of the camp relief committees to orient them to the trauma healing work and seek their endorsement.

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Ethiopia Blog Nine: Wednesday in Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

Interesting day with lessons on Domestic Abuse including physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and economic abuse. The women were open and animated in their small groups and with the men. This was followed by identifying and taking pain to the cross. In the afternoon they completed the lesson on forgiveness. They acted out several skits and sang songs of lament and hymns of forgiveness.

In the morning, David Paduil and I visited the regional Refugee office to confirm our permission to visit three of the camps on Friday afternoon and Saturday. This was approved, and we are ready to visit the preschools and adult literacy programs in those camps.

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Ethiopia Blog Eight: Tuesday in Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

This morning we said good-bye to Debbie Wolcott, who has been helping to facilitate the audio trauma healing training, and officially welcomed Thaddeus Gichana to facilitate the adult trauma healing session through Friday. The photo helps to demonstrate how this effort is a partnership between the American Bible Society, Serving in Mission (SIM), The Outreach Foundation and the Sudanese-American Congregations in the U.S. (specifically the one in Gallatin, TN).

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Ethiopia Blog Seven: Monday

by Frank Dimmock

Today was a happy – sad – happy day as we presented certificates to the 19 participants in the first audio trauma healing training for refugees. The four-day training finished on Sunday evening and certificates were presented this morning – Happy.

All but two of them then departed back to their camps with notes and certificates to begin listening groups in their churches and communities. They are not "professional" counselors but are equipped with basic mental health knowledge about trauma and scripture to support their listening ministry. Trauma is universal in the camps and also with caregivers in clinics and relief organizations. There is great work to be done here.

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Ethiopia Blog Six: Sunday

by Frank Dimmock

Beautiful and hot Sunday today. We worshipped at the West Gambella Bethel Church along with 3,018 others on the inside and at least 200 outside the windows. It was HOT. We sat in plastic chairs beneath a tin roof and listened to eight choirs and several speeches in addition to the 45 minute sermon and 15 minute benediction. We arrived a few minutes late for the 8:00 starting time and it all concluded at 1:00 p.m. So is worship here. It is a highlight of the week for so many, a truly joyous occasion. David and I brought greetings from The Outreach Foundation and told why we were visiting.

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Ethiopia Blog Five: Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

Today was another good day in the audio trauma healing training. It was also a difficult day as we covered some sensitive areas of compound and complex trauma. We began by looking at loss and the stages of grief. This was followed by taking our pain to the foot of the cross and releasing that pain to Jesus. We then covered the audio lesson that focuses on domestic violence. This topic raised a lot of discussion and it was good to bring out some of the cultural traditions and practices that have shaped relationships within families.

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Ethiopia Day Four/Five: Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

Yesterday was a travel day from Addis to Gambella in western Ethiopia. We spent the afternoon meeting local church leaders and preparing for the trauma healing training sessions.

Wow, what a great and busy day today. We began with the first two core lessons on trauma healing with 16 participants. They included six women and eight men from the six South Sudanese refugee camps and two pastors from our Ethiopian church partners (and hosts).

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Ethiopia: Day Three - Addis

by Frank Dimmock

The day began at the airport where the prayers of many were answered with the arrival of the missing suitcase. Thank you all and praise God. From there I went to collect the electronic keyboard for one of the camps that was being repaired in the market (eye-opening experience).

During the few days here, I have met some amazing people. One of them is Dr. Thomas Doguande, a South Sudan medical doctor who is halfway through a residency training in Obstetrics here in Addis. His tuition is paid by the Ethiopian government and his living costs are supposed to be covered by the government of South Sudan. But…

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Ethiopia: Day Two - Addis

by Frank Dimmock

After spending the early morning at the ARRA (Refugee coordination office) to successfully gain permission to visit schools in three of the Gambella camps, I traveled to the EECMY Mekane Yesus Seminary. I had the opportunity to meet with the Seminary President Rev. Dr. Bruk Ayele (PhD). The Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus is a large Presbyterian partner with over 9.3 million members. There are fewer than 4,000 trained pastors serving in 14,000 congregations and preaching places across Ethiopia. There are 32 Synods of the denomination.

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Ethiopia: Day One - Lament

by Frank Dimmock

As I traveled from the U.S. to Ethiopia on Sunday, I was reminded by the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) to engage throughout the weekend in lamentation and prayer for peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and an end to conflict in South Sudan. A lament is an expression of grief, suffering and sadness. It is a cry of sorrow. It may reflect the experience of an individual, family, community or nation. And, it is an integral part of the trauma healing training.

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