Day 106 -not wanting to go home

Hello Everybody!!

Today is my 106th day in Africa, and I can’t believe that I have been here for that long. The reality of having to leave soon is really slapping me in the face. I always knew that I would have to leave eventually, and at first I was looking forward to getting back to some normal food and toilets. But lately, as I have begun to love the people and land so much, I keep thinking to myself “no, leaving now is not good. I should wait until next month or so”.  Honestly if I didn’t have a plane ticket, I would probably pull a Jason and end up here forever.

This week has been a real testimony builder for me. For some reason, it seems that everything I ask for, God just gives to me over here. I can’t believe it. I have two amazing examples that I would like to share.  I mentioned in my letter last week that I had been looking for a water solution for Haleku. I wrote pretty casual in my letter, but in reality I was doing quite a bit of worrying and praying about it. Before I tell you about the awesome solution we found, I would like to give a quick description of how important water is here in Africa. It is difficult to explain the situation of water here in Haleku to people back in the United States. In the States, over half the water we use we never actually see. It does its job and goes down the drain so fast that nobody ever even notices it. Here, every drop of water is carried by hand or donkey cart to where it is used. People use empty oil containers that they call jeddycaans, (I think they are saying Jerry can’s) to carry water from the well to their houses. I had an experience last week that will forever stay out in my mind. As Ethiopia Jerry CansI finished a workday in Haleku, I went to the windmill pump to wash my dirty hands and face off. As I finished, I sat down on a rock near the well and watched the women who were trickling in from other villages filling up their cans. One specific older lady had tied a very long rope to her can. I couldn’t figure out what the rope was for, so I watched for a while. The lady filled up her can, set it on the ground, put the rope around her shoulder and began the treck back to her house. The part that hit me the hardest was the path that she was taking had a very long, crooked ditch that had been worn from days and days of dragging that can back and forth.  Before I came to Ethiopia, I knew that people struggled with water. I knew that most of the world carried the water they used each day to their houses by hand. But I never truly realized what that information meant. How it meant that every single drop used for cooking, washing, and drinking was carried to the house. I don’t think anybody can truly understand this until they live in an area like this one.

I don’t want to write this to make people feel bad about what they have in America. What we have in America is great, and it is great because of wonderful blessings, and work that we, and people before us did. I write this to allow people to understand the predicament that most of Africa is in. And I write it to allow people to more fully understand the gift that was given to our program this week. This week I received news that one person had donated enough money to our program to cover another well in Haleku. This well would be run by hand, and would provide water to the village of Haleku, Galanta, and Boqee when the windmill in Haleku was not working (there is often no wind in Haleku for up to 4 months at a time during the dry season).  To understand the effects of this donation, you must consider that people here walk to the well from a circumference of 6-7km (Boqee residents walking the furthest, Halelku the shortest). If  there is not enough wind to power the well that day, it means another 3-4 km to Adami tullu, the nearest town with Electricity. The donation of a hand run pump, that will provide not only extra water, but reliable water, is truly invaluable. I cannot help but think that whoever this guy is (I do not know him personally) had a little push from upstairs. The biggest disappointment that I have is that I will not be here to get to see the well implemented. That would be so cool.Good Night Haleku

The second blessing that we had this week was one that simply amazed me. A while ago, my dad told me that we may have problems with pollination here in Haleku because of our location, and planting plants that the areas pollinators did not normaly pollinate. I don’t know much about anything like that, so I just shrugged my shoulders and decided that it was definitely something I could not worry about. The next day, as I was sitting under a tree in Haleku, I thought about it again and started worrying about the effects on not having a pollinator around would be. Just as I started thinking about it, the sky literally turned gray with bees. The came and made a nest in the tree I was sitting under, while I was sitting under it!!! I just sat there with my mouth open. I have never seen a really big swarm of bees like that before in my life. To have them come right when I was thinking those things……all I could say is wow. After swarming around for a while, they made a big ball on the tree above me. One of the fathers that I was sitting with told me that this was our reward for working together so well that week. Their faith and belief in god amazes me. The father said, “God helps those who help others. He sent those bees to us”. I have never more truly believed this. In all honesty, It seemed like magic to me. I was just thinking about how in the world I was going to get a whole bunch of bees out to Haleku, or how to even find bees in Ethiopia, and all the sudden a big swarm of honeybee lands in the tree above my head. Amazing, simply amazing.

Our home gardens are doing very well. The Tomatoes are about 4 inches tall now, and the lettuce is actually big enough to start looking like lettuce!! Everything came up (thank goodness) and is growing really well. The only problem I ran into is that we planted lots of the stuff way too close together. Oops. When I showed the fathers how to thin the plants, they were horrified as I began pulling up the carrots and onions so they would be spaced correctly. They want to replant the thinned plants somewhere else so that they will grow. I sure hope that everything turns out ok. I worry that these plants might suffer from over attention. I visited one home garden this week, who planted the tomatoes in a line like carrots, and the carrots were evenly spaced in neat lines 8 inches apart. Oh dear. The biggest point is that they are trying, and will learn. That guy will have a ton of crowded tomatoes and not so many carrots this year. But he will learn and next year you can bet he will get it right.

Another cool thing we are doing with the gardens is a method suggested to me by another NGO here in Ziway. They are called IDE and they told me that drip irrigation would be an awesome way to water our fruit trees and home gardens.  I have started the process of building a system, and it seems like it will do really well.
Ethiopia Haleku ChildrenFor work this week, most of the fathers have been working on building a stadium for the Haleku school children. We are actually leveling a field by hand. I would sure love to bring a backhoe here, do some serious work. But for now, its shovels and donkey carts. The funniest part about work this week was on the first day, all the fathers told me I was crazy. They said, It is impossible to level this by hand. You cannot change the formation of the land. After two days of work, we are nearly halfway finished. Some of the fathers exclaimed their surprise at the amount we had accomplished. They said they were proud to have such a great place for their kids to play soccer, and it was way worth it even though it was really hard. Ethiopians are huge soccer fans, and having a town stadium makes you a very nice village indeed. Its really fun to watch the fathers gain pride in their village as they work for their kids and communities benefit.

I will end my letter by saying I had the coolest Sunday ever this week. I got the chance to spend the whole Sunday with Elder Odiambo, from Kenya. His companion was doing something else that day, so he asked me if I could help him out. What a cool experience!! At sacrament meeting, I ended up presiding, speaking (elder Odiambo gave the other talk), and teaching Sunday school. Lots of the regular members were at a funeral in Shashemene, so there wasn’t many people there. It was still really cool to meet with 5 of the very faithful members, and we had a great Sunday school class. The members are all very new to the gospel, but their Ethiopia Meskerem Shopinsights and comments in lessons amaze me at their knowledge. They teach me so much. After church, I visited Meskeram and her family (we are helping her start a shop, I mentioned her earlier) with elder Odiambo, and gave her a little introduction on the gospel. Simply sharing my testimony (even through a translator, one of the members came with us) was super cool, and you could really feel the spirit in tiny shop that their family lives in. After we finished talking with her we went back to Shashemene and met with an investigator named Samson. Samson is very interested in the gospel, and we spoke with him for around 4 hours, teaching him the first lesson, and answering various questions he had. Samson is a super smart guy, and has studied the bible a lot. He and elder Odiambo really make me realize how much I don’t know. I’m sure glad that Elder Odiambo knows so much. He answered Samsons questions with scriptures, and a quiet power in his voice that was so full of the spirit that I couldn’t believe it. I really hope to get to meet Odiambo again someday. And you can sure bet I will be studying hard before I go out on my mission. I want to be the kind of missionary that he is.

Well, I hope everybody is having a great week!! I can’t wait to see everybody again, even though leaving here is going to be so hard.

Braden Fuller

2 Responses to “Day 106 -not wanting to go home”

  1. Colette (Fuller) Moss says:

    What an incredible experience you are having Braden. Thanks for sharing and thanks for recognizing the Lord’s hand in all things. This is just so cool.


  2. Irene Lusk says:

    Hadn’t been on this website for a long time. I loved your story on how prayers are answered. The bee story was amazing and it is so great that you got to wittiness it in person. wow! I will be following this more closer from now on. You are a great writer and what a book you will write someday. I wish that more young missionaries could go out with the experience you have already had. I am very proud to have known you, you have strength that has added to my testimony. THANKS

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