At the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in St. Paul
In a church basement on St. Paul’s East Side, a man draws a circle and a straight line on the chalkboard. He pauses for effect. Then he turns to his students — parents of children recently adopted from Ethiopia. They lean forward in their chairs, eagerly awaiting his instruction.
"If you can write a stick and a zero, you can write any Amharic alphabet letter," instructor Seyoum Mekuria says encouragingly. Amharic is the official language of his native Ethiopia. He shows them, writing out the letters in the alphabet. All 270 of them.
One parent raises her hand. "Could you go over it all just one more time?" she asks.
He nods and starts the alphabet lesson from the top. . .