Star Tribune: “Into Africa”

At the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in St. Paul

Into Africa

The number of adopted Ethiopian children is growing fast in the Twin Cities, and a St. Paul church is offering language, food and music classes to help families learn firsthand what it means to be Ethiopian.
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. . .

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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