B - UX
Creative, Mindful, Resourceful

this amharican life

A Peace Corps Journey

Money, Black Lives Matter, and the Dialogue I Never Got.


One of my professors once told our class nonchalantly that in order to change our nutrition laws to what was better for the people, we had to prove with research that it would earn the government more money in the long run. So many of my hopes were shattered at that point and I don’t think she understood the extent of distraught those words caused me. It came down to money. Our whole foundation was money. It was weaved in to the system long ago. Money, not the general wellbeing of the people of our country. I had known it of-course I saw it everywhere in everything, but it became a hard reality at that moment.

Life was harder than it seemed, it was going to be easier to run away.

I realized all sectors must be like this if the food sector was. It was all politics. The rules were always changing in this game and I couldn’t learn how to play. In the elections no one spoke about the things they really would do, only what people would want to hear. I stopped listening because It was too hard to tell between a truth and a lie. I couldn’t understand how important changes happened so fast without the people even becoming aware of it. Maybe I was the only one unaware, maybe not.

I became hopeful when I saw a honest man running, but all hopes were one again shattered when we chose someone else as our presidential candidate.

I worry about the state of our people. Please remember I speak as an American living abroad serving the US and people here. I worry because humanity is not our number one goal of our government. Growth is not possible if we aren’t honest with our own selves.

Peace Corps held a dialogue relating to the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the 5 police officers so I went. It was for us to talk it out and feel better, to express our hurt and pain with others. It only increased mine. I tried to discuss it, everyone was listening intently but I didn’t feel heard. This was not only about Alton Sterling and Philander Castile it was about so many more. It was about Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and many more. It was about the 585 people this year alone who were killed by police. It was about an idea.

I fail to understand that the same government which funds to send me to Ethiopia to build friendly relationships with the people and help them improve their overall wellbeing, is not doing enough improve the well being of African American people at home.

In our own country certain people are not protected by the police because of their differences. In the country that so very loudly speaks of the beauty of diversity, it is not willing to accept the outer differences of people, or is it about money?

Do we have go through something in order to really feel how terrible it is?

I had a baby bird die in my hands. Someone at the health center found it without a mother and I made her give it to me. I thought I could nurse it until it could fly on its own. It fell in to a bowl of water I had set for it to drink and passed away. I cried after so long, not for the bird but for my own grief, for the mothers, and for the world.I had never lost to life like this. I have been blessed. Of the little I have seen in this world, death so close had not been one of them. As the life force left him, his eyes turned to a gray, his body completely stiff. The finality of it made my own spirit fall a little. A bird I only held in my hands for a couple of hours.

I thought about the mothers and families who have lost their loved ones too early. A pain I never want to feel, and would not even wish on the worst of people. 

Peace corps tells us to stay away from talking about american politics here for our own good, but when people ask, I must be honest. I learned enough from my sister to know that when you speak of your own, you must not share the problems, but it’s hard when trump in all the news channels in hotels. It’s hard when I read headlines that say “FBI Investigating the Death of a Black Man Hanging From a Tree.” It’s really really hard when I hear friends talking about Pokemon Go, while all of this is happening.

These are things I needed to say. The talk with my fellow volunteers wasn’t enough, it won’t be enough until there is action to go along with it. 

I'll leave with a few of my favorite pictures of mothers and families. We are different yet all the same.

Every Life Is Precious. 

Every Life Is Precious.