During a later overseas stint, although we had children of our own, they were by then all adults, and none of them were living with us. Fairly soon we took in 3 teenagers, let’s call them Mesfin,Tadessa and Solomon.
Mesfin and Tadessa were cousins. They had families who lived about 400 meters apart and a kilometre or two from us. Once when we asked how close they had been growing up, they said ‘we used to dig one hole and go back to back’. They were good friends. Solomon was a double orphan.
How did we get them?
Mesfin had a much older half brother, who had left home, and a tribe of sisters. He had a gentle mother and a fiery father. He himself could get pretty hot headed. We already knew him because he gardened part time after school at a friend’s place. He used, from time to time, drop in for a chat. I think to get a drink and improve his English. One day he and his father had a real blow-up. Not fisty cuff wise but so intense that he walked out of the home. Later that day he stormed into our place, still seethingly angry, saying that he was going to live on the street. Nobody should be street kids with all that implies. After some pretty stiff negotiating he became our first teenager. Later on we got to know his family and peace was made, but he stayed with us and one of the sisters became our cook. Mesfin is now the president of the bus drivers’ association of Addis Ababa, a city of about 8 million people; he is married with a small family. Continue reading “A house full of teenagers.”