Story of my life
My real name is “Temesgen”, but everyone knows me by the name “Abiti”. I was born in Shashamane (Ethiopia) near the Catholic church. Ever since I was 3 years old, I had always gone to the Catholic church to play and to spend time with the volunteers (who we referred to as “ferenje”) and there I got to know Father Silvio (my beloved and unforgettable “father”). Because my house is near the school compound, I could see the children going to school. So, I was always asking myself how and when I could get to go to school just like my friends. My mother had a job that paid very little, making a traditional drink called “tela”. One day I asked my mother if she could pay the school fees so I could study and play like my friends in school. And she answered that I would have to wait until I grew up. Still, at night, I always tried to do something useful like reading my brother’s books which he studied in the government school far from our house. Then one day I was sitting at the front of the church while the other children were at school. Abba Silvio (Father Silvio) saw me sitting there and asked why I wasn’t in school and I told him that my mother couldn’t afford to pay the school fees. He asked me to lay my hand on one side of my head and to touch my ear on the other side to see if I was old enough to start school. I tried very hard but couldn’t do it so Abba told me that as soon as I could touch my ear, he would send me to school. After that, I went immediately to see my brother for help in touching my ear but he just laughed at me so I kept trying by myself to do it but I couldn’t. I kept telling myself, “Abiti, you can do this!”. I tried and tried again but still I couldn’t. So, more time passed and then one day my mother saw me crying and asked me why. When I told her what Abba had said about touching my ear, she too laughed at me, but… she also told me that she would pay my school fees for the first month. That first day of school was the very best day of my entire life. After 3 days Abba saw me in school and asked again if I could do as he asked and I told him I couldn’t but didn’t want to give up and asked him to let me keep trying. He laughed again and then told the teacher that I was his “son” so there were no school fees for me… that was the biggest part of my journey. In the next 3 years I got very good grades and became first in my class. Wow, good job, Abiti!!!!!!!!!