Andrew Kanu and the team from Sierra Leone report on a successful recording expedition in Ethiopia.
My first visit to Ethiopia for the initial survey was in March 2006. I was allowed by the immigration to stay in the country for just ten days instead of my initial two to three weeks duration. In spite of this, I was able to line up twelve languages and chose selected scripts to be translated into Amharic. Communication was going on and dates were scheduled and rescheduled until finally three of us (Moses, Fredrick and I) left the shores of Freetown for Ethiopia via Accra for our visas. We arrived in Addis Ababa on the 15th of June.
The country is known for its orthodoxy dominance, the nation that smiles, thirteen months sunshine, thirteen months calendar of thirty days each and the only nation in Africa not being colonized. Therefore the city Addis Ababa meaning "New flower" is being called the city of Africa. She played host to the AU and other prominent African and world organizations. This year the country will be celebrating its third millennium
The queen of Sheba came from this famous nation and she is a legend there. The country's airlines (Ethiopian Airlines) air miles "Sheba miles" has been named after her, just to name a few. Tradition also states that she had a son for King Solomon. Sheba is a house hold name in Ethiopia. Therefore I deemed it fit to name this project "Sheba Recordings".
The recording team was made up of six men, three recordists from Sierra Leone, (Fredrick, Moses and I) two national coordinators (Thaddeus and Mesfin) and the driver (Tefera). We had good and challenging times together. Coming from different backgrounds and culture, we were able to live to a great extent amicable. The coordinators were also of great importance because they serve as readers and translators.
As recordists we went through the books of Genesis, Philippians, 1 John, and finally Matthew during our cooperate devotions. We learnt so many things including accepting our backgrounds, living in the light, be joyful in all situations and doing all our best to implement the beatitudes in our lives. From our devotions we always pray the prayer of Abrahams servant "Lord let our journey be successful". Indeed the Lord answered our prayers.
During our journey we came across rough roads that scared us to death. In some areas the rains were so heavy that the roads are partly eroded. The mud was also another challenge for the vehicle to drive through. Thank God for an experience driver. As we drove from town to town, village to village the Lord delivered us from accidents and the attacks from robbers on the highways. Our vehicle had flat tyres several times as we move on. However we thank God, it did not go beyond that. It was always in a good condition throughout the project.
The weather varies from place to place and it was a great challenge for us that came from temperate areas. It went to extremes if it is hot, very hot and if cold very cold. Thank God, in spite of these conditions, we were able to brave it through and forge ahead with our work by the grace of God.
The scenery was very good as we travel southward of the country. The land is green. Mountains and valleys appear and disappear as we go by. The traffic was filled with cattle and donkeys as they returned from their farms. We do experience some problems when in some areas our driver had to dodge people instead of people dodging him.
Food was another challenge but as Missionaries we were able to eat drink and be healthy. Some of their foodstuff includes; Ngera, false banana, teps and fruit juice. They also have Kurt, Kitfo etc. We thank God that none of us fall sick except for a little pain here and there, slight headache and cold/catarrh.
Studio was also a challenge. We recorded, using various forms of studios.
We had great opportunities to share the work in various churches in and out of the capital Addis Ababa. I was privileged to preach on two Sundays. We also met with pastors from various denominations; general secretaries of the KHC (word of life church) in the places we went.
The people's cultures were great. They show respect for elders, are hospitable and always wanted to give a helping hand. There is also a great need for the spread of the gospel. Most of the areas visited the people are predominantly animists or practicing syncretism by identifying themselves with orthodoxy. However, the Lord has His remnant and evangelical Christianity is on the rise though with some problems. "100 ft wide, with an inch deep". This is a challenge for GRN to consider greatly how our materials could be used for teaching purposes.
In one of the towns we went to record we were rejected and asked to leave because a certain man did not know about our coming. However we were able to record the GEWADA language in a nearby town KONSO. In Gidole we were heartily welcomed by the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia (Mekanas Yesus). The Priest was kind to us; he went another mile to assist in getting some language helpers in the nearby villages.
At Erbore one of the elders told us that he had a vision of our coming three days prior to our arrival. It happens that he saw birds singing in their language, informing him that missionaries will be coming to them in three days time to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and it will also influence the neighboring villages. We praise the Lord together for fulfilling His word. The favor of God was also evident as we travel from place to place.
Mid way into the project, the enemy struck. One of our coordinators (Thaddeus) mother died. He went for the funeral and later returned after a week. He was replaced by Gezahene until he returns. Back home in Sierra Leone, Fredrick lost his grandfather, I lost my Nephew and my family was all sick. Though the enemy tried to discourage us we were not perturbed by his schemes. We kept on keeping on.
At the end of the project we were able to record twenty languages and added materials on four previous languages. These include;
- RECORDED: GAMO: Aezo (GAMOGNA), ENDEGYNEGNA, HADDIYA: Leemo, GURAGE: Soddo (CHRISTANIGNA), LIBIDO, MASQUAN, TEMBARO, DAWRO, GOFA, DRITA, ARSI:Oromo, KONSO AARI, BASKETTO, NYANGATOM, GEWADA, BUSSA, GOBEHZE, ZAYSE, KOYRA.
- ADDED MATERIALS: ZAY, ALABA, SIDAMA, ERBORE
We thank all those that contributed to make this project a success by praying and donating.
We solicit your prayers as we patiently edit and programme these recordings for distribution. Looking forward to your usual encouragement and concern as we labor in the Lord's vineyard.