Official opening of Gambella Anglican Centre, Ethiopia

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Wed, 15 Dec 2010 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Tuesday 16th November, the day of the opening had been declared a Muslem feast: Al Adha and so, at 08:30, when we were all ready (the event was due to start then), we had to wait until nearly nine before the first guests arrived. The Irish Ambassador, one of the first to arrive, took her seat with the Roman Catholic Bishop Abuna Angelo and the other guests and as we waited for the Regional President to arrive, the St. Luke’s Sunday School choir arrived, dressed in blue tabards, singing as they entered the compound.

At 09:15, the President had arrived, we were all seated and the ceremony began: a speech of welcome from me (all protocols observed!), the presentation of the building, the ribbon cut and the plaque unveiled (by Bishop Mouneer and the Regional President), a Bible reading and homily (by me), prayers of thanksgiving led by Bishop Mouneer, a tour of the Library and other buildings led by Sam Moody (Project Director), a brief programme of wonderful Nuer and Annuak singing, followed by speeches. Bishop Mouneer, Sila Maguire, the Irish Ambassador for Ethiopia, David Gough, CMS Ireland and President Omot Obang, Gambella Regional Government all delivered inspiring speeches.

The morning finished with refreshments in the partially finished Canteen block. Once everyone had gone, our guests retired to the Guest House for lunch. The churches gathered to feed everyone, ostensibly, but we learnt later that none of the clergy managed to get any food, because they’d come to the coffee reception. That means that 200 people managed to eat 6,000 Birr (£234/€278) worth of large bull, very quickly – an astonishing feat!

By 15:00, everyone had gone; Bishops and guests went to rest, in the heat of the day.

By 18:15, as we were getting ready to be picked up by Abraham, to go to the Baro Hotel for the buffet reception, the sky darkened to a beautiful blackcurrant-grey over the mountains to the east and a strong wind picked up before the heavens opened and heavy rain freshened the air. We arrived at the Baro in the middle of a power cut, in the rain, but quickly found our seats at one of the tables, set out in the dining room. In the outer room, we passed a table beautifully laid out and positively groaning with food, the centrepiece of which was a whole, roasted lamb, standing upright, with lettuce in its mouth.

The President arrived shortly afterwards, together with the cabinet ministers who had not been able to come in the morning, to take his seat at the high table. The conversation over supper was of agriculture, academic studies and Europe. After supper, I stood to thank everyone for coming and the President presented Ambassador Sile Maguire, Bishop Mouneer, myself with bead-decorated ostrich eggs and David Gough and Janice with beaded wristbands.

When everyone had left, we returned to the Guest House where, once again, we sat on the veranda, as we reflected back over yet another extraordinary day.

A Christmas gift for the children of Maridi

Earlier this year I reported on the completion of the second block of Haddow Secondary School in Maridi supported by CMS Ireland. Now I’m thrilled to update you on the progress of another new school for Maridi Diocese.

The construction work of the 2 classroom blocks at the new Christ Town Primary School in Maridi town centre is progressing well. One block is supported by CMS Ireland and Africa Revival is funding the second, thanks to John Spens. The walls of both blocks are completed, one to ring beam level and the other is ready for the roofing and, as you can see in the photos, the shutters have already been fitted and even the chalkboard is plastered in the classrooms. Roofing work is due to start in the coming days. Also the digging of the pit latrines has commenced and they have already reached five meters deep.

It is expected that the construction work will be completed before Christmas. What a wonderful and timely gift for the 400 plus children who currently attend the grossly over-crowded school in what was the old Christ Town Church mud-walled, grass-roofed building.

Please continue to pray so that we can access funding to complete the much needed 3-block 8-classroom Primary School at Christ Town.