Here is an amazing story from the Ayele's newsletter...this is why we do this:
One of the key people behind all [of our] information is the Chief Administrator of the Hamer Woreda. Woreda means district. His name is Emnet, which means “faith”. When children, adults or even animals have been ordered to be cast out and killed, they are called Mingis. Emnet is from the Hamer tribe and he was a Mingi that was saved, by the grace of God! This is his story...
First of all, we ought to tell you some of the reasons one would become a Mingi. One of the reasons, as you all know, is that a mother was not married before she got pregnant with a baby, therefore the baby would be a Mingi. Another reason is if a child should fall and chip a tooth, they become a Mingi. Also, if their top teeth grow in before their bottom teeth, they become a Mingi. The last one we’ll mention is that if your mother was nursing you while she conceived another child, both you and your unborn sibling become Mingis! There are so many more ridiculous reasons one could become a Mingi, but there isn’t enough space to write all of them. We will tell you, though, that 30% of the Hamer children are born as or become Mingis.
When Emnet was 3 or 4 years old, he tripped and fell, which caused one of his front teeth to break. Therefore, he became a Mingi. So, his parents were told to kill their son. However, Emnet’s father loved him too much, so he hid him for 4 years in a bush instead. However, after 4 years, the tribe found out that Emnet was still alive, so they ordered his father to kill him. He still wouldn’t do it, though. Because Emnet’s father was rich, no one really wanted to threaten his life for not being obedient to the cultural ritual. But, the pressure was still intense. In fact, it was too intense for his father to handle any longer. So, Emnet was taken to one of his father’s friend’s house for about 6 months. However, the people around this friend’s home found out that he was Mingi and wanted to kill him. During this entire time, Emnet had no idea why his life was being threatened. He went from place to place, and he always tried to go back to his tribe, but they threatened to kill him every time. And, because his father wouldn’t kill him, anyone had the right to do it.
Emnet started going to a government school, which was in town. Therefore, no one knew about him and he was safe. He was educated about harmful practices and realized that his culture was not the norm and that the superstitions that came along with it were false. But, he still loved his tribe and wanted to help them. Finally, when Emnet was 16 years old, he went back to his tribe, performed a cleansing ceremony and was rid of his “Mingi”status. After getting his high school diploma, Emnet went to teacher-training school and taught for three years. After that, he got involved in politics, which has brought him to where he is now: Chief Administrator of the Hamer Woreda.
Emnet is very interested in the work we are doing and is excited that we are wanting to help his people. He has given us suggestions as far as how we can help to change the evil practices of this tribe. He was the one that gave us the idea of offering the mothers education, because he believes that not all of them would want to leave their home towns. He has been very helpful and very encouraging to us in providing information and suggesting ideas that we hadn’t thought of before.
Posted by Kate at 9:16:00 PM