Ethiopia confirmed yesterday its 16th corona virus case. Many expats have already left the country and the embassies are following up with people like us who are still here. No one knows how the situation will evolve in a fragile society like this, which makes it tricky to decide whether we should stay or go. Yesterday, our neighbours told us they have decided to leave. We keep asking God, our employer and ourselves, whether we should, as well.
So far this has been the best place for us to stay. We have friends living at the same compound and there’s plenty of space for our son to run around with his buddies. This is our home, there’s a lot of sunshine, and we have been able to practice the Oromo language with our housekeeper even though the language school has been closed down for two weeks by now. Also the situation in the city has been all right, though there have been some incidents of aggression against foreigners motivated by the fact that the corona virus had been brought in by non-Ethiopians.
However, at the same time, there’s potential for a big trouble. The country is known for being fragile with several factors that might trigger sudden turmoil. While the corona virus outbreak is now drawing a lot of attention in the media, there’s also a locust invasion taking place with the potential of causing a famine. Further, the parliamentary elections are drawing closer spurring confrontation, and lots of people have been displaced and even killed due to the ethnic tensions taking place in the country.
Amidst all this, we wonder what things will look like if the corona situation worsens in the country for real. The health care capacity in the country is not great, a total lock down is possible, and the food prices are already rising. So, if we get sick, could we find treatment here? And would we still be able to exit the country later on if needed?
These are rather disturbing questions, and there are moments their weight feels too heavy. Nevertheless, we’re not supposed to deal with them alone. There’s a factor many reject and yet it changes everything. It’s the immense power of God. When we pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ, He gives us His peace regardless of the material circumstances. Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 27)
I can’t call it a day without having a moment of Bible reading and prayer with my husband. Last night, for instance, I was once again feeling burdened by the situation after hearing that a family at our compound we feel close to had decided to leave the country. However, the words of the Bible and shared prayer gave me a deep peace and an understanding that we are in the right place and that the Almighty is with us.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not supposed to be stupid. When the devil proposed Jesus to throw himself down from the highest point of the temple, Jesus answered to him: “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Luke 4:12) That’s why we keep asking God to help us understand if staying here is not a wise thing to do. God has given us intelligence and logical thinking for a reason.
I’d like to share with you a couple of passages from the book of Psalms, showing the immense trust and hope we can have in God. I hope they speak to your heart just as they do to mine.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:23-26)
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me. (Ps. 63: 7-8)
Here are also some pictures of our home. Not a bad place for a self-imposed quarantine?