Arriving in Ethiopia was such a huge contrast to Sydney. But despite the sheer physical differences between Australia and Ethiopia, there was one thing I found that was just so similar - the people.
You'd expect that the country and lifestyle differences between Australia and Ethiopia would cause the people in each country to be completely different from one another. But despite the obvious differences, like language, physicality and customs, something that truly astounded me was the incredible number of similarities between us!
We visited a girl called Burtukan (you’ve probably seen the 40 Hour Famine video about her) and her family welcomed us into their home. We heard all about Burtukan’s life - her chores, her mother, her siblings, her home. Learning how different her life is to people’s here was really quite confronting. But then we were taken outside, and Burtukan began playing with us.
While we were playing this game, which involved Burtukan "making coffee" and serving pretend food and drink to her friends, we saw a different side to her.
When I was younger I remember playing games similar to what she was doing! We’d set up a family and a kitchen and go about serving everyone make-believe food.
So now, rather than being a child living in poverty, I started to see Burtukan as simply a child. Here she was, putting all the worries of her life out of her mind and just becoming fully immersed in this game, where she had enough food and drink for all of her friends. Her smile was absolutely incredible! She found so much joy in playing her game that if anyone saw her out of context, they'd have no idea of the circumstances she was living in.
But it wasn’t just children like Burtukan who were so similar to Australians here, it was the same for so many people we met. One of the World Vision staff members who were looking after us there reminded me of my uncle so much! He had the same sense of humour and always loved making jokes and just having a good chat.
So it became very clear that we all have much more in common than some people think. Our shared humanity is what binds us. Everyone from the children to the adults I met, despite how different their lives were, had the same hopes and dreams for a better life.
Help fuel those hopes and dreams. Donate to the 40 Hour Famine today!