Q: What was life like when you were growing up?
Mother, Tarike: I grew up in Oromia Sasiga District. My parents worked as day labourers on a state farm. All of my siblings (one brother and three sisters) are now farmers. As a young girl, I used to make a little money doing trade in my community. I did not go to school.
Father, Waktola: My family lived in the West Wolego Ghinibi area of Oromia, and my parents were farmers, but we also had cattle. As a young boy, I used to look after the cattle when I was not in school. I studied all the way up to Grade 10. Tarike’s family practiced Orthodox Christianity, while my family was Seventh Day Adventist Christians.
Tarike: Both of us grew up going to church every Sunday, though.
Q: What does your faith mean to you?
Tarike: My faith is the cornerstone and foundation for my growth, as well as for my family. Everything in my life is built on this foundation.
Waktola: I agree; my faith is so important to me. It is my life discipline, my salvation, my redemption.
Q: How did you two meet?
Waktola: When I was a young man, I worked as a day labourer on a state farm - that’s where we first met.
Tarike: We fell in love at a young age; when we grew up a bit, we got married.
Q: Do you both still farm?
Tarike: I still work as a day labourer, but now I also take care of our home. I fetch water, collect firewood - things like that.
Waktola: Our livelihood is based on agricultural income. I work on my own farm and also herd cattle. In addition, I participate with FH development activities. I contribute my ideas when a project is being planned, and volunteer my labour to help implement it. Our son became a Sponsored Child through FH in 2010.
Tarike: I also help with FH community development works by contributing locally available materials during construction projects, and donating my time and labour. FH actually sponsored my little brother in 2009. They also constructed water wells in 2010 where I now collect water.
Q: Do you have plans for the future?
Waktola: Yes! I have a plan to improve my farm both in production and productivity using different technologies that I have learned from FH. This will improve my family’s income.
Tarike: And I plan to start a small business in the local market.
Q: What does your community do for enjoyment?
Tarike: We often visit together while making and drinking coffee.
Waktola: Neighbours get together on holidays to enjoy food and play together.
Q: What do you children do during the day while your parents are working?
Son, Yohannis: I go to school early every morning. When I come home, I help my mother fetch water and collect firewood. I like playing soccer and volleyball with the other students, but soccer is my favourite game.
Daughter, Ruth: I go to school, too. I like getting to see my friends there, and playing volleyball during recess. I also like reading at home, and I help fetch water.
Q: Is there anything you wish was different about your school?
Ruth: I just want to see my school be the best school in the district.
Yohannis: I wish that girls got more support at school. As mothers and sisters, they will be the most responsible citizens of the future.
Q: As parents, what do you hope for your children’s futures?
Waktola & Tarike: We hope they will succeed in their studies and become important people by being doctors or teachers - whatever will make them successful.
Q: And what do you kids want to do when you grow up?
Yohannis: I want to work as a teacher, or in a government job.
Ruth: I want to be a teacher!
Q: What brings you each personal joy?
Tarike: Going to church and taking care of my children gives me joy.
Waktola: Spending time with my family brings me joy.
Q: What advice would you give men and women in Canada about how to be good mothers and fathers?
Tarike: I love being a mother in Sasiga because I get to care not only for my own children, but also look out for my neighbours’ kids. I would advise mothers in Canada to take more time with their children, as much as possible. Women are key people for the development of the family and the nation.
Waktola: It’s a blessing to be able to have children and to be able to send them to school. In Ethiopia, fathers are mostly the bread winners of the family. I'm also responsible to be a role model in life, word, deed. I enjoy getting to serve my children and my wife this way. I encourage fathers in Canada to meet their family’s needs as Christ shoulders the world.