Have you ever felt the need to stop hearing and watching about COVID-19 on the media? I felt on numerous occasions that one really needs a break from all of this. This was particularly true during the holiday week of the Ethiopian Easter. Easter is one the highly celebrated holiday among Christian Ethiopians. Already a month before, you would hear about the celebration preparations all over the media. All the advertisements, searches for sponsorships, and holiday music will remind you of this great holiday. Easter has been quite different this year. I personally almost forgot it was nearly Easter until only a couple of days were left for the celebrations. And the holiday itself was like no other this year. Things have been much quiet and deprived of holiday spirits.
So, coming back to my point, I say we sometimes need a break from COVID-19. We need the reminders once in a while of course, so that people do not get distracted and fail from taking the necessary precautions. But the brain can only take so much. For some of us who are staying home and have plenty of time to stay glued to the media, social or otherwise, hearing about COVID-19 everywhere can be a bit depressing, I have to say. So that’s why I will take a break from the COVID-19 and talk about a book I have recently been reading.
Many Ethiopians I am sure have heard about this book. It is entitled ‘Ye Chin Kusel’ and is the story of a girl who grew up in an adoption center called ‘Ye Hetsanat Amba’, a center built by the Derg during its time in power. It has been quite a while since this book has been published. I actually thought I have read it, until I realized I actually did not. I think people who would like to have at least some understanding of the psychology of children who are adopted and about that of street children in general should definitely read this book. It is quite easy to blame it all on children when these are provided with money and yet spent it on drugs. In the story, the girl does not know who her real parents are and have been told that her adoptive parents aren’t her real parent later in life. On top of that, these adoptive parents did not want to have anything to do with her after they broke her the news. This created confusion and feelings of being unwanted by both adoptive and birth parents. Not knowing where she came from and this feeling of being rejected could not be compensated by school opportunities and care the adoption center provided her with. This made her decide to opt for street life. Anyone looking from the outside would think that she is unthankful for the schooling opportunity she was provided, but only few would be able to understand the deep psychological effect that being unwanted has had on her. But who would care and ask about her state of mind?
I heard that there are many street children who do not wish to be part of an adoption center and would opt for street life. Does that maybe have to do with the fact these adoption centers provide mainly food, shelter and schooling with minimum to no regard to their psychological well-being? The Addis Ababa City Administration is doing a lot of work to support street children in the capital. I say that it should also consider carefully the need to provide a well-designed psychological support to keep these children from returning to street life.