Everything about Abebe Bikila’s gold medal is a cause of pride for Ethiopians. He was the first black man from Africa to win a gold medal. He did it in the only country that ever controlled Ethiopia. He did it all barefoot.
By Kent Bush (The Shawnee New-Star) |
When my wife and I adopted a little boy from Ethiopia, one of the things that was important to us was to make sure he fit in well here without losing that part of himself that will always be Ethiopian.
We have had to overcome some challenges to achieve that goal. First, Dawit didn’t have a lot of culture of his own. He was three when his mother relinquished him. He had limited language – like most toddlers. He was taken from an orphanage in his home area in Tigray – northeast Ethiopia, near Eritrea – and moved to a foster care center in the capitol of Addis Ababa. Everything was different.
When we adopted Dawit he could barely express his desire to eat and use the restroom and he could count to eight in English. It was fun at the guesthouse where we took custody of him to watch him count his way down the stairs. There were 10 stairs from the top floor to the parking lot. He would count and say, ”…six, seven, eight…” and then he would leap to the bottom since he had run out of numbers.
He had no language, so keeping a language wasn’t a key cultural component of his life. He had no cultural experiences he would ever remember that weren’t tied to his time as an orphan.
It was hard to identify any way to maintain his cultural identity. But there is one way, and it is a good one – food.
It is always fun to head over to the Queen of Sheba restaurant in Oklahoma City. The owners are great people and the food is always amazing.
Continue reading this story at The Shawnee New-Star
- Abebe Bikila’s Family Sues Vibram Over Use of Name
- Remembering the Legend on His Birthday: Abebe Bikila