4 Stars Out Of 5
Intriguing Story- I wanted More!
June 21, 2012
I recently read the story of Levi Benkert and his family who, faced with the collapse of their finances and his business, did something just a tad bit radical. Faced with pressures too real in this economic downturn, and maybe feeling desperate and a little panic, they sold most of their possessions and packed up their kids and moved to Ethiopia to take charge of a new orphange in a village called Jinka. What was supposed to be a brief visit to help, and really to get a break for Levi and some perspective, turned their lives upside down and rightside up.
They faced some major hardships, obviously.What looked so dismal at first ended up being a blessing to their spiritual lives.
I would have liked to have read more details in this book. It lacked discriptions and richness, which is unfortunate because it's an amazing story. I'm not saying it wasn't a good read, because it was, it just really left me hungry to be able to visualize more as I read- expressions, places, and of course just to know what the people looked like. Levi is so humble, and the book is written from his humility and it seems to me that for that reason the story lacked color.He was painfully honest about his failings, and while I admired that, I still would have liked the book to focus more on the daily life in Ethiopia and to see the people in the story developed more. I'm glad I found his facebook page because I was finally able to see what he and his family looked like. I don't know why that's so important to me, but it is.
It turns out this little family was majorly instrumental in the country of Ethiopia finally facing the issue of child murders- an ancient practice of what is essentially child sacrifice to appease evil spirits. They had (have?) rules regarding children- if they are conceived without the proper notification to the elders of their tribes, out-of-wedlock, or if their teeth top teeth come in before their bottom teeth, they are considered "mingi", cursed. The tribes believed they would all be cursed if they didn't kill these children. Infants, after being born, would be left out in the elements with a handful of red, dry, dusty earth poured into their mouths to suffocate. Practices also included drowning. Many, many infants and children, although loved, were murdered.The mother in me was freaking out! I SO wanted to be there and grab up babies to take home.
Levi and his wife and a few others brought awareness to the government of the practice that was mainly going on in the remote regions south- it turns out many in the cities had no clue what was going on in rural villages.
I'm not going to say more because there story is worth you reading for yourself. It's inspiring to be reminded that one person, or a group of people, really can make a difference. This family, seemingly on accident, made a huge difference in the lives of rural Ethiopians. It's a modern day missionary tale that will effect you, maybe it lacks more meat, but it's good! I'm not complaining, just saying I wouldn't mind of this book were a little thicker, with more descriptions and more depth. I read it quickly, feeling like I'd like to have spent more time with this characters- real people, but they went by too quickly.
*This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.