VOA Interview with Betty Gronneberg

Voice of America (VOA) just published up a link to their recent interview of ER Board Member Betty Gronneberg on the subject of her new book, "The Alphabet Takes A Journey."

Betty's interview has received a great deal of attention, and was even promoted during a broadcast of The Helen Show on EBS News!

*Note: this interview was conducted in two-parts and is entirely in Amharic.

Visit the link below to listen to the audio:
Voice of America - Amharic News: Interview with Betty Gronneberg

Follow this link to view or purchase a copy of Betty's book:
Betty Gronneberg - The Alphabet Takes A Journey

Here are a few selected quotes from the interview:

“Here is the reason why I was encouraged to write the book.  I raised my kids here in US.  And we like reading books.  We read books to our kids, we go to libraries and read them books from other cultures like China, West Africa - about the people and their culture. But we couldn’t find a book talking about the Ethiopian way of life.

“So, instead, I used to tell them stories about my childhood experiences.  They loved it.  Stories like the ones I learned in Kes school, or ones about going to suk (small shops) to buy something for our parents. The Suk are stores with only one window.  Here [in the US] shopping centers are very big.  We tell our kids stories about how the Suk owner knows people and neighbors, how he makes his calculations -- everything was amazing!  How he always knew what he had in stock -- whether he has something or not. All these things here are computerized.  So it made my kids happy to learn that we lived these kinds of lives.”

“If the stories make my kids this happy, why not write a book for other kids with Ethiopian origins but who live here and in different parts of the world?  If I write these kinds of stories and make them available in libraries, then kids could enjoy and use them.  Furthermore, kids of Ethiopian origin could be proud - the book is filled by pictures showing the beauty of Ethiopia.”

“I wanted them to know the Ethiopian culture and people.  I was brought up according to the lifestyle of my home and origins.  I am happy because I was born in Ethiopia.  Even though they don’t have buildings and are not extremely rich, the people of my home are kind and graceful.

“When you stumble on the road, they say ‘Ayzosh, Enen’.   They are always supportive, always next to you.  When you are in trouble, the community is there to help out with love and support. And my family have cultivated within me belief and love, and strengthened me with hope.

“I am happy. That’s the spirit that I wanted to share with adults and kids. And that’s the feedback I get from people. Ethiopians are happy and thankful that I have expressed our culture and ways of life so that our kids could see that.  People from other cultures are also grateful that we let them experience our culture too.  When you write about your city, others also travel with you. People have experienced the outcome that was intended.”