Gursha is an Ethiopian practice of feeding another by placing, with one's hand, a bite of sumptuous, food-wrapped in the Ethiopian bread called injera-gently in the mouth of another. It is considered an intimate act of friendship in Ethiopia. Though it is a bit of a culture shock for Westerners accustomed to eating from separate plates with sterile forks and spoons. The ceremony defies every social norm in the West around personal space, eating with one's hands, and much more, placing food in the mouth of another--touching both the food and the one being served.
Gursha! The bigger the bite, the larger the love
As we celebrate the Day of International Friendship, Gursha has a significant meaning for staff of ChildHope and CHADET. ChildHope and CHADET an Ethiopian charity are supporting 16,503 girls facing problems of early marriage, risky migration, street life and domestic work in remote areas of South Gondar, South Wollo and Arsi in Ethiopia. We have enrolled the girls into 44 schools and trained 600 teachers to use active learning and girl-friendly methods to support these marginalised girls to thrive in school. They give girls additional tutorials in literacy and numeracy. The intention is to enable girls to excel in numeracy and literacy, inspiring their parents to increase the value attached to girls' education. Our project enables the girls to actively participate in school life through joining girls' clubs where they learn essential life skills such as decision-making, negotiation skills and assertiveness. We also support families of girls to develop more secure livelihoods through group savings and income generating activities.
To deliver all this work, we have a vibrant project team of around 180 staff and 468 volunteers. Inevitably during our daily work, we have to eat. Our Ethiopian colleagues have sometimes shared Gursha with ChildHope staff while we're in the field.. We have become good friends in the process of delivering the GEC project activities. Our Ethiopian colleagues have often highlighted to us that the size of the piece of food rolled and fed by hand indicates how much love or care one has for the person being fed. So this act, however difficult it may sometimes be to swallow, has great significance to our team.