The Legacy of a Father

By Selam Terefe  |  October 28, 2022

IntSam Director in Ethiopia

Tegoda is a proud father.  His son, Eyob, is an IntSam scholar who is always top of his class, well behaved-and confident, and gives his dad the proudest moments in life.  Tegoda came to our center last week with Eyob’s term results, which were first in his class!  Tegoda couldn’t help but gush about his son as his face beamed, “Have you seen his math results?! He got a 100 out of a 100—not a single point off the mark!  His English scores are also the same!  Have you seen it?!” 

Tegoda’s joy was infectious, and it brought me back to my childhood and to memories of my own dad, who passed away unexpectedly 80 days ago.

As children, my sisters and I were very focused on our studies.  We always worked so hard to ace our exams.  I joined a Catholic school at the age of six where the kids already knew each other.  I felt like an outsider.  I wanted to make my mark by getting good grades.  By the end of the first semester, I earned first in my class, and that was when everybody in school knew who I was.  And just like Eyob’s father, it was always my dad who was proud of my accomplishments. 

My dad was an administrator who worked for one of the biggest firms in Ethiopia, but that never stopped him from being the first to show up at my school gate every time our national test results got posted on the notice board.  He would stand for hours, chatting with the security guards, until the school door opened.  Then he would come running home to tell me my results.

Last week, as we were going through our dad’s books, we found a note inside of one that he wrote to us, stating, “children are a message we deliver to a future we may never see.”  He encouraged us to love our family well as our legacy for the following generations.  This is what Babi did.  He left us a legacy of love, of sacrifice and of strength that will remain with us till our last days.  And maybe, if we are blessed to live as our father lived, our children will say the same about us. 

Selam Terefe

Country Director (Ethiopia)

Selam has a Masters Degree in Sociology from King’s College and has also studied law, management, and women’s rights. Her research led her to work on women’s issues in East Africa with the United Nations. Her passion is reading, so she developed a book club for scholars to discuss books written by Ethiopian authors.

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