Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA - Sister

Sister Senkemesh

Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle​ in December 2017

Ethiopia is a very religious country, where religion plays an important role in everyday life. Figures say that the country is made of 43.5% Christian orthodox, 34% Muslims, and 19% Protestants. Less than 1% of the population is Christian Catholic, like Sister Senkemesh. So in a way she is not very representative of the country. But who cares, her answers were simply deep and touching.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a teacher.


With whom would you like to have a coffee?

It would be my mother. I miss her a lot.


If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?

How to think about God, about silence. To be open to God and others.


To you, what’s the main characteristic that all human beings have in common?

Attraction to God and spirituality in general. For a very long time, people have left signs proving that it has always been a very strong concern, in all countries. This very deep attraction has not been promoted though, and that is unfortunate.


To you, who is the happiest person on earth?

Those who live their lives based on strong principles, and who do things that are beyond them. Open people are happy. They see God everywhere, in people whether they are rich, poor, broken or happy. They always find something beautiful, and that's what makes them happy.

If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?

A lot of things. I would reform all the laws that separate people. If I can free the world's most powerful country from all divisions, I think the world will listen to me.


What do you need?

Understanding: to understand and be understood.


What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?

I would do a lot of things, especially for the poorest people. I would not distribute that money. I would make the poor think about what they lack to change the situation around them, to achieve their ideals. I would help them to break what block them to go further.


What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?

Hate is very dangerous. We are on the verge of a very great danger, and the media is fueling all this. It hurts me a lot.


Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?

It's hard to compare. I think it's easier: we have a lot of things at our disposal, and the ability to influence things, when our parents didn't have it.  


If you had to create a company, what would it be?

A company in which people would feel important, which would include people with disabilities and very intelligent people.


What are you afraid of?

A disaster for the world. I believe that the world has made a lot of progress, but progress that could lead to its destruction.


What is your dream?

See all the kids happy.


Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?

A country that has got rid of poverty, where there is peace and harmony, where people praise God freely, and accept each other.


What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?

It warms my heart to see the poor, who are financially weak, making very beautiful gestures every day. For example, a poor man that I know often goes to visit an old deaf lady to tell her stories. He gives her what he has, his time. His mere presence makes her happy.


What does religion mean to you?

It is a path that leads to God. There are many ways, and religion can facilitate this path. The essential thing is to be in contact with God.


Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?

Being a deeply Christian culture influenced by the afterlife. Living in a country deeply penetrated by the idea of God. All our heritage is affected by this: arts, people’s behavior... This should be further developed to restore harmony.


If you could do any job regardless of money, what would it be ?

Not a profession. I would simply like to be contemplative.


If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?

It is very rich, diversified. Come and discover it.

And you, which question would you like to ask the world ? 

How can we stop wasting so much? Progress is out of control

So overall, how can we make progress without creating new problems?