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I also absorbed Thompson’s respectful and sustainable model for developing Ethiopia’s potential, one I would try to apply in my own work for Ethiopia.Thompson, who was born in the United States to Canadian parents and raised in Alberta, had been a teacher and a chiropractor before World War II.I was elated to learn that Thompson had lived in Ethiopia and served under Haile Selassie for a number of years.Thompson was seconded to the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.(Photo courtesy of the author) Tadias Magazine Op-Ed By Dr. But I never expected that one of my strongest connections would be a retired Canadian, a former teacher, missionary, and politician. Robert (Bob) Thompson’s name likely recall him as a politician and former leader of the Social Credit.Fikre Germa Updated: December 15th, 2017 Ontario, Canada (TADIAS) — In 1988, I arrived in Vancouver anxious to find a way to continue my medical studies and establish myself as a physician. Few know that between 19 he helped Ethiopia rebuild, or that he later befriended and mentored young Ethiopian immigrants in British Columbia.He used to say that it is the teachers who loved Ethiopia that were very effective as opposed to those who had a lot of degrees — he was very attentive to culture and human relationship.The Emperor, a devout Christian and head of the Office of the Ethiopian Coptic Church, quickly felt a bond with Thompson and gave him freedom to tackle the tasks that Thompson felt were a priority.
The Ethiopian government agreed to supply the land for this leprosarium and Sudan Interior Mission supplied the staff and supplies.
Like many others in the Ethiopian Diaspora at the time, I found it difficult to identify confidently with the Ethiopian culture because our family had fled a country in turmoil after a Marxist coup in 1974.
From Thompson, I gained a deeper appreciation of my homeland’s contribution to language, literature, faith, and culture.
As our relationship evolved over the years he became a mentor and grandfather figure to me.
I admired him for having learned to speak and write Amharic and for his enduring love for Ethiopia and its people and potential.