With all the political upheaval that was going on at the time in Zimbabwe my husband decided we should leave the country for a while. He got a job to teach at Sanford International school in Addiss Ababa in Ethiopia. At first I was very reluctant to leave my family friends and the only country I had known and was my comfort zone. I felt very much in control of everything about my life. In the end my marriage came first than my career so I resigned from my job of twenty nine years and followed to join my husband who had already living in Ethiopia for three months.
Living my job was the most difficult thing I had to do as my job had become my life. As a wife of an expatriate the law of the land (Ethiopia) did not allow me to work as that would have deprived a national of a most needed job. It took me a while to settle in Ethiopia simply because it was a different culture and a different lifestyle. I did settle in eventually and discovered that Ethiopia is a very beautiful country with very friendly people who in my own experience are very keen to make a foreigner very welcome. Every time I explored life in Addiss people were very helpful and very soon I developed very good relationships.
As I was not working I had the opportunity to do voluntary work among the Sudanese refugees who had settled in Ethiopia fleeing the strife in their own country, I teamed up with the other expatriate wives.
I also got involved with the local church of England worship, the vicar who together with his wife became friends of us both got me doing things in the life of the church. I led worship and facilitated in the midweek bible studies which filled the gap of what I was missing from my old job.
I was at home 24/7 for the first time in our marriage my husband and I saw each every minute and hour of the day that I did not notice that we were drifting apart. I mentioned in the last blog that the one thing which was beautiful about my marriage was the friendship which existed between my husband and I. I noticed that my husband was becoming very with drawn and very secretive, when I inquired what was wrong I was simply told it was pressure of work. I did not want to read too much in this sudden withdrawal and carried on as good wife making sure the house was well kept and that everyone was well looked after.
There were a lot of calls which came from women I did not know, faithfully I took the messages which I passed on to my husband to call back the one thing my husband was good at was relating all people. I was a bit naive that I did not see that something was not right.There was one call which came one night at about 11:00pm local time and we were in bed I answered the call and passed it innocently because I had not suspected any unfaithfulness going on. This put him in a very awkward position because of the proximity between him and I. In my sleep I just commented on the fact that it was an odd time to be calling and was told it was the airline confirming the bookings. That telephone call decided the fate of my marriage. The following photograph summarize what had happened to my life
Two days after the call one evening as we were having supper my husband from the blue told me he no longer loved me, my reaction was to tell myself that he was winding me up and I just laughed it off. He then took off the wedding band which I had given him when we got married saying that he no longer wanted me to share his life with me. I was dumbfounded as I realized that he meant every word he was saying I continued clearing the table and proceeded to do the washing up not knowing how to react to the news I had just been told. It was the longest night of my life, here I was in a foreign country with no-one to run to talk to.
The following morning I then started realizing that he had removed all the wedding photographs and any photographs we were together from were they were displayed which I had not noticed until that day. It then dawned on me that he had been working on this for a long time, he had told the home office to withdraw my residency and I had two weeks to leave the country. That was the most challenging two weeks I ever experienced now that he had told me that he no longer loved me the dynamics in the relationship changed dramatically, he would not eat anything I prepared. The hardest thing was that I had to pretend all was well in front of the son who was still leaving with us. My whole world had crumbled in front of me and there was nothing I could do about it.
I finally managed to talk to my sister and two of my friends, this was the first time I broke down and cried my heart out. Those three phone calls gave me a space to off load all my emotions. In the two weeks as I was packing to leave I resolved that I was not going to allow what had happened to me define who I was going to be, I was going to work through it even if at that time I had no clue as to what I was going to do.
I spent a lot of time in prayer seeking God’s face and pouring my heart out to him about what had happened to my life. While my heart was broken I was not resentful I began weighing out my options and looking back on the eight years of marriage and looking for the lessons I would learn from the experience.