When I worked in Fushë-Krujë, Albania, my crew was mostly predetermined by the inroads made there by Kurt and Stephanie Plagenhoef, missionaries there now for 18 years. Gambella, Ethiopia is much the same; my crew was predestined in both cases. One of my keys in Albania, a beautiful and very intelligent young man named Fatjon Aliu, has a counterpart in Ethiopia; Deng Buok’s nephew Quatsh.Image

Now in his early 20s and fluent in Nuar with a working knowledge of both the English and Ethiopian languages, Quatsh brings a unique combination of qualifications to help with this work.  Above simply knowing the cultural protocols, as every indigenous person must, he is also driven to learn and to excel.  Also, he has a servant heart, which I found both endearing and advantageous.  During the days we were in Gambella, Quatsh was available at all times of day and into the evening to take on any task and perform it like the pledge of a fraternity who wants to earn the love of the brothers.


On his face, Quatsh does not bear the traditional six scarring lines of the Nuar across his forehead.  Instead he has two plus-sign shaped scars carved into his cheeks at the apex of his cheekbones.  I asked what they were for and he told me that when he was 6, he was given them to show “who is the real Christian.”  Hopefully he won’t hold me to the same standard.