A one man publishing enterprise



Father Fikre Mikael joined his monastery at the age of 13.  After 10 years he was awarded a scholarship to study at Heidelberg where he stayed for 14 years supporting himself by washing dishes at a local restaurant.  He then returned to Addis Ababa.  He told me, ‘I went to the monasteries and I saw monks struggling to read with no spectacles and not enough books, so I came to Addis and a relative found me a small flat’.  Others donated a photocopying machine.  Now his life’s work is to produce books.  Monks bring him a single handwritten manuscript kept in the monastery.  He then types it out on a laptop and prints in large size font.  Then he makes copies and binds them into books with wood and cloth binding.  Since June this year he has printed 800 books and given them free of charge to monasteries.  Sometimes he works alone and sometimes volunteers help him.  He showed me the one he’s working on now – 45 copies of an 800 page life of John the Baptist – taken from a handwritten manuscript.  ‘This is my life – my books are my children’.  Single-handedly he’s making a huge amount of spiritual literature available – and saving the eyesight of many monks.

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