WLM Belachew Girma have sent his thanks in
advance for all who happen to be part
of tomorrow's Welcoming event.U can hear his
message on the following link.
The fascinating story of the WLM BELACHEW GIRMA
Ethiopia; the land of Indigenous laughter “Emama” Ethiopia (Mother Ethiopia);is known as the cradle of mankind. Indeed it is also the birthplace of human laughter too!!! It is known to be the pioneer of ancient civilization with its own calendar and alphabets. More than 80 ethnic groups live with diversity and harmony. It is also the only uncolonialized country in Africa after its heroes defeated the Italians in the battle of Adwa. It is blessed with natural treasures and enjoys 13 months of sunshine. For its diverse topography it embraces varieties of natural species and coffee is one among others!After many historical ups and downs in the mother land, the 12 year old journey to indigenous laughter stared in this land of pioneer blessings!
(Father- Girma Michael, farmer)
(Mother- Martha Kopano, house wife)
Childhood (5 brothers and 6 sisters) Special relationship with his Father (Responsibility given to the family by his father, Quality time, spending laughing with him were special moments…)
Education (In high school he was one of the top students ranking among the top three. He attended a 1 year Psychology course in Teachers Training Center but did not complete it. Instead he preferred to extend his education and satisfy his hunger for Knowledge through informal learning by reading books especially more of Psychological books. Later on the nature of animals interested him more so he started to study about them, especially dogs. Using the Pavlov’s theory of “Learning by Induction” he started to train a dog named “Brady”for 1 year.
Led by his master, “Brady” was able to perform as a striker or defender in a football game. What was astonishing here is how Brady reacted to the rule of football. He reacted to caution given by the referee i.e. He became polite and bowed when shown yellow and calmly left the pitch when shown red. Reading books enabled WLM Belachew to be capable in organizing events and occasionally speaking about them.
He was also very good at acrobat. He had a chance to perform with acrobats who came from Russia (the then Soviet Union). Creativity was part of his nature. For example, wearing a helmet on his head, he was able to spin a person lying flat on the helmet.
Among the various performances he did one played a major role in his life. The show was performed with his dog Brady” for a crowd of 26,000 air born soldiers in “Blate, Ethiopia”. The show rewarded him Eth BR. 3000.
WLM has also worked as an expert in the Southern Ethiopia Nations, Nationalities and Peoples cultural office where he organized about 260 performers from 40 ethnic groups to perform traditional and cultural show.
Later, with the price money he won he started his own first business. He started making money. More money. This led him to getting more friends and winning acceptance. He became famous among the neighborhood. This fame and recognition made him feel unique and special. So he started to compose his own music in his own small recoding music shop. He was the first person to record the song “Seleme seleme..” which is now a famous southern musical theme for the people of “Hadiya/Kembata”. He became so obsessed with music and dance.
Belachew started to travel widely and started to have fun with his friends in various places around the southern part of Ethiopia. During this time, he came across foreign tourists who came from various parts of the world. He started to hang out with them and even developed friendship with some of them. This was followed by more fiesta and party, which in return led to heavy consumption of alcohol.
After this, everything came out of control. He became so addicted to alcohol, smoking and music that he started consuming more and more in order to satisfy his desire. Not only that he also started to chew “Chat” (a chewable local addictive plant leaf). He even started to flirt with three different women in one day since he could not satisfy his sexual lust. At one time, he had 8 mistresses.
Now Belachew became no more in control of himself or his life. He simply thought of satisfying his addictions. At one time he even tried to sell “Mercury” (an illegal chemical element banned by the government to be sold), to get money for buying more alcohol, cigarette and “Chat”. Belachew’s purpose of existence became fulfilling his addiction for alcohol, cigarette, “Chat” and sex.
Disaster strikes.Soon flood destroyed his business and on another incident fire accident took his home.
.Now he was devastated and life became meaningless to him. So more drinking, smoking, chewing of “Chat” and sleeping with various women became daily routines. This brought shocking news to Belachew. He found out that he is HIV positive. Most people in this condition are more likely to be affected with depression and despair. A study shows that 2 people die every 7 seconds due to depression and 110 million die a year. The same was also true in Belachew’s case. On one hand, he was trying to fulfill the never ending desire for alcohol, “Chat” and sex addiction. On the other hand, his worsened illness was dragging him to his final destination- Death. So he decided to end all these by taking his own life
. He thought of abandoning his addictions and then commit suicide. Various harmful thoughts came to his mind. So he tried to shoot at a bottle of beer and then blow up his brain with his own pistol.
According to Belachew, all these were not some random happenings of nature, but a punishment here on earth by GOD for all his bad deeds. Indeed, they were. However, his habit of reading of books saved him. Even if he was immersed deep in addiction, hopelessness and cynicism, reading books were part of his daily practice. He was very selective in the types of books to read. Most of the books he used to read were more of Psychological and of course the Bible which helped him to have positive feeling about himself and towards his surroundings.
This made him decide to sell his business in Addis (a hotel named “Tsigereda”) and start to teach about the harms of HIV/AIDS. He started organizing awareness creation activities in different places by exposing himself to the society. His motto was “Teach before you die and let others live”
. Now everybody started to point their finger at him since at that time HIV/AIDS was considered as a curse.
One day he decided to go to a Catholic Church sit on his knees, put his hands up and pray before GOD for revealing himself and giving him a purpose to live. GOD replied by making his blood free from HIV and most of all making him reborn Christian through Jesus.
Now, everything started to change after he got the truth from the bible. Job 5:22 showed him the way and Mathew 1:52 was showed him the true source of satisfaction.
A changed man: Addiction, desperation and pessimism became an old history. Now joy of salvation, good ideas and more creativity became the new mind set of Belachew. He understood that satisfaction does not come from addiction. Instead he realized that the true source of satisfaction comes from the word of GOD (the source of everything! Source of fulfillment!).
The new beginning:
After this everything started to come up in place. His mind started to fill with new positive ideas. As the law of attraction works positive state of mind attracts all positive ideas, motives and actions. (Proverbs 17:22 and 15:13)
Loud up the importance of laughter:
An idea about advocating the importance of laughter came to his mind. According to Belachew laughter has an important place in people’s life, so he started to read, investigate and conduct more research about laughter. After a long study, he decided to laugh for a long time and achieve a world record for longest laughter. He got a platform in Impossibility Challenger, in 2002. He did it there! He is now the record holder for laughing for 3 hours and 6 minutes nonstop (2010).
Achievements: WLM Belachew, in addition to having a world record for laughing nonstop, he had other records. Here are some of them:
- Held 246 kgs weight in stones on his thighs while the stones were smashed by hammer. 2002
- Hopping run carrying 10 kgs of flowers for 110 meters.
Acrobat jump (hand stand skip) (body weight 80 kg) on a ceramic tile, only the index fingers touched the ground. Stranberg, Germany, Nov9, 2003.
After that he started to work on various projects and organize events. He was successful and fruitful.
- Among these the following are the major achievements:
- Started the first and only laughter school in Africa. The training center graduated various professional laughter therapists in two rounds
- Organized 13 National Laughter day events in Ethiopia.
He has also various personal achievements later on and continued to Personal feeling:
He loves GOD the most. Human kind created in the image of God is the most important for him.Family plays a significant role in his life. He is now married and is a father of 5 sons and living a happy, respectful and joyful life in Addis.
Depression has become one of the most threatening diseases of people causing suffrage while alive. It is a serious cause for family disintegration and devastating social crisis and finally taking the lives of millions. Study shows that 2 people die every 7 seconds due to depression all over the world now. So WLM Belachew believes that this can be minimized by introducing indigenous laughter therapy.
To accomplish this, he envisages establishing a Laughing Village Center where scholars can come and conduct research to assist the fight against depression.