Wonji is a sugar plantation area with seasonal laborers and therefore an AIDS problem. MPPC is helping more than 100 children who are living with grandparents, relatives, or sick parents. Because of the poverty of the families, they would not be able to afford school fees (it's not free) or clothes. Besides the orphan support, we are helping the evangelical churches run an after-school tutoring program for these children. When we arrived, we were treated like royalty. The children sang for us and prayed the Lord's Prayer in alternating Amharic and English. The grandparents gathered and prayed blessings on us and our children and grandchildren. They so appreciate our help in raising their grandchildren after their own adult children have died of AIDS.

Wonji Hospital is run by the sugar company and only treats sugar workers and their families (about half the population). MPPC bought medications that, while not anti-retrovirals, significantly extend the lives of AIDS patients who are not eligible for ARV's because they don't work for the company. The doctors volunteer their services treating them because of heir strong relationship with the evangelical churches and because now they have medicines to give.

In the Wonji area, we are also helping HIV+ women who want to start small businesses. The Ethiopia Initiative's funds will match their own savings over time, then will be released when the women have received training and have a business plan. We talked to home-care givers who visit orphans and AIDS patients. They were inspiring. When we asked her why she did this work, one woman said that it's clear from the Bible that we have a responsibility to care for the sick and widows. She does the work with grace and joy.

It was a happy day. AIDS is such a terrible and large problem that it helps to see that we can make a difference in this area.

In Wonji Shoa, we visited a school started by Solomon, a man from the village, to give these poor children the opportunity to 'catch up' to those with more advantages.