Having partnered with World Vision on the AIDS Caregiver kits,
they asked if we'd like to visit one of their Area Development Projects
(ADP) in Ethiopia, so that's what was on the agenda for today. Their
local people picked us up at our hotel in Nazret and drove to the
Adama ADP compound south of the city. We were pleased to share some
singing and prayer with their team before heading out to the villages.
Our first stop was Awash Melkasa, where World Vision has established
a Community Care Coalition made up of residents of the village,
elected by the people who live there. We met four of these leaders,
as well as three home visitors (who check on those receiving assistance)
and several of the children enrolled in World Vision's sponsorship
program. Our team split into three groups to talk with members of
the CCC, one of the children, a home visitor, and a translator.
We were able to learn the stories behind the faces. One girl, named
Atanesh, is 17 years old and is in Grade 7 in the village school.
She lost both of her parents to AIDS. On her deathbed, her mother
begged a neighbor to care for Atanesh -- which he is now doing.
Atanesh told us that, although she is now in the care of others,
she wants to find a way to help people in need. She would like to
be a doctor.
As we were leaving Awash, we met an older woman and a young boy
(7 years old) that she had found on the street, covered in sores.
She took him into her home. She has been caring for him for over
two years, trying all that time to find help for his health problems.
Just a few months ago he was diagnosed as HIV+ and has finally been
given antiretrovial drugs, so he is slowly improving.
The second village, Adulala, was very remote. A heavy rain overnight
left the road deep in mud -- and one of the Land Rovers got temporarily
stuck! Passing small herds of goats and Brahma cattle, we saw a
farmer using a team of oxen and a wooden plow on the muddy fields.
The village had some of the traditional round huts built of adobe
bricks and roofed with grass thatch. Here we spoke to a second CCC
and learned about what is called "harmful traditional practices,"
such as abduction and forced marriage of young girls; one we met
was only 12. She was too shy to share her story but we were given
a brief version by the translator. The village council has intervened
in several cases of this type, preventing the marriage by force
and standing up for the inheritance rights of orphans. In one case,
a young brother of one girl defied their parents and grandparents
to keep his sister safe. The two children are being hidden in a
safe house in Nazret until the case is resolved in court.
Another young man of 19 had to drop out of school at 5th grade
to support his family (his mother and five children). He said he
would like to learn a skill so his mother could have a better life,
but "it is in God's hands."
We should all have such faith.
Two years ago, the woman rescued this HIV+ boy from
the streets and has cared for him since. In the background are Terifa
(left) and Einalem from World Vision's Adama ADP.