The purpose of our current trip is to figure out where, with whom and to what capacity we will be working/volunteering in Ethiopia. Beyond kids in the orphanages, we were unaware of the overwhelming needs here. Even if we knew the needs, hence the resulting orphan crisis, we didn’t know about the organizations and efforts already established here that we could have been working with. It wasn’t until about 4 months into our journey of considering this move that, with basically the discovery of one contact, God threw about a dozen others in our direction all at once.
Coming here and personally visiting has been overwhelming as well. Eye-opening might be a better word to describe our first few days here. It’s kind of funny in a sad way that it took 3 trips to the same under-developed country for God to open my eyes to the complete desperation here.
Let me just list a few of the ones we’re looking into this week. Here are websites (links not working in blogger right now) to each non-profit organization or ministry that is working in an attempt to relieve the multitude of crises here.
www.project61.org Targets kids who live in a trash dump. (No joke. They live there, most of them. Others spend their days there foraging for food or trash to sell in order to support their families.) Raises money for sponsorship to send currently 300 students to boarding school, giving them a home, food, education etc.
ethiopianorphanrelief.org/AHOPE_for_Children.php Looks after the medical care, education, family situation etc. of about 200 orphans living with HIV. (There is such a stigma in society regarding these kids. They are literally the outcasted.)
www.theforsakenchildren.org Pulls “street children,” some who are classified as orphans and some who truly have no one, into a care center in order to give them a normal life and rehabilitate them into society through education, mentoring, counseling, proper nutrition etc. (For many of these, living on the streets is better than living at home. By far better. I can’t imagine a street in the states that would compare to the filth they are living in on the streets of Ethiopia.)
www.missionethiopia.com Empowers women by teaching them a skill and employing them so that they can care for their children keeping their families intact. (By keeping them intact, I mean keeping children from being kicked to the streets, the trash dump or an orphanage. Teaching anyone, but especially women who are seen as a lower class here, a sustainable skill does something powerful for humanity.)
www.embracinghopeethiopia.com Provides day care, including breakfast, lunch and early childhood education, to children on the verge of becoming orphans so that the mothers have a safe place for their kids while they find/go to work. (These women are likely the breadwinners of their families, and kids are an obstacle to survival. Sad.)
www.acaciavillage.org Run by Christian World Adoption and serves as a transition home for children who are being adopted. The facility is working to expand its capabilities to provide medical care to the impoverished and a mission site. (This is the adoption agency we went through. Loved them! We actually chose CWA for its establishment and investment in the country.)
Most of the above websites have great videos that will give you a taste of the situations here. We highly recommend them.
Which one will we work with? That is still up in the air, but we do have a little more direction. No amount of videos, websites, books, emails to people living here would replace the experience of digging in ourselves.
Perhaps highest on “The Important Stuff” list is my lack of hygiene thus far. Well, tonight was the night! And in the dark too thanks to a convenient power outage. We moved to the room next door since the hot water issue seemed to be unresolvable. Although the shower was fantastic, I agreed to the move because the window was smaller and facing a different direction, therefore, less of that blazing sun. With the previous night’s wet wipe and accidental soap bath, I didn’t even really need one.