World Vision Ethiopia
Monday August 17th 2009
Today was our visit with World Vision Ethiopia and what a day it was! Amazing, Miraculous, Fascinating are only a few words to describe what they are doing here. First I would like to say that they treated us in the most wonderful way that any visitor could be treated, from giving us 15 extra minutes for us to get our breakfast to spending a whole 11 hours with us. Everyone we met with and spoke to were absolutely wonderful people.
Our day started with being picked up right at the guest house we are staying at by Yemane and Wondwossen. We then traveled 123 km or about 77 miles to the Wonche ADP (Area Development Program). I must say that until you’ve been here you can’t comprehend traveling the roads. First of all if your vehicle doesn’t have a horn you better not drive. Once you are sure that the horn is in excellent condition you proceed to dodge the following; cows, goats, oxen, donkeys, dogs, horses, 3 wheeled vehicles, big trucks, small trucks, SUV’s, and let’s not forget the thousands of people including children as small as 3 years old. By the way, you can talk on the phone here at the same time. It’s Great! Really, our driver John, was great and we never felt unsafe the entire day.
When we arrived at the Wonche ADP, we were greeted by the manager Zewde. With another warm greeting he shared that this area program was serving 113,000 people, 2200 households, and contained 5000 “Sponsored Children”. 97% of the people are and speak Oromo. He continued to share all of the areas that World Vision felt need to address in the 5 year plan. With 96.8% of the people farmers, animal care, disease and production were a major concern. Needs of the community were the following, Malaria, Typhoid, Pneumonia, STD’s Maternal Death, HIV/AIDS, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), low education, child abuse, the low status of women, education of women, concern of the women carrying water very long distances, Lack of health services, child malnutrition, and low child rights and protection.
In the past 8 years they have made HUGE accomplishments like developing 8 springs, drilled 3 wells, built 3 schools, started 215 modern bee hives, started 39,000 seedlings, Started and Apple orchard, planted over 5000 kg of seeds, started a Vet clinic, provided gender training for the status of women, trained 1666 community members in health issues to name a few.
They shared with us that when they started in 2001 that there was only 3 Christians living there and they were worshiping underground with no church. Today there are 4 churches and 1000 Christians! Praise God.
They also have free AIDS/HIV testing for those who are willing to go and free medication for those who test positive.
We visited the home of a girl who lost her parents to AIDS and she was left to care for her Grandfather and her siblings. Because of a sponsorship, she was given 2 sheep for breeding, she sold one and bought clothes; the other multiplied and became 3. She was also given a cow and school material and attends school and has passed the 8th grade. If not for her sponsorship she would not been able to attend school and would have been left to just take care of her Grandfather. Without education we can only imagine the frightful outcome of her life.
We also visited two successful farms that were graduates of the Ag programs with one of them now earning enough that he could built his own house which he proudly showed us and invited us in for roasted chick peas and barley. The other farmer has done so well that he received the Prime Minister Award for outstanding Agriculture. He proudly put on his robe, medallion, and brought out his wife and children so we could take pictures. He picked us each an avocado to show his appreciation of us visiting.
We were treated to a lovely lunch by the World Vision staff and offered to have lunch with the girl who lost her parents, and the “Honored” farmer.
Bryan and I both agreed that anyone who sponsors a child should know just how much and how well World Vision is doing for the whole community as well as the individual that we see on the internet when we decide to start a sponsorship. We are still crushed by the conditions that so many are living in. We have animals in the states living in better conditions then these who Christ died for. What a shame. Forgive us Lord.
We can’t believe how many women and children we saw carrying loads (some for as long as 5-6 miles) that were way too heavy for even a man to carry. Very sad!
What a day! This only scratches the surface of all we saw and information we received. Perhaps I can post more after we are home.
May we truly be thankful for every blessing that God has sent our way, and may we remember that to those that much has been given, much will be expected.