A Window into Ethiopia
The following is a window into Ethiopia from first time visitor Angie Bailey (wife of Africa Water and Life founder and Board Member Bill Bailey).
My trip to Africa was a hard but great experience. I certainly didn’t feel like a stranger when we got there, because of all the relationships Bill had built. I truly fell in love with God’s heart for this people group! As we worshiped together, I was overwhelmed with God’s joy when his children come together from all tongues, tribes and nations.
On our first day in Awassa, we visited the Selam Vocational School, which is managed by a man named Atkilt. Atkilt was an orphan until the age of 10, he says “I was free without any structure, and the Children’s Village (Selam Addis) took me in and taught me discipline and love. This orphanage was started by Mr and Mrs Roschli, which Atkilt now refers to them as his parents. Mr. Roschli has recently passed away, however Mrs. Roschli lives with Atkilt and his family. This is a beautiful depiction of how one’s life was valued and he is now giving the same back to the students at Selam. He is very devoted to these students and to their placement after completion of their term. Our children are adopting from Ethiopia, so this story was very special to me!
The following day, we visited a Self Help Group (SHG) in Awassa. This was a true blessing, all the attendees were women and we had almost 2 hours to discuss how the group has brought stability and hope to the members and their families. This group was very gracious with us as we asked questions. We wanted to know more about their lives, hopes and dreams and understand their daily trials. We sat around some black coal steaming up some Ethiopian coffee and popcorn….which is called a “coffee ceremony”. The youngest member was 24 years old and the oldest didn’t give us her exact age, but everyone was sure she was the oldest J.
Later, we spent some time with the clinic in Kalo village. They confirmed that dysentery is the #1 cause of death. This is a very critical component to life for this group.
It is obvious the lifestyle of the folks in Ethiopia is very hard; the life expectance is only 45 years old. However, these people seem very content with their life. As we bring “ourselves”, we don’t offer solutions, we just simply offer ourselves. We offer our story, our journey, our experiences, our trials and simple fellowship. We had a few powerful prayer appointments that were planned long ago to encourage others. It was a beautiful time…..after a few days together we had dearly and deeply adopted each other – what a blessing!