Saturday, May 31, 2014

Report On May Trip to Ethiopia

Why do I go to Ethiopia? It’s the children.

There are ten’s of thousands of children suffering from malnutrition and with diseases to which they were left vulnerable, because their autoimmune systems have shut down.

Holding a 2 yr-old child who is barely the size of a newborn and whose skin is falling off her boney body tears at me.  

Walking onto a compound filled with scores of babies who are listless, unable to even hold their heads up, and too weak to cry, is heartbreaking. No matter how many times I have done this over the years, it never seems to prepare me for these encounters.

Every distribution center I walk to, before I even lay eyes on the people, I hear the murmuring of weeping mothers, smell the diseases, and hits me in the gut: Children are suffering and dying.

What always holds me together is the very next thought: And we are here to stop this from happening.

This last trip, while kneeling down beside a weeping mother who is begging me to hold her suffering baby, the smell of the child’s disease and decay floods into my lungs so quickly that I instinctively cup my hand over my nose and mouth, and will myself to not puke.  The smell and taste stay with me all day. This mother and child … this is why we are here.

As is our mission, we went to four villages in the Sidamo Zone where the people are receiving no aid or relief from any charity, agency, or ministry.  You’d think after decades of aid coming into this nation that there wouldn’t be any such places, but you’d be wrong: 80% of the children here in Ethiopia who are undernourished and suffering with related pathologies go untreated.

These children need our help. Thanks to your care and support, we were able to distribute 30 tons of wheat to four villages, while I was there. Our team distributed another 60 tons of wheat, the week after I left.

How do we decide who receives a bushel of wheat? Dr Henoc (pictured above) and his teams visit these villages before hand so as to ascertain who are the most needy: mothers who are so malnourished they cannot nurse their newborns and families with children who are the most severely malnourished and diseased.

And what will they do with this wheat? They make a loaf of bread that, out there, constitutes a full meal for a family of seven.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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