This quarter, a boy named Tariku was featured at Trees of Glory. When I first met him 1 1/2 years ago in Ethiopia, he was a shy and introverted boy, and yet he was very curious and polite. He observed our volunteer team from a distance the first day or so, but by the last day, he had warmed up to us and was enjoying our attention.
I noticed that he did not have a right arm, and I asked the CarePoint staff if he had lost it in an accident. They explained that he had been born that way, and that his family felt he was cursed by an evil spirt. That "curse" not only affected Tariku, but it affected how other villagers viewed and interacted with his family since they too were viewed as "cursed".
The CarePoint staff told me that it was common practice for children from destitute families to be "sold" as an indentured servant to local wealthy livestock owners. These children lived day and night with their animals as a shepherd or herder and never had the opportunity to go to school. Tariku was one of those children.
When Trees of Glory opened their doors to care and provide for destitute children, Tariku's parents relinquished him and he was now living full-time at the CarePoint with about a dozen other children who were considered orphaned or abandoned.
In November 2011, when our volunteer team visited Trees of Glory CarePoint, Tariku was one of the first smiling and outgoing children to greet our team, shake hands with everyone and welcome us to the Care-Point. During our church service at the CarePoint, while several of the children were singing a rousing song with a lot of clapping and actions, Tariku jumped to the front of the assembly and began dancing to the music. He has become a confident boy, who is quick to help with the other children and help with the various chores and responsibilities at the CarePoint when he is not in school.
Here is the excerpt about Tariku from the Trees of Glory newsletter this quarter:
November 2011 - Tariku with our translator and Sarah (from our volunteer team) receiving
his care-package and letter form his sponsor family, the Klevens.