Monday, June 10, 2013

She described those days as "Miserable" ...

We stood in the shade of the trees as Libby greeted Asenaku with a warm hand shake and then wrapped her in a hug.  Asenaku held her children close and shyly eyed Libby as her daughter, Eyerus reached to be pulled up into Libby's arms. 




Libby and her parents, Jim and Maureen, are sponsors for Asenaku's children, Eyerus and Abel, providing for them so they can attend Kind Hearts school for nutritious food, clean water, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship.

One of the highlights of our trips to Ethiopia is when each sponsor family finally meets their child face to face, and gets to visit that child's home to meet their family OR the family comes to the CarePoint to meet each other.  In this case, Asenaku came to Kind Hearts to meet her childrens' sponsor.

Libby was worried about what to ask and wanted to be sure her questions and sincere concern for this family were not interpreted as inappropriate or culturally insensitive, so I helped ask questions through a translator so we could understand the family's situation a little better.  Libby's genuine interest and concern and gentle encouragement made Asenaku feel at ease quickly.

We asked where she lived and what she did for a living.  We told her it was clear that her children loved her very much and that she was a good mother to them.  She nodded earnestly.

Later in our conversation when we asked about the childrens' father, she started to explain in rapid Amharic and as the story poured out, we could hear her voice start to tremor and her eyes welled up with tears.  With sensitivity, the translator did not interrupt to interpret for us and so Asenaku plunged on, emotions building until she buried her face in her hands and sobbed.  Pent-up feelings of fear and rejection finally pouring out as she explained her situation to someone she could tell genuinely cared about her and her kids and would continue to walk beside her and help.

Asenaku was married to a man named Mulugeta and they lived together in a small rented room.  Mulugeta was a daily laborer, an unskilled worker who sought work where he could find it.  Sometimes finding manual labor that provided a small wage, and other times not.  They were able to get by until Asenaku became pregnant with Eyerus, their first child, a little girl. 



Now that Asenaku needed to stay home to care for their baby, it was even more important for Mulugeta to be able to find work every day, and when he couldn't, there was a baby going hungry now too. 

Soon another baby was on the way, this time a little boy named Abel. 



But as work became more scarce and food wouldn't stretch as far with the birth of another baby, the pressure was too much for Mulugeta.  Fifteen days after Asenaku gave birth to Abel, Mulugeta did not come home from work, and she never saw him again.

Asenaku described those days as "miserable".  She was alone with a toddler and a newborn baby, with rent to pay and food to purchase, with no provision to do either.  She was scared and alone.

Once Abel was old enough to carry on her back, she left Eyerus with neighbors and tried to find work anywhere she could find it.  Again, she used the word "miserable" to describe this period of time.  Barely hanging on to her rented room and barely feeding her children.

As Abel and Eyerus neared school age, she knew she would never be able to give them an education.  The school fees, books and school uniforms were too much for her to afford and the fact that her kids would never get an education was too much to bear.  Until she heard about Kind Hearts ...

Today, Abel and Eyerus are attending Kind Hearts school and Libby was able to spend time with both kids and meet their mother.  Lots of tears were shed that day and I lowered my camera out of respect.  Some moments are better left to words and hugs without a camera's nosy lens. 





I know that Libby was forever impacted by her time with Asenaku, Eyerus and Abel and I know that Asenaku felt that Libby, Jim and Maureen are walking alongside her and supporting her as she seeks to be a good mother and provider for her children.


 Helina (on the left) works for Children's HopeChest in Ethiopia and disciples the children during regular weekly CarePoint visits.  We are blessed to have such an outstanding team of people working with the children on a daily basis.  This is one of my favorite photos because Abel is mesmerized by Helina's embrace as she rubs his ear while translating Libby's letter.  Our kids at the CarePoints are in good hands with the CarePoint staff and the staff of Children's HopeChest.


If you are intersted in sponsoring a child, there are 4 little boys left who are still waiting for a sponsor family.  $34 per month provides nutritious food, clean water, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship for one child.  Please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com

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