The Women of Ethiopia - Personal Journeys

Hi, my name is Tigst Tizazu I am 35 years old. I have lived in Korah my whole adult life and much of my childhood. I was brought to Korah by a sick uncle who was seeking treatment for Leprosy. Soon, I became sick too, and my family promised treatment, but it never happened. At a young age, I was sent to live and work as a servant for a family I didn’t know. The man of the household tried to rape me many, many times, but he was never successful. My dad came to visit me once while I was working for the family and I begged him to take me home and told him what the man was trying to do to me but he left me there. I now have a husband and three children, aged 14, 7 and 8 months. Before my work to make jewellery, I was a housewife, and I was also able to work at my child’s kindergarten for $250 birr a month ($15 Canadian). We often went without daily luxuries, and meat was only eaten on special occasions. There is a community bathroom where we live, but it is often locked, and the children often ask if we can move away. My husband has worked as a labourer, but now he works as a guard, and we make $1400/month birr. This pays rent, school, and buys us decent food My life was changed by kindness. Pastor Antenech brought me to KVI, and here I am allowed to bring my baby. I want nothing for myself, but I wish my children could attend a better school. I often keep them inside their home so they are not exposed to the bad behaviour of some children. I cry often when I think of my past, and I am so grateful for my work for Mothers with a Heart. I ask my Canadian sisters to please buy the jewelry we make. Just buying one piece helps me. Yes, you will be decorated and look beautiful, but just buying one helps us. tigst Hi, my name is Alem Kassa I am 38 years old. I lived in the countryside until I was 10 years old. I could not walk and needed medical treatment. My dad sold our grinding machine and sent me to Addis on my own to go to the hospital. My most joyous moment was walking for the first time after treatment. After leaving the hospital, I found the cheapest place I could to live in. I tried to find work in Addis, but I was struck by a hit and run car on the same leg that had been operated on and I was left lame again. I could not afford modern medical treatment, so traditional medicine and prayer were all I had. I had no money and no where to live. With my leg in a home-made brace , I had no other choice but to beg and live on the streets. I met a good friend on the streets who later became my husband. I was married at 16. He was a labourer. He died 8 years ago of HIV while I was pregnant with my little boy. I was left with three children who are now 19, 16, and 7. I was begging once again to support my family, up until 4 years ago when I started to work making jewelry. Since I began working, my life has changed in so many ways. I no longer go to the dump to dig for food, nor do I have to beg. My kids are now in school. We used to sleep on the floor with no blankets, but the whole family can fit into the one bed we now own. I don’t worry any more about my children starving — we have food every day. Unfortunately, after 19 years, our rent has increased to the point that we can no longer afford our home. The rent has changed from $35 birr ($2 Cdn) to $500 birr ($28 Cdn). To support the family, my eldest son has quit school and spends his day in the dump digging for things to sell. My dream is to own a business making food. I would support friends around me who lack, but I cannot at this time. alem

Hi, my name is Etenesh I am 40 years old. I came to Korah 6 years ago from Jimah on a bus with my husband and 4 children to try to find housing. My first husband died of HIV in 1996. In order to support my children, I married another man who I had 3 children with. When I was pregnant with his third child, I found out he was married and his wife took him to court. He left me with 7 children and returned to his wife. I made a shelter out of a tarp and we lived under that for 5 months. I would huddle my children together, cover them with my clothes, and sleep nearly atop them to keep them warm. I had no choice but to send five of my 7 children to live with other people to work in their homes. I had no money and no way to feed my children. A friend told me to trust God and He would provide. She told me to gather my 5 children who were working in other’s homes. Her church led me to this job and now three of my children are sponsored to go to boarding school and one of my daughter’s receives a sponsored lunch each day at the church. I used to have to beg for food, and often missed paying rent, but now I make about $45 Cdn. I also wash cloths for part time work to make extra money. This past year after Mission Ethiopia closed, I was very sick with a hernia and lung problems. When a volunteer medical team visited Korah, my children cried and begged for medical help for me. Tabitha was a part of the team and when she returned to the USA, she followed up to provide the money ($450 Cdn) to pay for my hernia surgery. She didn’t know me, we are from different parts of the world but she helped me and changed my life. I wish for a house and protection for my children. I hope to some day have my own business and I will work hard for that. I ask the Canadian women to pray for us, as we pray for them. I give my love to you all. I hope you can come and visit us some day. etenesh