It’s sweet to listen to Mark and Allison talk about their lives. What’s clear is that the couple has an incredible bond and partnership. They know each other’s passions inside and out, and the pride in their voices is evident when they talk about those projects.
Over their decades in Ethiopia, the Karnes have played witness to so much change – and progress.
“In 2007 there was only one paved road in Soddo,” said Mark. “When we first arrived, all of the taxis were donkeys and mules and horses.”
There wasn't a bajaj in sight.
Just seven years ago, about 94% of women were estimated to be delivering their children at home without medical care. Now that’s dropped to about 50%, Mark said.
Development is constant, and life changes all the time.
“They even, on the weekends at this one hotel, have ice cream,” said Mark with awe.
It’s amazing how much can change with “funds and a little heart,” said Allison.
The Karnes are the perfect example of that. And there’s so much more the couple hopes to accomplish.
“I can’t live long enough to do enough there. I have projects that would keep me busy for another 100 years,” Allison said. “It only takes a little money to change the lives of an entire community.”
Despite the hard work and the long hours, the Karnes said it is an honour and a joy to work, live and serve in Soddo.
“We are the ones who are blessed,” Mark said.
“We learn so much from the Ethiopian people.”