Thursday, August 19, 2010

Story Time

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved hearing stories.  I especially have grown to love people’s stories now that I’m older and love to ask older women such things as their secret to a long marriage, what they were like when they were young, where they came from.  I’ve learned through this incredible trip to Africa that one of the best ways our team can help in America is to tell the stories of the people we’ve met.  So lets all settle in for a little story telling...

This is Abrehet. She lives in Nazaret and runs a Mocha Club supported program called “Women At Risk”.  

Her and her staff are some of the bravest and most loving people I’ve ever met.  They will go into bars and sit down and talk to the bar girls (prostitutes) and invite them to join their program.  When we arrived to the Women At Risk program, they currently have enrolled about 30 women.  For these women, they provide counseling, teach them life skills, have Bible studies, provide child care, and give them a stipend of money so they don’t fall back into prostitution.  I love that they train them and build their self confidence so once they graduate from the program, they can support themselves and their families without falling back into prostitution.

About 12 years ago, Ethiopia used to have a state called Eritrea. Eritrea wanted its independence from the Ethiopian government.  In anger, the Ethiopian government forced every person that was of Eritrean decent out of the country forever.  This meant no letters, no phone calls, no contact period between an Eritrean and an Ethiopian.  Every Eritrean was given a letter saying they would be deported.  Two days later in the middle of the night, the army came and deported every Eritrean giving them no chance to say goodbye.  Abrehet’s father was Eritrean.  She told us her whole life, she was very close to her father.  He wasn’t an educated man but felt that Abrehet should be and because of this, he worked several jobs to send her to school.  Abrehet hasn’t been able to hear or see her father in 12 years.  She doesn’t know if he is still alive but believes with her heart that she will see him again.  Because of her father, she has worked and worked to put herself through college.  While we were in Nazaret, we got to celebrate her graduation with a party at ‘Women At Risk’.  She is such a huge inspiration to the women in the program.  She is living proof that a really desperate situation can turn into something beautiful. 


PS. Did I mention that the last graduated group of 'Women At Risk' opened a cafe and make the BEST coffee in the world? Holy cow. 


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