|Our Team with the Street Kids Home in Ethiopia|
Ethiopia is a desperately needy nation. There are over 4,000,000 orphans in the nation, and 1,500,000 of them are AIDS orphans. These children are taken advantage of, used, and then thrown away. Many of them turn to drugs, and others turn to a life of crime, just to survive. In the midst of all of these overwhelming needs, there are wonderful ministries like the YWAM Street Kids ministry that cares for kids living on the streets. They have taken many of them into their children’s homes.
|Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony|
We arrived at the YWAM Joshua House and were greeted by the 11 boys, and the staff living in the home. Soon, the girls from the Ruth House started to arrive. The kids surrounded us to shake our hands and give us a hug. These are well-adjusted kids who are obviously very loved. We were greeted, and then went into their living room for the traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. Soon, several of the kids told their stories of living on the street and being rescued by Abdissa (The ministry director), and what a difference it has made in their lives. Life is now good, where before it was a nightmare.
|Livi and Alex with Samuel|
Samuel stood before us. He’s 11 years old. He was nervous, but quickly overcame the pressure of speaking before us and said “I am very happy, I love my home here”. Then, he told us the difference this home has made in his life. Samuel was orphaned when both of his parents died. He was taken in by an uncle, and as is often the case, became a slave of the family, forced to work, and care for the couple’s child. When he didn’t work hard enough or quickly enough, he was repeatedly beaten. He tried to escape once, but they caught him and beat him mercilessly. When he got a chance, he ran away for good. Life on the street is brutal, and Samuel got desperate. He began to pray for a family. Then he met some loving people who cared for the street kids, and followed them home to the Joshua House. He became part of their family. Samuel shared with us, “I want to be a policeman when I grow up”. It’s Samuel’s dream, and I believe it is totally possible.
A beautiful 19 year old young lady shared her story. She was born in the countryside, and when both of her parents died, she was on her own. She was forced to make her way to the city, but the story of her journey was shocking. Tiblis spent 2 years traveling to the capitol. Ethiopia is a very rugged land, and it has a lot of wildlife. Tiblis had to sleep in trees to protect herself from the wild hyenas as she made her way to Addis Ababa. When she finally arrived, she was enslaved by the terrible life on the street. Tiblis began to weep quietly as she shared her story, and we could see the pain of her memories. But then her life changed. She met the “bread and tea people” one day. Those were the YWAM staff who went regularly to the street to care for those kids. Seven years ago, Tiblis life totally changed, and now she plans to be a fashion designer. Yes, orphans have dreams too!