Friday, April 10, 2009

Ethiopia - A Culture of Desperation

Yesterday in Harare, the antient walled city built 1,500 years ago near the Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia borders, I experienced a clash in cultures. Ethiopians are loyal to family and say "I will die with my child". Recently a new culture has surfaced. The culture of desperation. Some mothers see themselves forced to throw away their babies. (Sound eerily familiar?) This beautiful days-old little girl was abandoned in the streets. A prostitute in the house next to where we were had picked her up and taken her home.

Was the mother HIV+? What was the desparate situation that pushed her to abandon her baby? The Compassion project we visited found that nearly 75% of the caregivers that went for voluntary counseling and testing proved to be HIV+! What made this comunity so much worse than the national average of 10% or so? We were told that there is a large military base there. No wonder! It is sad that those who are there to "protect" a country are in fact "destroying" it! But it is beautiful to see these children and adults have a second chance through our HIV program.

I wished there was something I could do for this precious little one that born innocent - now will be forced to live a life of desparation herself! My prayer is that the local church will be able to somehow reach out to this "new mother" that will be raising her and lead her to the Feet of Him who transforms lives! Then this precious little one will have the opportunity to reach her God-given potential even though she was tossed out like garbage by her birth mom.

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