The Worst of the Worst

Sometimes I think I have seen the worst there is to see of the poverty in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia.  But then I see something new, something worse.  Recently, I was visiting one of the Blessing the Children International’s (BCI) sponsored children.  There was a lady and a baby in the house that I had never met before.  I started a conversation with the woman about her baby.  She told me her baby girl is 9 months old; however, I would have guessed her to be 6 months old.  I noticed the baby had a rather large skin tag protruding from her ear and I asked the mother if it caused pain for the baby and she said no. 

I continued with the home visit for the child I went to visit but I couldn’t stop staring at this little baby.  I went for a long walk around the village-the whole time thinking about the new woman and her tiny baby.  When I got back to the house she was standing outside.  I asked her which house was hers and she pointed to a small gate.  I asked her if I could come visit and she said yes.  I walked into the small compound and then she led me into her home.  I stopped dead in my tracks.

You have to understand that earlier, when I was talking to her about her baby, she told me that she has three other children.  The reason that I stopped immediately upon stepping foot in this woman’s house is because I was trying to understand how four children and their mother live in this tiny place.

The Girma Family home.

The Girma Family home.

The house consisted of two rooms.  The first room is probably 6×5 ft and the other about 2×5 ft.  I just stood there and looked. . .looked at nothing.  The only things in the house were a small pile of onions, a small cooking pot, two burlap sacks, and a tiny pile of clothes.  While I was just staring, the woman told me that she lives with her mother and sister.  I asked her again-to confirm I understood what she was saying.  I couldn’t fathom her living there with her four children and she has just told me that two other adults live there.  I asked her where they all sleep and she showed me by spreading the clothes and burlap sacks on the floor.

I walked outside because I was starting to feel really overwhelmed and as I walked out, two of her other children, mother, and sister had just gotten back from hauling water.  I asked my translator, Tigist, to help me with the next part of the conversation because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding anything.

We discovered that the sister also has a child living in the home.  That is five children (one of which is a teenager) and three adults living in this tiny house with next to nothing in it.  I asked them how they survive.  They told me that they have a horse that the teenaged boy uses as a taxi in town.  After buying supplies for the horse he brings home about 30 birr ($1.70) a day to support the family.  They use the horse manure to build a cooking fire because they can’t afford charcoal or gas.

None of the children are able to go to school because she can’t afford the tuition, books, or uniforms that are required for school.

This family is the poorest of the poor.  The mother said that she feels blessed that they have a house to live in, that they are not homeless.  But, they only have the house because when her husband was living there he paid the rent.  He recently abandoned the family though so now she is worried about where they will live.

I was able to collect clothes, food, and toys for the family but it’s not enough.  They need immediate help.

Can you help by sponsoring one of the children into the BCI program? In order to add a new child to the program, a full sponsorship of $90/month is needed.

The children in need of sponsorship are:
Fasika Girma (girl, 9 months old)
Meseret Girma (girl, 8 years old)
Elias Sintayehu (boy, 5 years old)
Weynishet Girma (girl, 10 years old)

If you are unable to commit to a full $90/month sponsorship, would you consider make a one-time donation to help provide this family with food, rent, bedding, and clothing?

If you would like to sign up for a sponsorship, make a one time donation or would like more information on how you can help this family please email Melissa Strawn at

By Jonnett T.

1 thought on “The Worst of the Worst

  1. Pingback: My House and My Horse | BlessingtheChildrenCanada

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