Developing Hope

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Adam Sticca, Team Ethiopia

Adam Sticca2Here I was, in the middle of rural Ethiopia face to face with what I had come to see. The past few days had been exhausting from traveling on countless planes and bumpy car rides. But, I was finally here. I was going to see people’s lives being drastically changed as a result of something I had done thousands of miles away.

I guess I’ve always had an idealistic image in my head about how a fundraiser helps suffering people around the world. You raise money, you send it to some organization, they send it to the people, and everyone sings kumbaya in happy little circle. This of course, is far from the truth. As I began to really listen to all of the stories of the people here in Ethiopia, I also began to understand just how their lives have been changed by World Vision.

It had just started to rain and we stopped our three trucks outside what looked to be some sort of shack held together by sticks and a blue tarp. We all stepped outside and followed Mulu, the ADP manager, toward the small shack. Sitting under the tarp roof was a young man, who looked about 20, sitting in a tiny little chair with a huge smile on his face. It was apparent that the man did not have any use of his legs, it was also apparent that he was overjoyed to see us. Mulu began translating what he was sharing with us and it turned out that this shack was his newly opened store. He sold about ten items from pasta to bars of soap in a no more than 10 square foot space. This was all he had; this tiny little store was his entire livelihood.

Adam 3Yet despite what looked pretty small to us, the young man was overwhelmingly proud of what little he had. To be honest if we didn’t start asking questions I’m sure he could have gone on for hours telling us about his store and showing off all of his new items. One of the other students asked Mulu how he was able to build and open his store. Now, usually when we ask a question in English to Mulu, she translates it in Tigray, and then translates the answer back to us in English. But this question went down differently. Without any hesitation Mulu answered the question herself. She told us that the man had approached her with absolutely nothing. His disability hindered his ability to work; he didn’t have the money to afford school supplies, he did not know where to turn and as they described it was utterly “hopeless.” Mulu had not only given him needed school supplies, but then had worked tirelessly to help him open up his store. This hit me. Here was local woman using the resources provided by World Vision to directly and completely upturn this man’s life. The way he looked up at her radiated with the obvious admiration and love he had for her kindness towards him. This relationship that was formed is what truly helps those in need, not a helicopter dropping a crate of food in a town and flying off. I now understand how I am really changing lives by doing the famine. It enables wonderful people like Mulu to improve the lives of people living just steps away from her. If that isn’t validation for all the fundraising we do here in the states, I don’t know what is.