“Getting up as early as 5:00am and walking every day for one hour to a nearby water source to fetch water was really wearisome,” said Tringo Buche (18). She is a twelfth- grader and lives with her parents and five siblings in Gatame village in the Hula district, 240 miles south of Ethiopia’s capital.
|Tsega considers her spiritual growth to be a blessing.
Nine-year-old Tsega Seifu, is one of the vibrant children in the Sunday school at Evangelical Church of Mekane Yesus. She has been in Sunday school since she was three and has enjoyed the fellowship ever since. She is a Children’s Choir member and considers the steady spiritual growth to be a blessing. ‘‘I very much like reading the story of Eve and Adam but do not want to be disobedient as she was,’’ she said.
|Guale carries clean water home
“My life now and before is like heaven and the earth. Incomparable!” says Guale, a 15-year-old girl in 8th grade, who aspires to be a successful business woman. Guale and her family live in Gondar, a historic Ethiopian city located 730 kilometers (454 miles) north of the capital of Addis Ababa.
Guale says, “Being the middle girl in the family, I carried a burden on my shoulder. I used to have a hectic life, filled with routine tasks expected of me. I live in a large extended family and all females in the house work tirelessly,” she says. “I would wake up as early as 4am and together with my mother, sister and niece we go to fetch water from the spring or manually dug borehole. The time we get back home is determined by the number of people who have reached there before us,” said Guale. “And once animals are out, it was difficult to get water because they make it dirty. I and my family drank this water all our life and we have always been sick for a reason we never knew until recently,” she said. Until World Vision entered the community, Guale and her family lacked clean water or an awareness about sanitation and hygiene.
|Shuda (left) and her friend Meskerem drawing water
Bowolicho village is located in the Hula Area Program operation area, 231 miles south of Addis Abba, Ethiopia’s capital. There was a dire need for water in this area. Schoolgirls of all ages use to walk a half hour to draw water from an unprotected source called Bansa spring.
The schoolgirls who attended school in the morning left home as early as at 6:00am and walked in a group to the unkept spring. The water they found was not safe for their health. Keeping their jerry cans in two or sometimes three lines and waiting for turn was the day to day experience for them. They walked back home for another thirty minutes and upon getting home, they cooked for family and handle other activities.
|Fetlework with several of her Sunday school students.
“I know what these kids were missing because I have been in their position,” says Fetlework. “During my time as a Sunday school student, we had the smallest kid from age three to the oldest at 14. We all sat in one classroom and most of the things said, I don’t remember. Me and my friends never liked that,” Fetlework said.
Pastor Getnet remembers too, “Full Gospel Church had a Sunday school service however it was practiced differently. Parents used to bring their children and drop them into one large classroom where all of the kids used to sit. They only had one teacher assigned and whenever the teacher missed church we let them join the congregation since we had no other option.”
Yerosen’s earliest experiences with Sunday school left her with little understanding of Jesus’ love. But after her church participated in the Ethiopia Christian Discipleship Project, she learned to love stories from the Bible and found her voice in the church choir.
Although Yerosen’s parents faithfully brought her to church each Sunday as a child, she says that she really didn’t learn much about Jesus.
Regatu said she never dreamed she would be able to read and understand a story on her own. That is, until World Vision implemented a Literacy Boost program near her home in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.
Regatu (pictured in the middle) began regularly attending a weekend reading club with two of her sisters and her brother. The club reinforces and supplements the lessons they learn at school.
The Gurage area is located 195 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. People in this area are known for being hard workers and successful entrepreneurs. Along with that commendable trait, comes the fact that they prefer to lead a very cautious and quiet life, causing others to perceive them as submissive and meaningless. Gurage is a place where people still hold onto this dangerous cultural practice that can effect children and women specifically. The demeaning word used for them is tokenet,which means minor or insignificant. This attitude makes them feel dejected, rendering them incapable of standing up for themselves over time. Those who are labeled are not allowed to take part in any cultural activity or public gathering.