Farewell Ethiopia


It’s been just over a week and our time in Ethiopia is almost over. Tomorrow we fly to Kigali, Rwanda.

During our time here I’ve seen the most devastating poverty I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve sat in homes feeling broken inside as I’ve heard heart breaking stories of extreme poverty and how it effects people. It robs them of their worth, of their hope and their dignity. What do you say to a man who breaks down and sobs as he tries to tell you how he has been bed ridden for two years because he can’t afford medical help? He told us he, his wife and children face eviction because he can’t afford $25 a month for rent.

How do you begin to comprehend life in a town where water is incredibly scarce? A place where even the local hospital, as basic as it is, can’t wash the blankets on the beds between patients because they have no water. The basins are dry and dusty. The taps haven’t had water running through them for a very long time.

It’s been tough to see how others are forced to live but right there in those circumstances hope breaks through. Compassion is there.

While there is still so much to be done, Compassion is working with local churches to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. That has a flow on effect to the families of those children and ultimately to the community around them.

Hope is sitting in a small room that serves as a house for a mother and her child and hearing her say that if it wasn’t for Compassion they’d both be dead by now. It’s seeing the joy in children’s faces as they experience the love of those at the local Compassion centre. Hope is hearing about mothers who have been able to start small businesses with the help of Compassion so that they can earn desperately needed money for their families.

Compassion is working through local churches to shine a bright light into some very dark corners, bringing hope and a future for many people.

I leave Ethiopia with mixed emotions but I look forward to seeing the same hope growing in Rwanda.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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