|Eyasu holding Hanuk... all he wore was a tattered green shirt|
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Post written by Gioia Morris
During my time in Ethiopia my team and I spent some time in Korah. Sammy welcomed us with open arms and guided us through the streets and homes of Korah where he grew up himself. Words cannot adequately describe what we saw while there. The poverty we witnessed was overwhelming to say the least - there was an ache in my chest that I had never experienced before. I was overcome with a sense of hopelessness as I was struck by the reality and vastness of human suffering. My heart cried out to God "Lord, this is too much to bear.." and as I had the privilege of meeting some of the people in Korah I came to realize that the Lord meant for us to be there - that He was allowing us to see part of His heart - feel His pain and share in something He cares very deeply about. I came to see the face of Jesus in everyone I met and an overwhelming love started to flood my soul for every individual I encountered. Jesus was present in this seemingly "god forsaken place".
Sammy asked our team if we'd consider doing a small health clinic one afternoon - we had lots of medical supplies that we had fundraised for at home in Canada and were more then happy to use them in Korah. We had 3 nurses who set up a small clinic while the rest of us decided to spend time with the large amount of children that were congregating around us - we had brought lots of small toys, clothes and shoes and were spending the afternoon handing out items and interacting with the children - what an incredibly blessed time - memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
After a few hours I found myself sitting on a log on the ground outside of the small building where the nurses were still seeing patients - within seconds I was surrounded by children all eager to speak to me and ask me questions. I emptied out a whole bottle of hand sanitizer as hundreds of little outstretched hands appeared before my face accompanied with voices asking "some for me?? some for me?"
I felt a small tugging at my shirt and as I looked to my left I saw a young boy sitting next to me on the log - I looked into his big, deep brown eyes noticing the smaller boy - barely 2 years old - sitting on his lap - our eyes locked and he quietly asked "shoes for my brother please??" He spoke very little English but managed to tell me that his name was Eyasu, his little brother was Hanuk and that his mother was very sick waiting to see one of our team's nurses. A couple of his friends who spoke better English helped in telling me his story. Eyasu was about 12 years old - his father had died a while back and he was spending most of his days going to the Addis dump with his little brother to find food for himself, his brother and sick mother. My heart was breaking for this boy realizing that so many of the children I met that day had very similar stories - this was very common in Korah - children looking after children - spending their days looking through garbage for food - this was their reality.
New clothes for Eyasu's little brother
I spent the rest of the afternoon interacting with the children - with Eyasu close by my side - my arm around him, his around me…. I could barely stand to look at him - there was such longing in his eyes - his intense gaze penetrated my soul - there was a love developing in my heart that scared me - I had just met this boy and yet I started to love him as if he was my own.
Our day in Korah was slowly coming to an end. I told Eyasu that we had to get ready to leave - he nodded and walked towards our van as we were beginning to pack up. I was about to get in the van when Eyasu approached me and handed me a note - he nodded for me to open it and read it - It read:
My Eyasu and Hunok blther
My Fathor No
My Mother Yes
I Luv Y
Tears ran down my face as I read this little boy's note. I put my arms around him thanking him for this precious note. We hugged each other feeling like we did not want to let go - and at that moment I realized that he wanted to be known - he wasn't just one of many - he was a boy with a name - with a family - he wanted me to see him and remember. I kissed him telling him I loved him too and rushed into the van overcome with emotion.
The next day - our last day in Ethiopia - we needed to drop in on Korah one last time as we had some medicine to deliver for some of the patients that were seen the day before. As we were driving into Korah I could see a familiar face in the distance - it was Eyasu playing with some of his friends - as soon as I got out of the van Eyasu ran to me smiling with a look of surprise on his face - he didn't expect to see us again and I certainly didn't expect to see him again since we were only stopping in for a few minutes. I found out that his mother was Ababa one of the patients that was seen the day before - she was very sick - and we payed for her to be seen at the hospital.
The day before, Sammy had briefly told us about his dream to start a sponsorship program for the many children in Korah that had no future - a way to send these children away to a Christian boarding school where they could get an education and therefore a hope for their future. He also mentioned a lady named Sumer that was supposedly moving to Addis from America to help him.
We dropped off our medications and the last of our supplies with Sammy and said our good byes - Eyasu was still close by my side - I bent down - reached into my pocked and pulled out a small flashlight I had and gave it to him - hugging him one last time. He grabbed my arm and slipped something on my wrist - I looked down and saw an elastic band in the shape of an animal around my wrist- I looked at Eyasu and smiling he said "for you" - his gift to me…. I knew then for sure that I would never forget him.
Driving away that day was one of the hardest things I have ever done - Eyasu ran after our van waving and wiping tears from his eyes as he ran - my heart was breaking again - silently I prayed a simple prayer "Lord - why him? There are so many - why did you allow me to bond with this boy - you know I would do anything to help him - I know you can provide a way…." and I cried!
I could not stop thinking about Eyasu - I saw his little face everywhere - I saw him in my children after I got back home - his face was ever before me - his deep brown eyes still penetrating the very core of me and I continued to pray - "Lord make a way - how could I possibly ever find him again - all I have is his first name - he is one of so many…."
A couple of days after returning home I opened my Facebook account and started searching for this lady "Sumer" that Sammy had told us about. Within a few minutes her profile picture appeared - I immediately sent her a message asking if she was THE Sumer and sure enough she confirmed that she was. Through Sumer I found Cherrie Cornish and her photography website on which she was posting pictures of some of the Korah children needing sponsors for boarding school. I immediately looked through the pictures and could hardly believe and contain my excitement when Eyasu's picture flashed across my screen - I had found him again - there was his beautiful face smiling at me from my computer - 'God you are amazing !!!"I cried. - I contacted Sumer immediately telling her that I wanted to sponsor Eyasu. God had made a way.
I came to find out a few weeks later that Eyasu's mother died of AIDS - I was so saddened by the news - my heart ached for Eyasu and his little brother and the grief they both were going through. I also came to discover that Eyasu had a grandmother that he and his little brother were staying with for the time being but that she was overwhelmed with looking after a number of children now - too many for her to manage on her own.
I am thrilled beyond words that God let me find Eyasu again and I look forward to hearing from him and keeping in contact - he now has hope for a better life and future. I can't wait to go back some day and visit him.
There are so many more just like him that need help - we can't help everyone - the need is overwhelming - but we can help one.