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Thursday, July 31, 2008

ETHIOPIA: Surviving today, stronger tomorrow

Our field staff in Ethiopia continue to update us on conditions in drought-afflicted villages where we are planning to provide clean water systems. It’s difficult to hear stories about severe malnutrition of infants, tuberculosis epidemics, and families who are picking up and walking away because they have nothing left to eat. It’s also very difficult to hear the sadness in the voice of somebody seeing the suffering first-hand.

The Ethiopians who work with HOPE International Development Agency are dedicated to providing clean water systems to every person who would otherwise scavenge unclean water, losing hours of every day to the task of finding and carrying it, and losing family members to horrific diseases like cholera. Because of their hard work, a district in Ethiopia that formerly had only 11% clean water access is now approaching full coverage, and rates of many waterborne diseases have dropped by 80%. Our staff bring hope to families by living in tents, on-site, for weeks and months. They do this by consulting with communities, building friendships and trust. They do this by being constantly available to provide high-quality training and support to villagers who must manage and maintain their precious new resource.

These same people are now keeping children alive through emergency food rations, re-hydration kits, and medical care. They are hoping that, by keeping people alive in their villages, they can save them from being refugees, wandering with nowhere to go and no help in sight. Then, when things are a little better, they’ll start the work that will help spare future generations from these horrors. Clean water, community development, and good health are still on the horizon.

Like with every emergency situation, HOPE International Development Agency is helping people make it through this terrible time because we know that the survivors are capable of building back communities that are more resilient. The next time drought comes, we pray that we will have put these villages in a better position to hold on and endure - it’s the hope that justifies all of this hard work and every donation that supporters see fit to give during this time of emergency.

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