I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. Allergies turning into a sinus infection. So, I’m sitting here in my pajamas and a sweatshirt sipping on some warm tea with fresh ginger and honey, trying to get better. There’s a cheesy movie on TV and the sounds of houses being built all around me. Which gets me thinking, Ethiopia is at a turning point.
Most of the news that comes out of Ethiopia is about the desperate struggle that many people go through just to survive. That is a very stark reality here. I am reminded of the ladies we are trying to help get out of prostitution. They serve a customer for around a dollar and may have to pay as much as $6 a day in rent. It’s awful, it’s hopeless and it’s difficult to comprehend.
But, there is this whole other side of things in Ethiopia which gets talked about very little around the world. Just looking outside my window right now I can see people building a beautiful three story concrete house with a little deck and terrace on the roof – I heard they even built a bio-gas system in the basement. Just next door to me another three story house is being built. And my other neighbor is building a one level house. If I take the ten minute walk to the main road where I can get a mini-bus taxi, I will see almost nothing except new houses being built. Driving through the city shows that big malls, office buildings and residential complexes are going up almost everywhere. These will quickly be filled with boutiques, cafes, restaurants, salons and nearly any other business you can think of. Some of these are being built from foreign investment, but many of them are being built by Ethiopian citizens. People are making money here and are investing it wisely. Ethiopia is at a turning point.
I also see this growth and expansion of Ethiopia as an awesome way of helping the poor and disenfranchised that are all around us. One of the things that we are planning to do once we raise enough money is to open a cafe with which to hire women out of the lowest levels of prostitution. The cafe would be a classy place that serves top quality pastries and delicious coffee drinks. It would be the kind of place that the rich would want to come and eat a slice of fresh mango meringue pie while enjoying a vanilla macchiato made with freshly roasted coffee. And the ladies that were working as prostitutes for a dollar a customer would now be working in nice cafe where they could make more than that in one tip.
Just imagine for a minute how that would change their lives. Where they used to struggle each and every day to pay rent and afford a little food, they would now be receiving a fair, living wage that would easily cover their rent and enough food for 3 meals every day. There would be some leftover money to send their children to school. It would even be possible for them to save a little cash for a rainy day. Or to put some aside in their child’s college fund. They would have a chance to live what the rest of us would call a modest life.
If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, please consider making a donation to help us save up and make this a reality. If you have another way that you can and want to help, please contact us and let us know. Thank you.