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Scholarship Students Worldwide
4 schools of medical care provided on medical missions
Service trips conducted
Wealth increase for scholarship graduates
Patients served on Medical Missions
3 service groups can complete a home
FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS
I’m so happy that I went on this trip. The joy that people have in Guatemala is incredible. It’s bittersweet: When I went to Guatemala and I was serving people, it was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that happy again.
Medical Missions like this allow you to come home and look at your own patients a different way. I think it’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
We did this exercise where we had to buy a week’s worth of groceries on $7, and it was absolutely eye-opening. It was really hard, and what I came up with wasn’t food that I wanted to eat. But that’s the reality for them. I get a Starbucks every morning that costs as much as their food for their whole family for the whole week.
Note: We are committed to respecting and uplifting our scholars. Due to some stories containing sensitive information, we redact or change the names of the scholars, their parents, their schools, and other details that could compromise their anonymity.
This story is from and written from the perspective of Selam Terefe, our program director in Ethiopia.
The first thing we noticed when we walked into Ebo’s one room house are the drawings posted on the clay walls: Some were drawn with pencil, others with pen, but they were all so good! There were more drawings in the notebook we found in his notebook, wedged between the family’s couch and his bed.
There was very little in the home: Besides the bed and the couch, there was just one small, beatdown cupboard. That was it – the one room could not hold anything else. Ebo’s mom, Dani, led us into the room and we sat on the small couch while she sat on the bed and faced us, ready to answer all our questions.
Dani told us that she has worked in the garbage dump for 11 years, picking up plastics and selling them. However, both the recent landslide and the new management coming into the garbage dump have made her work very challenging. She told us she’s even resorted to begging to raise her son, though she has found a way to make a little bit of money through weaving: Dani can make handmade scarves from scratch even though she lost her two fingers on her right hand as a kid due to a fire.
“I came to Addis Ababa from [REDACTED] when she was 15 seeking a better life,” she told us, “And I met Ebo’s father in Addis Ababa after he came from [REDACTED] for the same reason. We met while I worked as a maid in the house he was living in and we soon had Ebo. Ebo was my first child, but he was his father’s sixth. Ebo’s father and I separated when Ebo was only four. Ebo was… challenging as a child, so he was held back in the first grade, but he’s doing so well now.”
Dani is very supportive of her son’s education. The way she talks about him, it is evident how much she loves him. She sadly told us that she had a lot of people telling her to get rid of Ebo when he was younger and more difficult, but that never stopped her from trying to provide for her only son. She almost did lose him three years ago in a car accident, and she is so grateful he is with her and well.
At this point in our conversation with Dani, Ebo walked into the room. He politely greeted us with a smile, and we started talking. We asked him about his drawings first, of course – he told us that he drew all of them and we were so impressed. We took time going through the entire notebook and Ebo explained to us the meaning behind each drawing. My favorite was a drawing with the face of a man facing a woman with a heart in between them and flame from below, captioned “True love has lots of enemies”. He told us it was based on a story he wants to write one day. The notebook was filled with art, some bits of writing, and even song lyrics he’d written, so it was not surprising when Ebo told us he wants to be an artist when he grows up. Dani told us that, while she’s supportive, she would prefer if he focused on his studies because there isn’t money in art. She said she regrets not going to school herself and wants her son to be successful.
Ebo is heeding his mother’s wishes and focusing on academics – his report cards were clear indications. He scored 17th from 48 kids his first semester, and he’s found other classes to take outside of school. He even started going to church to take lessons recently and even participates in art and acting competitions he can find. He goes with kids in his neighborhood once a month to participate in poetry presentations, too.
When Ebo talks about his passion for the arts, this shy boy he becomes louder, more confident, and he has this fire in his eyes. He really loves it! We were so moved by this fifteen-year-old boy who wants nothing more than to follow his dreams and explore his talent, and his mother who has done so much to support him.
This story is from and written from the perspective of Selam Terefe, our program director in Ethiopia.The first thing we noticed when we walked into Ebo’s one room house are the drawings posted on the clay walls: Some were drawn with pencil, others with pen, but they...
Hello, I am Emanuel. I am 20 years old. When I was in my mother's womb, she did not want me to be born, so she hit her belly and took medication to cause a miscarriage, but I was born anyway. However, I was so badly damaged that when I was born I had to be...
My name is Selene. I was born and raised in the countryside by my mother and stepfather. I was sexually abused by my stepfather. I was sleeping in my bed and in the middle of the night I found my stepfather next to me in the bed. I was shouting when he tried to...
My name is Terry. I am 13 years old and an 8th grader at [REDACTED] School. When I grow up, I want to be an engineer and get a well-paying job. My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer a couple of years ago. Before she got ill, she used to work as a washer, hand...
Note: Since this letter was written, Nora has graduated from high school and started studying at University. Everything started when my parents got together. They lived in Zone 18 [of Guatemala City] with my grandmother and my uncles, who lived lives full of luxury...
Greetings. I am Zoe. I am 10 years old and am a fourth grader in [REDACTED] Primary School. I live with 7 of my family members. Our house is always full of laughter and happiness. To an outsider, it would seem like we have everything in the world. I don’t think even...
We have a unique community here at International Samaritan that is made up of 3,000 people across the United States and indeed across the world who have the heart of a Samaritan. We are instruments of change, and we are needed now more than ever.
Our hearts grieve for the death of George Floyd–not just the image of a police officer kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes, but doing so with his hands in his pockets as three other officers passively looked on, often with their hands in their pockets too. And then Mr. Floyd’s pleas for breath, for life, and for his mother.
Mr. Floyd’s horrible death captures so much of the state of our nation during my lifetime, as children of color disproportionately suffer the impact of poverty, their futures dried up in underfunded schools and hollowed out neighborhoods, to face an adulthood where African-Americans are imprisoned at the highest rates in the world.
These facts aren’t new. We have heard the calls for help. We want to do something so that our inaction doesn’t add to the status quo.
On May 31, a good friend and an inspiring man of God in my life, Adewunmi Gbogbobade, wrote on his Facebook page:
Our church leaders on their Facebook pages have acknowledged the incident in a post and moved on. Just like the story of the Good Samaritan, our “Priests” and “Levites” have acknowledged a “people robbed and left half-dead” but they have moved on. The Samaritan…did not just speak but took action and made sure that “a people was nursed back to life”.
His post provoked me as a follower of Jesus. What can I do to live and love more like Jesus in this hour? What can we do, as the Body of Christ, to respond more meaningfully together?
Jesus said that some things only get done by fasting and praying. Upon reading Adewunmi’s post, I began fasting until 6:00 pm every day while praying for an end to injustice in America. I will be doing this for the rest of this week and encourage you to join me for a meal, for a day or through Sunday with me. The biggest changes in my life have come through fasting and prayer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do more.
As the Body of Christ, we are part of an incredible network of people who voluntarily meet at least once a week to live more like Jesus. It is the church, and people of faith, who have led the fight for life and against injustice throughout our nation’s history. Your priest or pastor may be in need of people like you. Please let me encourage you to reach out to yours to ask for or suggest ways in which your church can help.
I am also inviting you to join a book club we will form over Zoom so that we can read and discuss issues that might stretch us. Growth comes from stretching us beyond what makes us comfortable. I’d love to hear your suggestions for a book or thoughts about what else that we can do as a community of people committed to loving our neighbors well. Please reply to this email if you are interested in joining the book club or to let me know what book recommendations or other ideas you have.
These steps aren’t the end of our effort. They are steps intended to move us forward. In making these suggestions, even the very simplest ones, my fervent prayer is that each of us does something, and that what we do leads us to do something more, over and over again, until we make good on the ideals on which this nation was founded.
We have a unique community here at International Samaritan that is made up of 3,000 people across the United States and indeed across the world who have the heart of a Samaritan. We are instruments of change, and we are needed now more than ever. Our hearts grieve...
When we began asking our families to shelter in place two months ago, we didn’t know how they would do that in such close quarters. When we told them we would get them the food and supplies they needed, we weren’t quite clear on how that would happen either. Thank...
Just over a month ago, we asked you and 2,900 other people like you in the International Samaritan community across the world to give money during a time of economic uncertainty. The dual threat of COVID-19 and of starvation hovered over 621 families of our...
Just over a month ago, our team leaders in five nations began telling 621 families who have children in our scholarship program: Stop going to work. Stay home and stay safe. You have friends around the world who will pitch in to make sure you have the food and water...
Last week I wrote to you about the pressing need for food and water for all 621 families we support around the world. Eighty-eight people have responded so far with a total of almost $30,000 in donations. This is amazing and beautiful to me, but it covers the cost of...
Over the past year, I’ve written this reflection 22 times, and I’ve never written with as heavy of a heart as I do now. The Coronavirus has spread across the world and through entire cities like New York and Detroit so quickly and so devastatingly, I shudder to think...
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