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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
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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...
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 just less than half our families at $100 per family for a month. I’m writing to you now to ask those of you who can to help us get another 300 families covered.
Your support matters. In developing communities across the world, the lack of work and food caused by government ordered shutdowns is causing unrest and uncertainty because of how many people survive daily in the informal economies. We have assured the 621 families in the International Samaritan community that this is not a fear that they need to face, and our teams in each nation are making good on that promise, delivering supplies to them at regular intervals. Please help us and them by CLICKING HERE to support one or more families at $100 per month per family.
To get a sense of how much your gift matters, please see the clear relief evident in the smiles of families in Honduras who received their supplies over the last couple weeks.
The video above was created and narrated by Juan David, a high school student in our scholarship program. Some of you may be familiar with his name because he did an interview with us in 2017, which we’ve included below. Fourteen years ago, Juan David was abandoned by his mother in the garbage dump outside of San Pedro Sula shortly after she gave birth to him there. A helpless infant, he faced certain death within hours, but for a few Samaritans who saw him and ran to the village to find someone who would care for him. An angel named Rosa stepped forward, and she has been the only mother he has ever known to this day. Their family has had food on the table, and Juan David has had a good school to attend, because of Samaritans like you who have financially supported our mission through the years.
There are more than 300 families who still need support in this very vulnerable time. Please help them by CLICKING HERE to learn more or to donate today via the button below.
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...
Every two weeks, I send this email to reflect on challenges and victories in our mission together. Today I thought it would be helpful to simply send updates on how each nation is doing in our shared goal of defeating the Coronavirus. Ethiopia Ethiopia, like most...
“We would get to the dump at 4:00 in the morning to get food to eat.” We hear this frequently when talking to families in the garbage dump communities. Invariably, they say this as a simple matter of fact, much like we might say, “I leave the house at 7:00 in the...
Our team gathered recently for a two-day retreat to update our strategic plan. One of the questions we were trying to answer is what we should do in Costa Rica and smaller communities in Guatemala where we have been sending student immersion teams but do not have...
The death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others last Sunday stunned me, as it did the world. As I read and watched the stories about his legacy over this past week, what struck me most is that he went to Mass at 7:00 on Sunday morning, shortly before boarding...
International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.