April 10, 2012
This October will be the 4th year that my husband and I have gone to Ethiopia with International Crisis Aid. After that first trip, our church Watermark Church in Ashford, AL has put together a team to go every year. From the very 1st time we were convinced that this is the place, this is the organization where we need to send our funds and spend our time. We had just been blessed with our 2 of our grandchildren that year and when we got off the bus in Angatcha at ICA's Medical Clinic and seeing, touching so many starving babies was shocking to say the least. It was very humbling to know that at home our babies had plenty to eat and health care while so many died from lack of food and simple care. ICA is making a difference. I know because the following year and every year since we get to see the babies and children who the year before were near death and now are smiling little miracles. One of the greatest things we get to participate in while in Ethiopia with ICA is work at their orphanage. The 17 girls and their house mothers have become a large part of our lives. We get to work a good part of each week in Ethiopia at the orphanage. We have played with and been loved by each girl. It's a blessing to see each one growing up to be strong Ethiopia women. While we are at the orphanage we have done projects like, building a fence and playground for the girls and we've painted the entire building inside. One of the best times we have is when we get to take the girls shoe shopping. Each year our church takes up money to buy each girl new shoes. Loading up 17 girls, their house moms and all of the volunteers is a job in it's self. ICA does a great job in making sure each one has a great time shopping. Just like little girls all over the world they like to shoe shop! By far the hardest and most rewarding time spent in Ethiopia has been working with the girls who are caught in sex trafficking. There is no way I can begin to tell you what the "red light" district in Addis Abba looks, feels, and smells like. These young girls most start at the age of 11 or younger are not in this place because they want to be. It is an evil that Pat Bradley the founder of ICA decided had to be stopped. He and ICA are making a difference, one young life at a time. ICA has opened Safe Homes for the girls that are being rescued. Those young women are given, health care, what ever school they need, training in several different trades and most important love. Meeting the young women and girls, hearing their stories and then seeing them grow over the last 4 years has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. They know hope. ICA has other note worthy programs that you can check out on their website. They are an example of what a GREAT NGO should look like. Their administrative cost are purposely kept low in order that most of their funds go to the programs. Over 90% go to the actual programs, like feeding, health care, safe homes, orphan care and others. I know my life and many others have been changed for good in the most positive way since I accepted the gift of Jesus.
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