She calls me mother
Through the eyes of a woman in Ethiopia:
I didn't want that seed forced into me, tearing through the membrane of my body and my soul. It hurt, infecting me with a disease of self-hatred and a disease of death. How could her life start this way? This tiny embryo forced into being, finding a place to unfurl in an infected body. I felt her stretch into the space inside me, making it her home, her dark sanctuary.
Her birth came with a long howl, erupting from deep within me. All the anguish flowing out in noise as she slipped between my legs, echoing her own helpless cry. I looked at this child of mine, so frail, yet so perfect, so demanding, so vulnerable, and I wept long, hot tears for her life and for mine. This miracle of life was placed into my weary arms and attached to my aching breast, sucking the tainted life out of me. I clung her to my heart feeling the weight of all that she was and gazed upon her perfection.
I called her Hana because she brings happiness to me - happiness in the face of despair. I have felt the weakness of my body as the disease starts to take hold and I look at my daughter and wonder what will be become of her. She cries at night because she is hungry and I can't feed her. I hold her to my empty breast listening to her cry herself to sleep and I breathe in the dust from the mud as I stretch my blanket under me. I dream of her dying in my arms and then the dream will change and it's me that dies, her emaciated arms stretched out over me. Who knows how this story will end. It began with pain. Will it end with the tearing open of my soul?
What about if this story really did have a happy ending? What about if this mother had access to the following resources?
- Medical checkups
- Food supplements and nutritional counseling
- Instruction in reading and writing
- Life-skills and vocational training
- Spiritual mentoring and discipleship
Compassion's Child Survival Program is fighting poverty on behalf of unborn babies and vulnerable infants.
This is Alem's story:
Alem lives with her husband and five children in the community of Wolkite. Alem makes enjera to sell on the roadside and her husband works as a day laborer, but even with both jobs, they only make enough to support their most basic needs. When Alem’s last child, Sara, was born two years ago, she was undernourished and had it not been for the intervention of the Welkite Mekane Yesus CSP, she would have died.
Alem and Sara attend the CSP regularly and Sara is now a happy, healthy two-year-old. At the center, Alem enjoys fellowship with the other mothers and has learned a lot from her interactions with them.
Poverty kills. Love heals.