From the Rev. Jimmy Taylor….Chaplain in the United States Air Force….he is describing the mission he experienced in Ethiopia. If you are interested in helping with this mission, please let me know and I will direct you to the Facebook page. Thank you, in advance, for your help!
A few weeks ago I walked in to a hospital in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. The conditions in Ethiopia are better than they are in many other African nations but still low by any standards we are used to seeing in the States.
I walked with our guides in to a room where a Christian medical missionary, whose home I had visited the night before, was teaching a room of his medical residents. No exaggeration, there were pigeons in the room. I got pooped on twice from pigeons. But the class continued on while discussing x-rays.
Then we walked into the children’s ward of the hospital. And this is when my heart broke. Dozens of sick children surrounded by their very desperate families. The walls had obviously been painted at some point in the last few years and had the Mickey Mouse characters on the wall to prove it. But there were other spots were the paint was peeling and the plaster was breaking apart. And then I saw something I wasn’t expecting. I noticed that not many families had sheets or linens on their beds. I asked about the linens. Families are required to bring their own blankets and sheets. Considering sheets were not covering the mattresses, it was then that I started seeing the conditions of the mattresses these children sleep on. All of them, without fail, are well past their expiration date.
They are cracking, falling apart. They are covered in stains from bodily fluids of children who have used those mattresses before. As a parent, I would be very opposed to placing my child on a mattress like this. But then again if I didn’t have a choice, I don’t know what else I would do.
So, I left the room, I was fighting back my tears. I was really overwhelmed by the pain I saw in the eyes of these families. And for them to be without the simple dignity of a mattress upon which to lay down their child was more than my little heart could take.
I left the hospital and asked the missionary doctor if I were to purchase some linens and some washing machines, would that be helpful. While he admitted it would be helpful, it just isn’t sustainable.
And then I asked about the mattresses. How much to replace the mattresses?! After weeks of waiting for an answer, a missionary with this organization finally was able to get the response. To purchase a water proof mattress and have it shipped to Ethiopia would cost close to $175 each. There are 40 mattresses. $7,000 to provide mattresses for what will impact hundreds of patients per year.
So, what am I asking? If I were to make an attempt to raise $7,000, what would you recommend I do? I basically need 70 people to donate $100. Or I need 100 people to donate $70. Or, I need 200 people to donate $35. The missionary has a Facebook page and Facebook allows users to donate funds, tax deductible, through its page, that goes directly to the organization.