From Desperation to a Joy-filled Life

A mother is able to provide for her family with the help of Holt International’s family preservation program

Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director

An excerpt from Brian’s Travel Diary while in Ethiopia.

Messenich in 2008
Messenich recieving a micro-loan to start a small coffee selling business.

Durame, Ethiopia—I met an old friend today. Not an old friend from my childhood or college. Rather, a friend I encountered on my first trip to Ethiopia in February of 2008. Messenich is a smiling, healthy mother of two delightful daughters today, but this was not the reality when we met in 2008. Holt International had just introduced our family preservation services to the Durame and Shinshicho areas in southern Ethiopia. Recently widowed and the mother of three daughters, Messenich’s situation had been brought to Holt’s attention after her youngest daughter had been relinquished into Holt’s care. I traveled with two social workers to Messenich’s home to see what we could do to help preserve the remaining family and give them hope for a better future.

When I traveled there for the first time, I remembered thinking that Messenich’s home was tidy and the structure was sound and sturdy. The sturdiness of the home, however, was the only stability this mother had. In poor health and with almost no food to provide her children, Messenich waited for us in her dimly lit home, sitting politely with her hands folded and her eyes down-turned. As she spoke about her children and retold her story to the social workers,

Messenich's Daughters 08I watched her through the camera lens. I saw expressions of hopelessness and desperation move across her features as she tried to describe her very limited options. I remained hidden behind the camera, the salty moisture in my eyes blurring my vision. This was a mother on the edge of having any remaining appearance of family-life totally slip through her fingers like loose sand.

That was in 2008. Today, because of the help that Holt has provided, Messenich has a smile on her face as she rushes to the gate to meet us. Her daughters quickly bound around the courtyard. Nearly as tall as Messenich, these children are full of life, joy and confidence. Through our family preservation efforts Messenich and her daughters are pictures of success and vitality.

Messenich received a micro-loan and started buying coffee to process. From the funds gained through this venture, she purchased cows and sheep to sustain her family and continue receiving income. She is now healthy and active in her community, and her daughters are now in school, in good health and receiving plenty to eat.

Holt Ethiopia Director, Dr. Fikru Geleso tells me that this family is now ready to cycle out of the family preservation program and continue to succeed on their own.

Messenich has frequently occupied my prayers for the past two years and today I had the privilege to see how God has used Holt International to lift up this mother and preserve this family.

You can participate in this kind of blessing this Mother’s Day. Give a Gift of Hope through Holt International’s Gifts of Hope catalog and provide some basic necessities to help get a family back on their feet and give them a brighter future.


One Reply to “From Desperation to a Joy-filled Life”

  1. Very inspiring story. Wish there was a way to promote such stories – I”m sure lots more people would commit when knowing what a difference their financial contributions can make to keeping families together. I think I’ll look into the “Become a Holt Ambassador” link to see how I can help spread the word.

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