Report from sister Hatune`s last travel in 2016 to Ethiopia
The last trip this year has led me to one of the poorest countries in the world, Ethiopia. From the 16th to the 22nd of December I was in the cities of Addis Ababa and Gonder to provide help for the poorest and most deprived.
Ethiopia is the island of Christianity
Ethiopia with its capital Addis Ababa, is a predominantly Christian country. Already in the 3rd century the people converted to Christianity and Ethiopia is therefore one of the oldest Christian countries on the African continent. Ethiopia was never colonialized by the Europeans and today Christians still form a 70% majority. The Muslim population is about 30 percent. But Ethiopia is like a Christian island in the middle of Muslim countries, such as Sudan and Somalia. Recently, conversions to Islam have increased, especially among the poor as it happens in many places around the world.
Unfortunately, the gap between the many poor and few rich people in this country is huge. And so we had set ourselves the goal of giving a Christmas present to the poorest of the poor this year. The Sister Hatune Foundation in Ethiopia is headed and organized from Dubai, but on the ground, auxiliary structures are formed step by step by our volunteers.
From Jesus – through me
Near my hotel in Addis Ababa was the so-called Cathedral, the Marienkirche, my first destination after my arrival. Almost a hundred yards around the church hundreds of white-clad deeply religious people gathered. An impressive sight! Frightening the large number of the homeless, whom I gave some money as a Christmas present, about 20 Euros, into the hand and told them ‘this is from Jesus through me’.
Afterwards, I briefly visited the National Museum of Addis Ababa. The skeleton of ‘Lucy’, who is regarded as the mother-mother of modern humans and whose bones are 2.3 million years old, has been exhibited here since 2013.
My next goal was St. Stephan’s Church, where a lot of young people live – the poorest of the poor. I also wanted to do good for them at Christmas according to the motto of my trip ‘Celebrating Christmas with the poor’. I gave money to the sick, so that they could go to the hospital by taxi and be treated. My volunteers promised to see to it. The fate of a 22-year-old girl touched me most. After her mother had died, she was completely on her own. My helpers and I made the decision to bring this girl to Germany to give her a protected life. But until we get the exit papers she will stay in a room that we have rented for her and she can hopefully go on her trip to Germany in March or April.
Help to help themselves in Gonder
The next day I flew 700 kilometers to the north, to the city of Gonder in the Amhara region. Accompanied by my assistant Michael I met with Father Gabriel to plan who we could help by whatever means.
As the first woman of the Church I met the Bishop of Gonder and explained to him our plan “to build a strong bridge between the rich and the poor with the help of God.” The bishop is a humble man and manages about 5,000 municipalities. He gave us tips and ideas on how to help best.
We decided to help the poorest and most vulnerable with food, water and medical help. But then also giving aid, helping them to help themselves by cultivating vegetables and cereals in the long term. It occurred to us that people had no idea what to do with the fertile ground. About 90 million people are living in Ethiopia, most of them on the countryside. The country is actually fertile and could be managed productively with the right aids, with wells and seeds.
Our next project should also be under the motto of self-help. We want to generate prosperity in society through education. Computer courses, sewing schools, the house of the sisters should continue this further education. We expect this to be a kind of knock-on effect that also sweeps over into other parts of the country, thus also pushing back the influence of Islam, which mainly turns to poor Christians and converts them.
The priestly seminar in Gonder is to become a further project of the Foundation. The future priests are living in unimaginable poverty, without electricity and water, some lying on plastic mats, others in 4-5 beds in a room. Through donations, we could provide carpets or mattresses to make the hard living conditions a little more human.
In Gonder there is a volunteer team on the ground that provides great help. We were able to help 115 families with food and will continue to stay tuned in the future. A project that is very dear to us is the construction of a school. We need donations to finance this project.
Back in Addis Ababa there was also a visit to the German embassy on my itinerary. Although the Ambassador was not present, the staff told me that they were proud of the foundation and that they wanted to help.
The final day was a general meeting of the foundation members where we also discussed future projects. For example, we want to support an orphanage in which 270 girls are cared for by religious nurses. In particular, we need financial support from Germany. We would like to give further help to the priestly seminar, for construction projects, well construction and training.
And now a word for the New Year 2017
Dear friends, we would like to ask you again for donations for these projects in Ethiopia. I wish you all peace and joy in 2017 with the hope that the New Year will be more peaceful than the last one. Jesus is the reconciler, who loves all men alike and gives peace to all.
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