Below are fresh journal entries from our team leader in Africa whom recently was sent to deliver aid and life saving meals to villages in Ethiopia. Because of flooding caused by late rains he was forced to have the food distributed by team-members already on the ground in Ethiopia. Instead of packing up he decided to take additional supplies to refugees in Somalia. In this case. disaster to the plan blossomed into an opportunity to deliver much needed food and aid to thousands of refugees.
“Relief work can be like life when things don’t always go according to plan. It’s important to stay flexible and keep your mind on set on the goals. Four weeks of planning and preparation included identifying malnourished children and their families in the Angacha area (South of Addis Ababa), each child had to be carefully weighed and measured, a voucher given to that family (we only select the severe cases that urgently need help) which would entitle them to receive food aid, then came the purchases and transport to the target area followed by delivery and distribution on my arrival.
Everything was in place, food in the stores, recipients arriving with their vouchers, some families walking up to 18 miles to receive food aid (while carrying their sick child). I was up early and headed out for the four-hour drive, it was raining heavily and had been for the past 36 hours in Angacha. The dirt roads were slippery and impossible to drive on, our 4 x 4 slid sideways down a road (as if we were on ice). We waited hoping things would dry out, then news came of a bus that had crashed going off the side of the road down a hill, things were not going according to plan.
The road was impassable and with no other way to reach Angacha we were stuck. Mothers were waiting in the rain for their food, I had to make a call and signal for the distribution to go ahead, this was about helping starving children more than my need to be there (as frustrated as I was), these mothers had walked many hours and miles in the rain to reach the distribution point, I could not send them back empty handed and say come back tomorrow.
It was a long and late trip back, even though the food reached the intended
families I felt couldn’t help but from feeling disappointed for not being there. Tomorrow we would look for a way to help the thousands of refugees close by in the war-torn country of Somalia.”
Stay tuned for our team leaders report from his trip to find and save more starving children, refugees and families in Ethiopia.