How can I even begin to explain the work that Embracing Hope is doing. It's truly incredible. Single moms and dads through this organization are able to bring their children to day care and/or school while they pursue employment. Often in this culture mothers are left with the children - when a father is unable to provide for the family, he may decide to leave rather than watch his family starve. Women die in childbirth or due to HIV-related illness and their husbands are left coping with providing and caring for the children. If the single parent is unable to work, the children starve. If the parent is able to work, the children are abandoned. So single parents are left with impossible choices, much like in our culture. Here though, many are left in this position without family to take them in, with out friends who are doing well enough to take them in. So their choice becomes a matter of life and death.
We heard the story of a mom who has HIV and was working to feed her children, she was not taking the ARV meds to help treat her HIV so she was at risk of developing deadly illnesses every day. Embracing Hope encouraged her to begin treatment, but she resisted. She explained that she had heard that the HIV treatment medications may make you sicker for the first two months of treatment. This is true. She said, if I don't work we all starve so I'll take my chances. Embracing Hope offered to cover her mortgage and feed her family while she began the treatment, she accepted. 30 days later she came back and said thank you I am well enough to return to work.
For many moms and dads something as simple as the ability to bring their children to day care provides an opportunity for them to go out and get a job. Rather then resort to begging or prostitution they are able to seek work with dignity, like making injera, selling milk, or chiseling cobblestones. Often the work available for women is construction day labor, they carry unbelievable heavy loads of construction materials for miles to deliver them to a work site. They may make as much as a dollar a day doing this type of labor. These circumstances seem impossible to me, faced with these type of decisions, I believe I might give up. Yet these women, by God's grace are delighted - they are thrilled with the opportunity, they are thankful for the work. I heard zero complaints from them as they spoke about their lives. What I did hear was their absolute praise and thankfulness to God! What an amazing example to me, Lord teach me to be like these women.