Ethiopia: ADRA Restores Hope to Hopeless Village
Article Reprint – Hannah Ndungu works as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the ADRA Africa Regional Office. In this article, Ndungu shares an experience of how ADRA’s work restored hope to one Ethiopian village.
SILVER SPRING, Md. – In Kelafo Woreda-Somali Region of Ethiopia, lies a small village called Hargududo. The village of about 200 households whose inhabitants largely consist of agro-pastoralists are full of praise and sheer unbridled joy for what with very little words termed ‘a lifeless village alive again.’ I together with my colleagues from ADRA International drove more than 120 miles (200km) to reach this village where the ADRA Network supported the local community with emergency interventions on water, veterinary services, and supplementary livestock feeding.
Zooming along a stretch of land full of sand, our eyes could only see bare terrain in all directions, until bumping into a small village called, Hargududo. There wasn’t much happening in the village, elders were seated playing the traditional game of chess while children were walking nonchalantly. As we stopped our car along the road, we immediately saw the elders walking briskly to receive us while the children – full of renewed life and energy – ran towards the car keenly peering to see what was inside.
Just across the road, there was a small open thatched house. The village elder led us there with welcoming greetings from three other elders. Within minutes, the youth, men, and a few women joined us in the small yet very welcoming abode. As is the common norm in these parts, the floor was prepared and everyone sat longing to hear what ADRA’s mission in that area would be. Within a minute, a glass with hot Somali shaa (sweetened tea) was served to each of us. After the round of introductions, the explanation from the ADRA team as to the reason for our visit was graciously applauded.
The elders’ sentiments were full of appreciation towards what ADRA is doing for the village – giving life to a village that was going through dark moments. Because of drought, the community lost a large proportion of its economic mainstay – livestock, particularly goats. “Our women and children were weak, which forced them to move to displaced person camps in order to receive relief food. This was a very painful decision we had to make, but it was better than watching them suffer here due to lack of food and water,” adds one elder, with a sad and forlorn look on his face.
At that time, the search for water and pasture was complicated because the neighboring villages had not recovered from the previous drought. Families started their journey in search of land that was unaffected by the drought. However, the moment word went around that ADRA had come to their village, those same families returned back home. ADRA provided villagers with water for domestic and livestock use, in addition to livestock feed and treatment for livestock.
The elder affirmed his words with a Somali proverb, “the man who can jump the length of a walking stick can jump a situation. Thank you ADRA for your kind assistance, and may your good deeds continue touching others.” He concluded, and took a final swig of his shaa.
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