As I sat staring at this tear-filled, yet smiling face, I was unsure of how to even respond to this woman whose circumstances were incomprehensible. Her life had been surrounded by death, tragedy and rejection. When she awoke each day, her choice wasn’t, “What am I going to wear today?” but rather “In order to live today, will prostitution be my only option to survive?” My surprise came as she completed her story and offered her reason for the tears…pure thankfulness and joy. But how could that be?
In Ethiopia, women often think prostitution is their only hope because of lack of family support and income. Through the Women At Risk project in Nazaret, Ethiopia supported by Mocha Club, this woman was being rehabilitated through a program for former prostitutes or “sex workers” and had completely changed her circumstances from hopeless, to full of hope and promise.
This genuine soul became a great friend in the one week we visited Nazaret during our month-long journey. Obviously, I learned so much from this woman’s precious life: first, that what truly matters is not what I own or what I have achieved. Second, no matter the circumstance, there is to still reason to rejoice. Lastly, true joy is found when we look up rather than within.
There were eleven other women at the Women At Risk center whose life stories were similar to the one described above. Each life restored one-by-one thanks to Mocha Club members all over.
Each life that our group encountered along the way blessed us in countless ways, whether it was a group of rehabilitated prostitutes or the one hundred street boys in the town of Ambo. It seemed as if we had been given so much more than we could have ever attempted to give them.
Danielle was on our month-long Mocha Club Ethiopia trip from July 8th-August 9th, 2009.
First photo courtesy of Indie Jane Photography.