A few days ago I returned from Ethiopia, where we celebrated the first anniversary of the foundation of Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia (BGTE).
I will share one story of my trip that broke my heart. It's the story of a giant, of a boy, and of a chicken. What do these things have in common? Keep reading ...
The giant is a priest by the name of Teshome. He is unusually tall, at least by my Italian standards. He is the director of our program in Ethiopia. He studied at a Vatican University in Italy, earned a doctorate degree in Canon Law, could have worked at the Vatican in a nice office, but decided to go back to his land to help his people.
Every day, the good giant of our story walks in the rural villages where huts with no water and no electricity are occupied by the poorest, most neglected and forgotten people of Ethiopia. The good giant meets with them and makes sure they are fine.
One day he found a little boy, Temesgen, half naked wearing two different shoes in size and color. To this boy, who is 6, but looks like he is 4, the appearance of a giant dressed in black in the heat of the mid-day must have been scary.
Life had not been good to him. His father abandoned him and his mother was sick and he cared for her. When Father Teshome asked him to join our BGTE program, the boy jumped for joy.
Thanks to BGTE, Temesgen was enrolled in a school, received a new school uniform, matching shoes and even a small subsidy to buy food and medicines for his mother. He also had the opportunity to share his experience during the assemblies with other boys and girls of our program who came from similar situations.
During my visit, Father Teshome told me that about a month earlier Temesgen knocked on his door with a chicken in his arms. “This is for you, Father. You saved my life.”
The giant father kneeled in front of the boy and told him, “Ameseghenallo, thank you. Let's make a deal. You keep the chicken, but you will bring me some eggs.”
A few weeks later, the determined boy knocked again on Father Teshome’s door with ten eggs in his hands, held against his chest. “I kept my promise Father ...” Trying to hold his emotion, Father Teshome told the boy, “We will make another deal today. Sell the eggs at the market and with the money you make, buy some books for you and the other boys and girls.”
Needless to say, Temesgen did that.
This is an example of what your contribution is doing in Italy, where we support more than 100 children; in Ethiopia, where we are supporting more than 400 children, primarily girls; and in India where we are supporting 900 girls and boys. The citizens of our towns grow into caring and contributing members of their community. Like Temesgen, they receive a chance in life and learn to give back and care for others.
It doesn’t matter how tall you are. For these children, you are the unknown good giant providing a chance in life.
Thank you … or as our children in Italy, Ethiopia and India would say… Grazie, Ameseghenallo, Nanni!
P.S. This year A Chance In Life is participating in #GivingTuesday on November 29! Click here to find out how YOU can help children like Temesgen receive a chance in life this holiday season.