Harambee's response to the coronavirus pandemic

We all are concerned about the health, economic & educational consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.  Mostly we focus on the impact in our own lives & the lives of our loved ones.  But there’s another big world out there (besides Italy & France, China, and South America).  Harambee is at the center of pandemic issues in several African countries and we’ve been drawn out of our usual way of doing business.  This is a story about our friends in Ethiopia.  We also have many Grow A Doc & Grow A Nurse graduates & students on the front lines in Kenya, & a project in Zambia dealing with the pandemic.  Stay tuned for more stories soon!

Meanwhile:  Unusual times call for unusual actions.

I received the following from a crippled woman I met selling in the market last year in Lalibela, Ethiopia.  The backstory follows.

Hello my dear how are you? I am happy because of I heard your voices by your son who lives in Lalibela. He is coming at home and tell me about your conditions and he give to me three hundred fifty birr last before four days ago. I am very very happy by all your kindness. My dear I was been at home by the cause of covid 19 pandemic deaths. Believe or not you are reached from my soul last time because of ,if you don't support I was been die. My dear how life very difficult that the last time. Thanks for all.

Your workie Haftie

So here's the story.

I broke the rules.

In Africa, when we're working I never give handouts to individuals. It isn't good policy & I can't know who I'm really dealing with. Any Project Harambee endeavor has to be vetted & must fill the requirement of helping the entire community.

.Last year in Lalibela I met a very nice young fellow working as a waiter at my hotel. The restaurant was empty & we had a nice chat. After I returned home he emailed me from time to time.

Last week he sent an email asking if there was any way I could help him financially. (If you think people here are suffering from the pandemic, you ain't seen nuthin' til you've visited a really poor and congested area in another country.)

Well, his email made me quite uncomfortable. I wasn't going to answer.

But I did. I told him I was sending $50 for his family.

I thought about it, and decided to send $100. He could keep half, and he had to find the poorest of the poor and distribute the rest, to be used for food. It would be a one-time gift & no one was to know it came from me--just from "a well-wisher in the U.S.A." I could only trust him. I had one particular person I wanted him to find--a woman running a small craft shop I'd met twice during my visits there. I knew she would be needy & I told him to give her $10.

I received that email above this week. I don't know how she found out about me, but maybe she guessed from the business card I left with her.

Sometimes you can't let rules get in the way of doing the right thing.

And the young man I sent the funds to? It turns out he's married, with 2 small children & a pregnant wife. Here's what he wrote. I read it and wept. I am praying for a miracle of loaves & fishes for those poor people.

Dearest Kathleen,

Your kindness can't be expressed and I will never get the chance to express my heartily gratitude for everything. Your generosity and kindness is truly touching and allows to interact with and learn from considerate people like you, a chance that is one of highest privileges one could expect. You are the role model of myself to be through such commitments and will always be through such humanitarian activities. Thank you again for every single encouragement, i and the family got enough food to survive in this dire situation and you have saved the whole family from being starved and facing critical situation. Of course, you have also helped this disadvantage people and you will surely get the reward from the heaven lord.

As you have said, i have selected the poorest of the poorest and i shared the USD for nine people. I asked to pray and prayed to the name kathelen and they are so happy and aslo if you are send to me your husband name they will pray to him. I also gave 10USD to your friend and she is very happy and send cordial gratitude for every single encouragement and motivation. I have attached pictures as you can see.

Well, i am using help to buy foods. I have 2 children . 1men and 1women and i always worried to them.

Unlikely, the pandemic is increasing rapidly and over 800 peoples founded as infected in less than a week. That brought tension in the lifestyle of the majorities and there are rumors as it will increase during the summer season and there are rumors saying that the declared state of emergency will be extended if the pandemic increases. So storing enough food is good and i am doing that. I and the family will survive for a while and i am sending gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

Please know that I am always with you at this awkward times and I keep you in my prayers to be fine!!

May God’s Grace Shield you and the entire families from the current Epidemic Virus and troubles!!!!

Indeed, I do have no word to describe your kindness and your personal prospect. As no way I can make a reward for everything you are doing, I always pray the lord to represent me and make the reward for where you are did to me. Of course, you are doing what you can and God will do what you can’t!!! in fact, it is because of you I have understand the meanings of life treasure, as to my understanding the meanings of life treasures are helping each other and living.

Please know that I am always with you at this awkward times and I keep you in my prayers to be fine!!

May God’s Grace Shield you and the entire families from the current Epidemic Virus and troubles!!!!

Please convey my cordial regard to everyone nearby!

I wish you long live,long live and prosperity!!




Please click on attachments below to see photos.