IFTU | Rising in the East – Ethiopia
Rolling hills turn into towering mountains as we move into the eastern Oromia region towards Dire Dawa. As the sun creeps over the hills – people unleash their sheep, cows, and camels to find water. On a similar morning almost two years ago, Nuria walked to her cow tied up just outside the back of the house. Before she reached the cow, she heard the faint cry of a little girl, left wrapped in suit jacket just outside her home – she couldn’t have been more than 2 months old. Nuria picked up the teary bundle and held her close to rid the morning chill. She wrapped the bundle tight, and heated a bottle of milk and sugar. For almost four months, Nuria cared for and loved this girl. Her four grown children had already blessed Nuria with the title of grandmother, but this special bundle, Iftu (brightness), had carved a niche into Nuria’s heart. She became sick, and was struggling to care for the needs of a growing infant. Eventually, at the insistence of her children and neighbors, she handed Iftu over to the care of an orphanage. It was one of the hardest, most selfless things Nuria would ever do.
Before her first birthday, Iftu would journey almost 500 km to the capital city of Addis Ababa where, on a warm December day she was placed into the arms of her forever family. This morning, the women who have sacrificed most for her in this world met…