Kendi Anderson, a previous AIDS Care and Treatment Project intern, wrote a brief reflection of her return trip to Addis. I think you will enjoy it, and have posted it below:
I was able to return to Ethiopia exactly one year after I left. Leaving Ethiopia the first time, after living there for seven months, I had a lot of doubts about what the future held for the people I worked with through the Project.
During my time in Ethiopia I saw many people make progress and regain health through the Project, but I also watched several kids slip away. I flew away from Addis a year ago scared about what would happen to the people I loved and wondering if I would ever see them again.
Flying back into Ethiopia the second time I did not know what to expect. I knew I was going to be at the wedding of some good friends and that I would get to stay with other dear friends and catch back up on their lives, but when it came to the Project I tried to have no expectations, because of my apprehensive heart.
This second time that I flew out of Ethiopia I looked out the window with a sense of hope. I was encouraged by what I saw and by this one story in particular.
When I was in Addis working with the Project there was a mother and daughter who were both dying of HIV. The mother was on medicine and regaining health, but she refused to put her sick daughter on the drugs that would restore her life. Her daughter was rapidly losing her strength and her childhood and after having to rush her to the hospital one afternoon the Project decided that it was time to talk to the mother more strongly about saving her daughter’s life by beginning her on ARVs.
It was a couple month process of me visiting these two friends and pleading with the mother to save her daughter’s life. Slowly, she began to understand that I cared about her daughter and would not ask her to do this if I did not believe it would make her better.
I left just as this mother was beginning to help her daughter take her ARVs and I was excited to watch the progression in her daughter’s health in the few months I was there, but nervous that after I left her mother would become hesitant to continue providing her daughter the medication she needed.
Going to visit them on my return trip I was scared at what I might see when I stepped into their house. I did not want to see the daughter stuck in bed again, malnourished, and afraid. I was blessed to walk into the house and have the mother go running up and down the street looking for her daughter who was now able to come home from school and go play outside with her friends. I got to see a healthy family who was taking their medication properly and who were able to live life amidst their HIV.
The Project is changing lives and I am honored to have been able to work with them and come back and visit. How arrogant of my heart to leave a place and fear that God’s work would leave it too, when actually during my time away He has been actively working through the Project and I am so thankful that He allowed for me to come back and see His goodness in the midst of such blatant brokenness.