Sister Virginias community received $43,000 in four installments to buy food for hungry people in Adigrat and nearby villages. CNEWA funds purchased wheat, cooking oil, lentils, bread, cooked corn, fruit, milk, sugar and coffee. Babies, diabetics and tuberculosis patients were given milk and teff, a grain used to make injera, the traditional bread of the region. Coffee, a favored beverage that allays hunger, was available for the blind, the aged and the sick. By following up on children enrolled at St. Lucy School, the sisters were able to help about 2,000 youngsters, including siblings of students enrolled there. These youngsters were also given daily rations of either bread or cooked corn. If children from the villages surrounding Adigrat are included, more than 5,000 children were helped.
In one remote village, Sister Virginia wrote, children had to walk for three or four hours to get to school. Weakened by hunger, many were forced to drop out. Thanks to CNEWAs donors, these children were able to return to school and finish the school year.
In a letter to Brother Vincent, Sister Virginia said that help had arrived at just the right time.
You cannot imagine the hope you gave them, she wrote. One case involved a lady with a paralyzed husband, four children and nothing to feed them. She was on the verge of committing suicide. You saved her.
Unfortunately, it was too late for a man, who took his life, leaving behind a wife and 10 children.
Many of the people helped shed tears of joy and could not stop giving blessings when they received their tickets, Sister Virginia reported in another letter.
Sister Lettebrhan Ghebreyesus, Regional Superior of the Capuchin Sisters in Asmara, Eritrea, reported that their grant of $10,000 was used to purchase emergency supplies of flour, milk and sugar. Due to the lack of food, many were already malnourished when the grant arrived. One and a half million Eritreans had been displaced by the war, which in many areas started so suddenly they had to flee without any of their belongings, she said.
The Comboni Missionary Sisters in Asmara received $15,000, which was used to assist the displaced and starving. Women, children and the elderly were given special consideration, Sister Nighisti Meheretab, Provincial Superior, reported. The grant, given in two installments, was a welcome surprise, she stated, because although the need was great the religious community had not asked CNEWA for assistance.
Ten months after our appeal, Brother Vincent wrote recently, we have almost finished the funds that were given so generously by our donors. I do not remember anything we have done that has been so successful.
The New York office, the Addis Ababa and Asmara offices and the donors formed a partnership that helped thousands of people in desperate need. They would not have been helped had not CNEWA stepped in. For me, it was a great act of teamwork.
Hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia have halted, at least for the moment, and the emergency has been met. Hopefully the cease-fire will be permanent. But hunger is no stranger in Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the need for teamwork continues.
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Tags: Ethiopia Eritrea Hunger Drought Brother Vincent Pelletier