September 1, 2011

Tesfa - Korah, Ethiopia

korah. the first time I heard of this place was via the blog world. I heard and saw via video, Sammy tell his story. His story of living on the trash dump of Korah until he was 13 years old. I followed along blogs and videos and images of this place for the past year. But there was no way that I could have been prepared for what God was going to do in my heart when my feet hit the streets.

You see, Korah is a community in Addis Ababba, Ethiopia full of outcasts. It was started as a leper community 75 years ago. Now there are over 3 generations of people living there. "The name Korah came from the idea that the people in the community were cursed" Kari Gibson, aka Mama KiKi, just posted a great blog post about the history of Korah & Sammy. I highly suggest you read it:
The hospital, Alert, that started this whole community is still there today. On our first day at Korah we got the opportunity to visit it. Here is one of the lepers making a beautiful rug. It's amazing what they can do without their fingers. Truly amazing.

back to my trip to Korah. the first day that we stepped on these muddy streets, I felt at home.
I am totally aware that this is a supernatural moment in my life, that is so incredibly hard to put into words. How could a place full of misfit people that most saw as "cursed" be my new friends? But it was. I didn't love them because "I should" or because "we were on a mission trip" or "because everyone else seems to" but I loved them truly and wholly with the love that Jesus gave me to love them. This has been my prayer for some time now, and to see it actually happen, in the flesh, on real children and to see it in a tangible way - it was unbelievable. It had absolutely nothing to do with me. I get no benefit from loving these precious children. I think so many times at home we do things for very selfish reasons. Even if it's subconscious. We invite someone over to dinner, and if we are honest hope that they return the favor. But it says in the word....

Luke 14:12-14

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Great Banquet
12He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[a] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

I remeber Roger asking me that night what I thought of Korah, and I shyly said..I loved it. It felt weird to say you loved a place that seemed so hopeless. But these people aren't hopeless! They have HOPE - TESFA!!!!

The feeling I felt when I was in Korah was amazing and supernatural. Like I've told so many people, in Africa the kids that you are supposed to hang out with just sort of find you right when you get off the bus. And this image above, well this was my crew. Tesfaye, Miluken, Yohannes, Eyob and Y. This was the first day of the trip. These were the boys I hung out with all 3 days in Korah. I hope to tell you more about them in the coming days. They are very special to me!

The picture you are going to see next is one of many that I'll show you. It's the trash dump. Be prepared.

This is the trash dump. It's right next to the community of Korah (which, by the way 130,000 people live in) and it's where most of the kids in the community are sent to find food or other items that could help their family make money. Again, I have so many stories of this day.

But in this post, I really just want you to get an idea of Korah. Of what it is, and who the people are. I want to tell you stories of all the things we did while we were there and the amazing organization we worked with: Project 61. You see, Sumer Yates went to Korah with Visiting Orphans in January of 2010, saw the conditions these kids were living in, visited the dump, and decided that she was going to do something about it! Last year, they got enough sponsors in the USA to get 250 out of the trash dump and into boarding school. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY KIDS! The gift of education, a place to sleep, and 3 meals a day is changing these kid's lives. The key to getting these kids out of Korah & the trash dump is to get them educated.

As much as I want to show you all of the pictures and tell you all of the stories of the kids on the blog right now, I can't. Because we have a more pressing issue. School starts Monday (yes, in 4 days) and there are still kids that need sponsors to be sent to school. These kids have been chosen by members of the community, they've been selected & they know that there is a chance they could go to school. For $750 a year, you could change the course of a kids life & their families lives for generations to come. So, I don't have time right now to show you all the pictures & tell you all the stories, although that WILL come.

I'm asking you to PRAY. and I'm also asking you to give. I'm going to be BOLD and take a RISK.

If you would like to sponsor a child to go to boarding school, visit the Project 61 facebook page that has an album of all the kids who still need sponsors:
If you want to sponsor a child, send an email to Erin (baylor girl!) at
She will send you to a link to fill out info. As a sponsor you can send your child letters, and one day if you visit Korah you could meet them ;)

{Stephen and one of our sponsor girls, Tsion in Korah right after we helped feed the kids lunch}

Aside from sponsoring a child, Project 61 is trying to raise additional money for the supplies these kids need at school. It's not just the cost of school/tuition/boarding/food that they need - books, uniforms, hygiene items, transportation, blankets, towels, after school clothes and opportunities for extracurricular activities. I'll be making a list to show you exactly what they need in the next few days but I couldn't let another day go by without telling you. If you would like to donate to this fund please go here:
The board of directors as set a goal to raise half of what they need for the year by the end of the month. The total need is $45,000 for all of the students for the year- they are half way to making their $10,000 needs to be raised in the next month!

{this is Eyob. My main guy in Korah. This face is on my heart every second}

I have felt such a tug from God since returning home to use every network or connection possible to help these precious kids. I can't let the enemy get me down for one more day! It may not be the perfect blog post, but it's a start. Please start PRAYING about how YOU and YOUR FAMILY can help. It's a great opportunity for those of you with children to tell your children about the children in Africa and let them be a part of making them feel like they have a family who loves them half way around the world.

These people & this place is all I can think about. Not a day has gone by since our trip where I don't think of Eyob or Tesfaye or my precious friends that are getting ready for another year of school. Another year of opportunity. To get out of the dump and get themselves an education! May GOD do a mighty work through our obedience!


  1. Big smile! I can't wait to hear more about Tesfaye! And I know what you mean... how you felt when you got there. I felt the same way when I first went to Haiti. I'm sure Korah will put me over the edge. I know when I meet that sweet boy face to face it will be hard to leave!

    Wanted to let you know, my cousin signed up to sponsor this morning!

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