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A Day in Ethiopia - October, 2008

On a busy street corner

A mother sleeps covered in a tattered blanket

A young child sits smiling by her head

Playing with the dirt all around


A huge crevasse in the road

Bubbles with stagnant poisonous water

An orange floats in the slimy green liquid


A butcher shop stands opposite

Sides of meat hang

Covered in flies


Minivans all painted blue and white

Filled to overflowing with people

Cars and trucks all converge into narrow openings


Women, children and men

So many supported only by a wooden crutch

As their wasted limbs are useless

Or they have nothing but stumps


Why, why can this happen


We turn up a cobbled stone street

Rusted and torn corrugated iron sheets stand side by side

Behind them shelters made of mud and sticks

Women arranging grasses and peppers on sacks to dry


We weave our way through the narrow street

Narrowly missing women and their young children

Then we stop


Hope lay behind the large iron gates

A local organization doing so much

But in a country where it is still so little

We hear about their excellent work

Their commitment, the volunteers

They reach the ‘lucky’ ones


Beyond that large green door

What about them

They don’t exist without an ID card

So they can’t get help

These are the invisible

The poorest of poor


We drive away encouraged by the good work

But then look around and know

In our hearts it is nothing


The homeless still lay on the sides of the street

Among goats and dirt and squaller

Many sick and dying

With no-one to care

Young mothers with children

Beg at the door


We know we must help

But how much do we care

What sacrifices do we make

We give but at what cost to ourselves


We lay in our warm comfortable beds at night

Our hunger satisfied

Knowing we are loved


But our brothers and sisters

Lay hungry and cold

Not even knowing love

And the comfort of a bed when they are sick

Just the cold concrete floor


What do we do?



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Wilmington,
North Carolina

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