One of my least favorite chores is grocery shopping. I am not a good meal planner so I tend to wing it at the store. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done my meal planning in the grocery store aisle based on what I see in front of me or when I have Googled a recipe on my phone. Thank goodness for my smart phone!
I know that planning ahead makes all the difference in the world. It really is a luxury to have the ability not to plan and my family is still well fed. However, Bizunesh doesn’t have that convenience. She’s a widow who lives in southern Ethiopia. I had the privilege of meeting her in April 2015.
In June 2013, Bizunesh was one of 35 widows who received a cow and sheep as part of an animal husbandry project. Our partner, Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC), in Shanto, Ethiopia facilitated the project.
When I entered her home she began to praise Jesus over and over, thanking him for the wonderful gift of livestock she had received. She proudly showed me the cow and sheep. I asked if she had any livestock prior to this project, her answer was no. She explained that this gift was life changing. She now had daily milk for her two children, milk to sell (which gave her an income), and finally, both her animals had given birth. Her plans were to wait until the calf was full grown and then take it to market to sell. It would bring between $150 and $200 USD. She showed me the holes in her roof and explained that she planned to use the money to do much needed repair to her home.
Becoming a widow in these rural farming communities can be devastating. It is very difficult for these women to continue farming at the same level as before. Bizunesh’s husband was a farmer and the main provider; however, Bizunesh does have a very small farm. She grows corn, false banana, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes. In Ethiopia, the climate allows them to plant three times a year. Most of the food she grow is for her family to eat but she does sell some of it at the local market.
It is so hard for me to imagine this way of life, especially when I often run to the grocery store without a plan — yet my family is well fed. It was humbling to sit in this precious widow’s home, to see her joy and praise to God for His good gifts. In the abundance surrounding me I struggle to remember I have so much to be thankful for. I am ashamed to say I often whine about grocery shopping. Woman like Bizunesh challenge me to be grateful, live simply, give more, and obey my call as a follower of Jesus to care for orphans and widows in their distress.
Partners With Ethiopia is committed to serving widows in southern Ethiopia through our partnership with FOVC. We have an exciting upcoming widow’s crop project. If you would like more information on donating to this project or funding it, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.