A desperate letter from a widow

I want to apologize up front for this, it is raw, and emotional. But I think it is important to share. I hope that this helps us all understand why the kind of work that Bring Love In is doing with widows and orphans here in Ethiopia is so important.

I am in the poor family, I have two kids / children, their father died in the past two year ago with there are now two kids.

The letter begins, it is written in scrawled almost illegible handwriting. Tigist who hands it to me undoubtedly sought out the help of a friend to write the letter since it is English, a language she does not speak. She gave it to me just as we were leaving our house a few days ago, her two small children were standing by her side, both of them still wearing the clothes and shoes that I gave to them nearly two weeks ago.

I have having many problems, such as I can’t feed my children and I can’t take care of them, or take them to school because of a shortage of money, in the mean time, we are in danger, everything is dark for us.

I hold the letter in my hand, trying to read the messy writing, but her eyes say more than the words on the page ever could. She is tired, worn out, done struggling, and desperate for a way out.

So, we need help from you. If you can please take my kids and do whatever you like with them, or else give your any support my dear. And let me have some relief.

God save you!


Thank you,

I lower the page and look back up at her eyes, my hands are shaking as my mind races, wondering how she could be so desperate, how in a world where so many of us have so much can a woman like this be at the point where she is ready to give her children to a family she only recently met.

Why? I want to scream out at God. Why?!

I ramble off something in broken Amharic to Tigist about how we are going to try to help, how we do not want to take her children, but we want her to keep them. “Soon” I say as I look deep into her longing, aching eyes.

She thanks me and shakes my hand, her left hand resting on her own wrist and her head bowing low in the traditional Ethiopian sign of respect.  “Please” She adds, almost under her breath. “Please”

A few days later Yabi and I spend a few moments talking with Tigist. “We are here to talk with you about how we can help you” I say as I gesture to Yabi, who explains to her that we are extending an invitation to her family to be a part of our family sponsorship program. The program is a part of the project where we will support families in the local community with monthly food items, and help with their rent and basic needs. Also, for the families who have shown especially good money management skills we will offer small business loans so they can get on their feet financially. It is something that we can give to mothers who are in a desperate situation, but are not necessarily a good fit to come and be a house mother in one of our homes. Tigist is the first to be given an invitation to be a part of the newly started program.

Tigist smiles, kisses my hand and thanks us.

“God bless you” She says with a glowing smile on her face.

I pray that her story hits us right in the heart, gets us up and ready to act, ready to take on the needs of widows just like her, who want to keep their children but feel so beat down and overwhelmed by the struggles of this world that they are considering the unthinkable.

Without our help how long would it be before Tigist gives up young Susena and Eyob? Months, weeks, or maybe a few years (if she is lucky)? What kind of simple sickness would it take to tear this family apart?

Tigist is the reason we are here, people in her situation or children who came from a family just like hers. Children who were abandoned by mothers who gave up, or maybe died.

Bring Love In is here to give hope to families that are desperate, and family to those who have none.

Sorry if I am getting emotional, this letter in my hand is hard to read, the truth of her desperation more than I have the strength to face.

Please pray with me for Tigist today, I know she now has much more to look forward to because of the support we will be giving her, yet her struggles are not over. She still has a hard road ahead, and needs our prayer.


5 thoughts on “A desperate letter from a widow

  1. I am reading this with tears. No mommy should have to give her children away so that they can all live….The desperation….I am praying for Tigist, her children and for all of the precious lives that God will have you touch. I am praying for your family and thanking God for sending you to the beautiful Ethiopian people.

  2. my heart is broken….and i’m not even there to have to look in this woman’s face….but i can see her. i have soo many things going through my head right now. what do you need? do you need me to stand in front of my church and ask for prayer? for money to support her? tell me what you need. i want to help. i want to know that i could help be the hands and feet to a family that didn’t have to give their children to others because of lack of money. i love my daughter and i am soo glad she is a part of our family, but i am constantly thinking about how easy it could have been for OUR family to support HER family so that they could have remained a family. i wish it worked that way.

  3. Levi, I don’t know if this is an option in the city or not, but we have also supported a few widows in other areas in exchange for them maintaining small 40 L (10 gallon) gardens on the property and teaching other women to do the same. We provided seed and instruction but they have to carry the water to it each day. That in turn provides them some food and some to sell. Another think being done is buying them fruit trees and having them maintain those also… Just a thought for this part of your program.

  4. This hits me too close to home as I know I am blessed with our son who came from a situation like this. I don’t understand how there can be such inequalities in the world.

  5. Pingback: Orphan Prevention | Bring Love In

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