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Blog

Blessed are the poor...

Posted by Canaan Community Church on June 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn my name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for so their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:20-2Today we had the awesome privilege to travel and see some of the housing developments and community centers Dr.Jember and IHA/UDP have done here in Addis.  As I stated yesterday they have done over 4,000 units of housing and also have a school for training urban workers called Instutute for Urban Workers (IWU).

Having the opportunity to visit the wonderful people who live in the slums was absolutely incredible! I was so prepared to be heartbroken by the extreme poverty and inhumane conditions that I was almost amazed by the actual experience.  It was wonderful! The we're so happy to see us and treated us with such respect, admiration and love. Now don't get me wrong the conditions were horrific in these slums. I can't really even describe to you what I saw, heard, felt or smelled but they are all things I will never forget. 

IHA/UDP is built new housing for the poorest citizens of Addis who are completely ignored by the government and would be completely left out of any economic development plan.  They have built housing made of concrete and brick equipped with kitchen, bathroom and communal laundry area! They truly are. Kern day heroes to the people of the slums and although this seems like wonderful work we all know there is always a catch. In order to build these homes Dr. Jember has to allow the Ethiopian government to retain ownership of the buildings, including their youth centers and health centers.  Well what happens if the government decides they need a building for some other purpose, yup you guessed it they just take her buildings. Which they have done repeatedly, today we saw a youth center that had been thriving left with broken windows, locked library (with books still inside) and destroyed basketball court.  Sadder than the fact it was taken is the fact that it's not even being used! Pray that she continues to work despite the unreasonable and unimaginable setback of having her buildings taken by the government for no reason!

Lastly, I had a wonderful moment today with a young boy named Abay Kari Yu whose home we visited today. His Mom lives in one of the new condominiums Jember just built in the slums.He showed me his sketchbook of drawings and although neither one of us could really understand each other the language of art bridged that gap. After admiring hisdrawings for a while, I explained to him that I was an art teacher. He ran to the bed, grabbed a piece of artwork (a paper weaving) and told me I could have it. It was a great moment and if you want to see a pic of me and Abay check out my twitter account @ Pastahj

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