On Tuesday, August 26th, Ordinary Hero's first group of Korah Income Generation families took center stage and accomplished a feat that many people in developing countries, as well as those in first world countries dream of doing: starting a business and keeping it profitable for over a year. We couldn't think of a better way to honor these precious families for all of their hard work and determination than by throwing them and a few other income generation family hopefuls a graduation party that they would never forget.
I was leading our last summer team so we put the gears in motion by ordering 3 cakes, orange Mirinda soda, and gift bags for each of the 4 women who were graduating. I wish during the prep that I had prepared a little speech to give as well since Pastor Tesfaye, the ministry leader, asked me to give one, but one from the heart and off the cuff is generally better anyways. And this one was truly from the heart as one of the women graduating was a lady my family has been sponsoring for 3 years now.
Meseret Musa has got to be one of the strongest and most fiesty women I know, but this wasn't always her story. When we first met her in 2013, she was shivering and cold, sitting underneath a blue metal roofed church, holding her then 3 year old son with her two older children beside of her. She looked timid, and scared. My husband took one look at her and her children and leaned over to me and whispered "them...let's sponsor them. There is something in her eyes and I think that is who God has picked for us." From that point on, they became our family. We loved her like she was our sister and her children were our own. We saw something in her and began praying for her future and her children's. Little did we know that just 1 year after choosing them Meseret would become a strong, independent woman with a spunk for life! And we certainly never imagined that 2 years after starting sponsorship that she would be selected to draft a business plan, be given the capital to start it up, and then be given a year to make it profitable while sponsorship continued. Now here we are at the 3 year mark and she is a smart business-woman who is making it in this tough world by selling seasonal vegetables and home goods. I recently visited her business and was blown away at the line of people standing there waiting to purchase things. God is so so faithful!! And her story is much like the other 3 women's who graduated on the same day. Zenebech, Abebe, and Workinish are all women who just needed someone to stand in the gap for them through sponsorship, pray for them, and then believe in them as they worked towards their goals.
Back to the party though... after I delivered my speech of how these women are ALL Ordinary Heroes and that even though sponsorship is ending that they will ALWAYS be part of the OH family, they were called up one by one to receive the gift we had for them...an Ordinary Hero T-Shirt, a letter from their sponsor, and a photo. Completely expecting them to take the bag and sit back down, I was shocked when they ALL put their shirts on right away as everyone clapped in unison.. The guests were genuinely thrilled for these sweet ladies and it continued on as they cut their cakes together and everyone enjoyed this sweet treat along with the soda we brought plus the coffee ceremony which the ministry prepared. There was so much joy in the room we were in that it radiated from everywhere!
As the party ended, the ladies met with me and Pastor Tesfaye for a little pep talk about what would be happening over the next few months as sponsorship phases out. They all are very ready and appeared excited. I just say watch out world - these ladies are fierce, they are smart, they love God, and they are on a mission to grow their businesses - and I couldn't be any more proud of them! Betam gobez ladies, betam gobez!