Standing Strong and Stepping Up at CURE Ethiopia
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d ask your parents which one of you was their favorite? If you were in my family the response was always, “You’re all our favorites,” which was fundamentally frustrating to settling the argument between me and my sisters. Now, I have this sneaking suspicion that my parents may actually have been that good to really not have favorites; but I am not that good of a person, and I do have favorites in almost every area of life. My favorite ice cream is cookie dough. My favorite time of day is fifteen minutes after sunset, and my favorite Bible passage is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It’s in this favorite passage of mine that there are these verses.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14–16
As COVID-19 sweeps the planet, it seems as if the world is a little bit darker. Clouds of fear and anxiety have blocked the sun, and it all feels a little bit desperate at times. But it’s in dark times, our light – or should I say the light in us – is needed most.
All the CURE hospitals are unabashedly Christian, and every single day we are battling darkness and treating children who have nowhere else to turn. But this new darkness caused by the virus gives us opportunities to step up and let our light shine in new ways.
“Wake up, o sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine from you.” Ephesians 5:14
Since each of the countries we work in is very different from the next, our response is equally as varied. Each hospital is working hard to not only help their patients, but also the community as a whole and be a part of the solution. You can read more about how each of our hospitals is helping their local communities here.
In Ethiopia, we are taking a multipronged, preparatory approach. On the same day as the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, we implemented mandatory health screenings before anyone entered our hospital and constructed a hand washing station outside our front gate. We have a team that has developed an awareness campaign to assist the Ministry of Health in teaching best practices, as well as combating fast-spreading misinformation and myths.
As the initial panic settled down in Ethiopia, it soon became clear that there would be many secondary effects of the virus. Businesses closed, people began working from home, and people began limiting their movements. All of this almost depleted Ethiopia’s national blood bank, a resource we depend on at CURE Ethiopia and at hospitals all around the country. To do our part and resupply the bank, we held a blood donation drive. In total, we were able to donate over 15L of blood to the national supply.
It also has become clear that people are struggling financially from this pandemic. So we started a hospital fund to help both our community and our coworkers. The vast majority of CURE Ethiopia staff voluntarily contributed between 20% and 50% of their monthly salary to the fund, which is being managed by a committee staffed by members from the hospital’s senior management. So far, the fund has been designated to support one of the government organizations fighting COVID-19 as well as to provide meals for local children who normally eat at school and are at risk of going hungry now that schools have been closed. Finally, a portion of the fund is being set aside for CURE Ethiopia staff or their families who may experience financial difficulties during these times.
Throughout all of this, we have managed to keep the doors of CURE Ethiopia open, providing hope and healing to the least among us. We are used to battling darkness here, so this new battle with COVID-19 is just another attack we are ready to handle. We are standing strong and stepping up. Daily, we reevaluate how to keep our staff and patients safe. The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, and we will continue to be a lighthouse in this storm, a candle on a stand giving light to everyone in the house.