This is an exciting report to write since I have just completed six weeks in Ethiopia and am now on my way back to the States. This extended trip has given me the opportunity to work with and encourage staff, visit the remote clinics, and see first hand the progress on developing property for future headquarters.
During my time in Soddo, I hosted a team from Sterling College, Kansas led by the school chaplain. In addition to spending time at Mossy Foot headquarters helping with sewing the special large shoes for patients, the team traveled to Shanto to help with the building of a home for a widow with four children. Two of the widow's children abandoned her because of her mossy foot disease. She was living in a little hut that had big open gaps in it that did not protect her family from the rain.
The team arrived to an exuberant welcome from the neighbors and church workers. Team members worked on the house, nailing on poles, making mud balls, and throwing them up to the mudder. Birhane was profoundly touched that a new house was being built for her.
In addition, I was able to spend time working with a builder who will oversee construction on the property for new Mossy Foot headquarters! With the new construction, we will be able to install the right electrical wiring so that we can use all of our shoe making equipment, which will let us produce more shoes for the patients at the clinics.
I was also able to attend two important meetings in Addis Ababa. One was the Federal Ministry of Health Symposium from June 12-14 regarding treatment options for podoconiosis. The following day, the National Podoconiosis Action Network (NPAC) met to discuss options and future development in disease prevention and treatment.
I am so grateful for the our faithful supporters whose compassion allows this important work to continue to bless and bring healing to those who suffer the effects of this debilitating disease.
The Mossy Foot Project continues to serve the outcast sufferers who are afflicted with Mossy Foot disease. This story is part of a recent report sent by Sharon Daly, president of Mossy Foot. Sharon will be traveling to Ethiopia next month to spend time with the staff and clinic workers and ensure that they are able to effectively continue with the program.
Can you imagine enduring a terrible, painful foot disease that makes you a social outcast without any medical care? This was Ato (Mr.) Anjulo’s situation until he discovered a Mossy Foot Project Clinic. I will let Anjulo share his story with you.
"I was a pastor in a church when I developed mossy foot disease. As my feet swelled and large, bumpy growths appeared on my toes, I began to experience discrimination from the church elders. They no longer wanted to eat with me or wash their feet in the bucket in which I washed my feet. I was insulted and humiliated by my friends and family. People who knew me did not want to walk on the road where I walked. When I realized that I was being cast out, I began to consider a decision that I never thought I would make. I wanted to stop serving God.Before I developed mossy foot disease, I was a well-known farmer. All the time I farmed I never wore shoes. None of my parents, brothers, or sisters before me had mossy foot disease. It all started with me. I didn’t know what caused it. My feet were so big that they wouldn’t fit into the largest shoes sold in town.For eight long years I went to many places people suggested seeking treatment from clinics and cultural doctors. None of the places were able to help me.One of my daughters got married. Her husband asked if anyone in her family was a mossy foot patient. Fearing that he would send her away, she told him that no one in her family had mossy foot. After her husband’s question, my daughter came to my home and took me to a new mossy foot clinic that had just opened in Bale town.At the clinic things happened that made me smile. They gave me soap, bleach, and Whitefield ointment. As I faithfully followed instructions, came regularly to the clinic, and wore shoes, the size of my feet slowly improved. Soon I was able to wear size 46 shoes. Month after month the bad smell and growths on my feet got less and less. Two years after I started attending the Mossy Foot Project Clinic, I was able to fit into a size 41 shoe, then size 40 and, finally, I was able to wear normal shoes sold in the market.I was highly motivated to start a business but did not have the funds to do so, so I asked a neighbor to loan me the money. He leant me money, but at a high rate of interest. When I did not earn enough to pay him, he took my only milk cow, which I had raised for hard times.When I heard that the Mossy Foot Project gave interest free self-help loans to their patients, I decided to ask a clinic worker. After hearing my story, and because I volunteered for Mossy Foot, they decided to lend me 1000 birr (about $58.00) without interest. They told me to return 10% of the loan every month. This made it possible for me to buy food and clothes for myself and my children. Now in place of the milk cow taken by the other man, I have a milk cow and many sheep and goats.Other people are surprised by how my life has changed and ask me what my secret is. I tell them that it was God and the Mossy Foot Project. When I encounter people with mossy foot disease, I take them to the Mossy Foot Clinic. I am a changed man both physically and spiritually. My neighbors respect me and I am again serving at my church as a respected pastor.”
Thank you so much for being a partner in radically transforming the lives of mossy foot patients. They are so grateful to you. Communities watch and see the change, and God’s name is glorified.
I am very happy to share the report sent by Sharon Daly, president of Mossy Foot Project. In her report, she
- shared her experience in her recent trip to Ethiopia, this was her 4th trip there this year,
- reported activities and experiences by Anglican New Life Church team, and
- relayed to us the good news - two young couples are considering the calling to serve mossy foot porject there. Their professional skills will be a huge addition to the expansion of the project.
Again I would like to take this opportiunity to thank all donors for partnering us in this life-changing project.