meselesh

This beautiful young mother’s name is Meselesh. She has a daughter who is eight years old and a brother, Ephraim, who is sixteen. They live in a humble two-room mud house with a “kitchen” in the back that is covered only by a tarp. Meselesh lost the use of her right leg six years ago to unexpected paralysis. Her right arm is difficult to use, as well. Doctors cannot find a reason for the paralysis. Upon visiting their home, we learned Ephraim was recovering from typhoid fever. He was still very weak and had not been able to go to high school for a couple months, but was helpfully chopping vegetables for their family meal. He was planning to return to school this week to see how long he could stay before getting too fatigued. This brother/sister team makes injera to sell. Injera is a staple in every Ethiopian’s diet. It is equivalent to our bread. It is made from the tiny teff seed. Meselesh’s paralysis makes it difficult for her to get to the market to sell her injera. She has hired a couple of young girls to sell the injera for her. This blessing relieves her of the physical strain of dealing with the market; however, it also decreases her income. She must purchase wood for the outdoor stove to cook the injera. Meselesh has an idea to buy two electric injera ovens to increase her production and lower her overhead costs of buying firewood. Electricity is less expensive than kindling.  This production increase will allow her to sell injera to local hotels and restaurants. She lacks only the micro-loan in order to purchase two injera ovens to take her income-generating activity from dream to reality. Despite being handicapped, a single mom and taking care of her orphaned brother, Meselesh has the fierce desire to remain in her home and to be self-reliant. She lacks only the resources of a small loan to make this happen.