Twins Ahmed and Alemu jostle back and forth as they walk to school with their mother, Yvonne. It’s already hot — Ethiopia is enduring the worst drought seen in a decade. But the boys are happy, smiling, and healthy.
Yvonne is happy, too. Partly because of her new job. Partly because her children are in school. But mainly because the nutritious food her two boys receive from Convoy of Hope allow her to be thankful for it at all.
When Yvonne found out she was pregnant with twins, it was not the happy news it should have been. With tears on her face, she said, “When the doctor told me they are twins I cried and cried and cried.”
She and her husband had two children already, and she was taking birth control regularly to avoid future pregnancies. “I couldn’t control my emotions, even though the doctor and nurses at the hospital tried to comfort me. I shouted and said, ‘Why God? Why did this happen to me? How am I going to feed four children?’ A lot of questions but no answers. It was like the sky had fallen upon me.”
Yvonne’s husband had a job as a day laborer, which did not guarantee work. She knew she would not only have to care for two newborn babies, but also find a job so they could afford it.
After Ahmed and Alemu were born, the family struggled to put food on the table. Lots of hard work and the kindness of neighbors got them through, but just barely. When the boys were old enough, Yvonne and her husband immediately enrolled them in school. They would do whatever it took to make sure their boys had the education they needed to succeed in life.
Then, Yvonne discovered that Convoy of Hope would be feeding her children while they were at school. After this, everything changed.
“Now I realize it is the hand of God. It’s the mercy and grace of God that reached to me.”
With Admed and Alemu receiving breakfast and lunch at school, Yvonne didn’t have to worry about what to feed them. Because of that, she had the time and energy to find a job as a daycare worker. And because she found employment, she and her husband can now think about the future.
“I want a better life for my children. And as education is the key to better life, I want to see my children continue their education,” said Yvonne. “For this reason, my husband and I have started saving some, though it’s small, so that it will help us tomorrow.”
Ahmed and Alemu love going to school, too. “We like the food, music, and sport … especially the swinging set,” said Ahmed.
“We enjoy the school games, especially sports and music,” Alemu added. “We play different games and dance with our friends and schoolmates. We also enjoy eating together at the school.”
Twice a day, the boys join their classmates for meals in the school’s dining room. Small tables and chairs sit in tidy rows. Paintings and pictures that the children have drawn cover the walls. Everyone smiles, and laughter fills the air.
Yvonne can’t say enough about the program center. “It’s not only about feeding, but also sanitation and hygiene, childcare, and discipline. For instance, my children don’t eat without washing their hands.”
As someone who has experienced the extreme pressures of parenthood, Yvonne feels for other women who are in the same position. “My advice to mothers like me and families passing through difficult circumstances is to remain faithful to God and pray earnestly. I believe God understands even when we are emotional and wipes our tears.”