Ayinalem Mitiku’s story – Capturing Grace in Ethiopia for Hawassa Hope


Ayinalem Mitiku is an amazing lady with a big heart for the children and workers she cooks for at the Ajuuja orphanage. I was amazed at her skills in the kitchen and was in awe of how she managed the hot lids with her bare hands while making Injera. 

Here is the story that resulted from our time together, in Ayinalem’s words – 

“I have worked for Ajuuja orphanage and ministry for eleven years. I have six children and I do not know my age. My husband passed away many years ago leaving me with no ability to care for my family. I begged on the steets, taking leftover food from the trash to prevent my children and myself from starving. I had to give my two weakest children up for adoption. One was adopted to the US when she was nine years old. When she grew up, she tracked me down and now sends me support. She is 21-years-old now. Giving her up was one of the hardest things I ever did but it saved her life. 

I get up very early every morning and walk one hour so I can be at Ajuuja to work at 630am. My routine is to build a fire for the stove each morning and boil water. 
I shower and get ready for the day before sterilizing the baby bottles with boiling water and warming milk for the babies. After breakfast I start preparing lunch at 10am. I serve snacks at 3pm and then start cooking dinner.

Ajuuja saves lives and I love being able to do my part to help. Most of my family is gone and I am grateful that God has given me the Ajuuja family of children and workers to take care of. They are now my family. Sponsored families come from the countryside to Hawassa for medical help and they sleep on the floor of the orphanage while here. These are my family too.”

I enjoyed my time in the kitchen with Ayinalem, I was so touched by her heart, kindness, resilience and beautiful smile. 

I invite you to learn more about Hawassa Hope at https://www.hawassahope.org

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