Thursday, February 10, 2011


Sintyu's neighborhood
Sintyu is one of the ten women who will be graduating next month. We had the opportunity to go to her home and hear her story. She lives in one of the poorest areas in Addis. The shacks in her neighborhood are hidden behind an area dump. As we stepped out of the car, we had to avoid the garbage, feces, and skulls of animals. As we entered her home and our eyes began to adjust to the dark, we were able to make out the faces of two young boys (ages 7 & 3) on the twin size bed that took up half of the house. We sat down to hear her story, and it is a painful one.

She is 24 years old. Her name, Sintyu, means "survivor of many bad things." Having already lost both parents as a teenager, Sintyu lived with her brothers and sisters. She found herself pregnant at 17, and was asked to leave her home as she would bring shame to her family and the burden of another mouth to feed. Needing to provide for her child, Sintyu felt like her only option was to turn to prostitution. She did this and any other job she could find until she met her husband three years ago. They had a son together.

Sintyu started in our program last fall to get a skill that will help provide for her family. Even though she has a husband with a steady job, he is also an alcoholic and abusive. He feels because Sintyu's first son isn't biologically his this gives him the right to beat him and treat him like less. Sintyu says that this happens regularly. He comes home drunk late at night and begins kicking and hitting the boy. He is verbally abusive to Sintyu and yells slander in the neighborhood about her.

As Christy and I sat there we were amazed at how matter of fact she shared this information with us. Sintyu feels like this is her life until she can make enough money to move out. We asked what would it take to make this happen now instead of waiting until after graduation and she finds employment. We were told it would cost about $50 right now to get her into a new place where she no longer had to wait in fear of her husbands return. An additional 3 months of this same amount would put her in a position to become self-sufficient.

I'd like to be able to say hers is the only story like this, but Sintyu is not alone in her painful reality. Tonight Sintyu and her boys will sleep safely in their new place.


  1. Wow. Thank-you for being Jesus to her and rescuing her and her son from that awful situation!

  2. Thanks for keeping it RAW NIkki... I can't wait to meet Sintyu!