Ain't God good!

It has required three trips to Ethiopia and multiple meetings but finally SUCCESS.

Three and a half years ago, half way around the planet, we said goodbye to a precious little girl who had been the best friend of  Fetlework, our adopted granddaughter at Agohelma Orphanage in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

The orphanage no longer “does” adoptions. First Charlie was told:  “It can’t be done.”  He was also told “There are two” (there is a younger sister.) Both are healthy HIV positive girls who receive necessary medications.

On a subsequent visit Charlie was encouraged that it can be done. Now! after many scheduled meetings most of which were postponed. SUCCESS!

Less than a week after return two possible “forever families” have been identified. One is VERY serious!

Please pray with us for continued success and that these two precious girls will “come home” at last.

Below are samples of the artwork of “our” girls.

Marvelous Moringa

Imagine a plant that produces almost perfect food. Gram for gram, Moringa leaves contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges, four times more calcium and two times more protein than milk, four times more vitamin A than carrots, three times the potassium of bananas, three times more iron than spinach and twice the protein of yogurt.
Moringa also contains all eight of the essential amino acids and ten of the non-essential ones required for the human body, plus several antibiotic properties.
There are thirteen identified species of Moringa. The most popular is Moringa oleifera, a fast growing tree that can reach thirty feet in height and grows best in a tropical or sub-tropical environment, and Moringa stenopetala, which is indigenous to the mountains of Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. The Konso people of southern Ethiopia grow M stenopetala and use it for survival during the dry season when traditional food sources are unavailable.
The tree is known by many names such as: drumstick tree because of the shape of the seed pods, asparagus tree because of similar taste and horseradish tree because of the taste of the roots, as well as other names used by indigenous groups throughout the world.
M oleifera grows best at altitudes below 2,000 feet but can tolerate elevations as high as 4,000 feet, while M stenopetala has been observed as high as 6,500 feet but prefers lower altitudes. We are experimenting with plants at Yetebon Village in Ethiopia at about 7,500 feet elevation in hopes the plant will grow well enough to be useful to the villagers. It will probably not produce flowers and seeds at that elevation but Moringa is easily propagated from cuttings.
The easiest way to eat Moringa is to harvest the leaves from your own tree. Use them on salads or sauté them like fresh greens. The flowers and buds can be eaten also, but must be cooked, while immature pods can be eaten raw. Even the seeds can be cooked like snap beans or peas or, when mature, roast or fry them.
The dried leaves can be ground into a fine powder and used to make a hot beverage or mixed with spices for flavoring, but dry them in the shade. Direct sun will degrade the vitamins, especially vitamin A.
For the beverage add 1/4 teaspoonful of the powder to eight oz. hot water and stir. Drink the powder residue. It is part of the nutritional value of the drink. This formula successfully treats emaciated mothers who are nursing starving babies in famine stricken areas. The mothers become healthy and the babies survive and lose their distended bellies.
The roots from young trees can be made into a condiment similar to horseradish but the root bark contains several alkaloids. It is better to not risk becoming sick and just buy horseradish at the market.
Moringa seeds can be ground into a fine oil for use in cooking, cosmetics and lubrication and has a long lasting shelf life.
In addition to all these uses Moringa seeds can be crushed into a powder and used to clarify turbid water to between 90% to 99%. Harvest the seeds in the dry season for this purpose. It is often suggested this may have been the tree the Israelites used to purify the bitter water in the desert.
Moringa can also be used as a cattle fodder supplement. When planted closely in rows the top portion is harvested and the remainder is allowed to grow and produce again in about thirty five days..
A recent Moringa discovery is to squeeze the liquid from the green matter, dilute the juice with water and spray on food crops. This spray accelerates plant growth. The plants are more healthy and yields are increased by 20% to 30%.
Many people in Southern Florida grow M oleifera in their yards. Once the plant is established from seed or transplant  it will grow about one foot per month! Let it attain a height of six or seven feet, then “top” it to four or five feet which will allow the tree to bush out for easy access to the leaves.
In most parts of the U. S.  Moringa can be grown as a perennial or planted in large pots to be brought inside for the winter.
Are there more uses yet to be discovered? Time will tell. Research is on-going.
Moringa seeds are available from several on line sources as is more detailed information on this the “Miracle” tree.

Seeds or plants and recipes are available from:

Charles E. “Charlie” Brown founder, “Ethiopian Child”

Sources:    Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization Technical notes (listed under Agriculture):
I Love Moringa:
Trees for Life:
Genera Nutrition:
More resources:

Clean Water, Living Water


Dogachow and Zerihun Tebebu with Charlie

October fifth 2010 Ethiopian Child will embark on a journey to Ethiopia. There Charlie will meet up with Alayu Kebede. The two will deliver clean water by introducing Sawyer Point One water filters to the people of a small, remote village. Mr. Kebede is an Ethiopian man who works for Blair Foundation to introduce the word of God to villages in his native land. He will introduce the “living” water of the gospel (John 7:38) and interpret for Charlie who will deliver and demonstrate the filters for “clean” water.

The village is near Debre Tsige, North of the capital city of Addis Ababa in the heart of the area where the Oromo people live. Three teen age boys, Zerihun, Wondeson and Dogachow Tebebu have lived there eight years with no mother or father.

It is also planned to honor the people who have helped the boys survive by sharing a traditional Ethiopian meal with them.

It is a ninety minute walk to Debre Tsige and there are times when the Jemma River valley is flooded and they are not able to cross to town. Half way to town is the dirty stream where all their drinking water comes from.

Zerihun, now nearly eighteen, has expressed a desire to open a “shop” in the village, where he can sell needed goods to people not only in the village where they live but to others in the vicinity. We will help make that happen if, when we explore the possibilities, it seems feasible.

We will also deliver story books, clothes, medicines, bandages, school supplies and visit LeaMcD Educational Services for the deaf of Ethiopia.


  • More than 1 billion people-approximately one in six-lack access to safe drinking water.


    At the watering hole

  • Every 15 seconds a child dies from water-related disease.
  • Approximately 443 million school days are lost due to water-related illness
  • For children under five years old, water related diseases are the leading cause of death.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • At any given time half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.
  • 1.8 million children die each year from diarrhea-4,900 deaths each day.
  • Every $1 spent on water and sanitation creates on average another $8 in costs averted and productivity gained.
  • From Water Partners International: Kansas City, Missouri

Ethiopian Child will be visiting a remote village in the central highlands in the fall.

Access is only by a ninety minute brisk walk from the bus station across a valley. There is a creek in the middle of the valley that supplies all the water for the area. Water must be carried in jugs to the villages for cooking, drinking and bathing.

Please consider sponsoring a small very effective filter That will make as much as 100 gallons of water per day of up to 99% pure water. The filters are small enough we can carry several of them in a suitcase. We can purchase buckets that stack together for ease of carrying.

The filters sell for $60.00. Ethiopian Child is able to purchase them for $50.00. This amount will include a bucket.

Other items we will take to the village are books for children and Bibles in the Amharic language which will be purchased in Ethiopia.

We will be investigating other methods of payment but for now contributions can be made to: Ethiopian Child

1452 Park Shore Circle #3

Fort Myers, Florida 33901

Successful Deaf Adoptions: Blitch Family

Happy Family

Vernon, Rebecca, Yonatan, Fetlework

“How do you fall in love with a picture?”

That is the question friend Kari Gibson asked Rebecca Blitch after she saw a picture of newborn Zoie sent via internet to the Gibsons who have now added Zoie to their “forever” family.

How indeed! After several years of searching unsuccessfully in the U. S. Vernon and rebecca  Blitch searched the internet, saw some pictures, and several months later they flew to Addis Ababa Ethiopia and “brought home” Yonatan and Fetlework.

Yonatan’s birth father had become ill and died. Widowed and unable to care for a “special needs” child  his mother reluctantly made him available for adoption. She does not regret the decision.

Unable to communicate successfully at age six, Yonatan, now eight, is popular in his second grade class and plays on a basketball team. He has many hearing and deaf friends, enjoys riding his bike and “kidding around.” He communicates well in sign language and when least expected, he will display very innovative thinking.

Fetlework, who was born in a mud hut, is ten. She is in the top of her fifth grade class, is a star basketball and soccer player, and basically excels in whatever she does.

She lived several years in an orphanage, the only deaf child among the one hundred or so hearing children.

Both children have learned basic responsibilities by helping at home.

The future is bright for these happy, well adjusted children. It is the intention of “Ethiopian Child” to chronicle more successes of the adoption of deaf children from Ethiopia. Contact charlie if you know of such a story and we will tell others.

Online Store store now open

Ethiopian Child has now opened an online store. Proceeds benefit deaf and orphans in Ethiopia.

Fair Trade Coffee from Ethiopian Child

Orphans of Debre Tsigie


Zerihun and Dogachow

The journey began at 5:30 A.M. in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The taxi arrived and I got in. Daylight was yet to arrive in the capitol city and the streets were nearly deserted. Daniel, my interpreter for the day introduced me to the driver and seventeen year old Zerihun who I had not previously met and whose home in a remote village we were going to visit. He and his brothers have lived alone since their parents died seven years before. They are siblings of an adopted deaf sister who now lives in USA.

We drove through the Merkato, purported to be the largest open market in Africa. The darkness was palpable. It was an eerie feeling to see the paper and trash littered street empty except for a stray dog scavenging and trucks parked along the side.

At the bus “station” it was different. Hordes of people were milling about, some shouting above the din of diesel engines which were belching the exhaust smoke that created an enveloping cloud.

We were placed on one bus, then another. I could not understand what was happening but interpreter Daniel did his job well and finally the last bus we boarded lurched onto the street and began to climb out of the valley into the emerging light. Thankfully it was going in the right direction.

Two and a half hours of driving along the twisting turning mountain road we arrived at the village Debre Tsigie and went into a dingy little restaurant where Zerihun and Daniel ate breakfast. I would not eat in that place!

Our trek to the village began downhill on a lava rock strewn road that soon became a track and then, before we reached the valley floor, disappeared. For an hour and a half we walked. We skirted fields of wheat, beans and maize (corn). At times the terrain was marshy and our shoes sank into the muck.

Half way across the valley was a big two lane concrete bridge. No road, just a bridge complete with concrete rails.

I could see a person in the distance who was wearing a red coat watching us. He began to draw near and soon was following a few steps behind as we traversed the valley and climbed the steep slope towards our destination, a series of low stone walled compounds at the top of a hill. He was a boy, perhaps ten years old, a silent companion who chewed on a broken twig and smiled a shy friendly smile.

The house was a square mud hut with a tall thatched, conical roof, called a tukul. The walls had been recently re-covered with a coat of fresh mud, cow dung and straw veneer inside and out. There was a wooden door which could be locked but no windows.

The interior was cool and dark and the floor was earth, swept clean, and bumpy from protruding rocks. A fresh pile of sleeping straw was stacked in one corner and in another, perched on the low rock foundation, was a wooden box that had a closed, hinged top. A few bottles and personal items sat along the ledge and in another corner, near the door, were bags of grain and a round, broken injera basket.
Zerihun brought out some animal skins, spread them on the ledge and there we sat and talked.

As politely as I could I refused a drink of milk and explained: “I have been sick” which was true. Sometimes it is a bit of an adventure to eat the local food.

There is another “house” where cooking is done and a smaller one made only of poles placed vertically, spaced close together to protect the domestic animals from the hyenas.

I presented gifts for Zerihun and Dogachow, his twelve year old brother and Wondeson, fifteen, who was in a distant part of the country “following the harvest.” He works with a sickle, squatted down. The crop is cut by hand, dried, and threshed by walking animals round and round to separate the grain, beans or peas from the hulls, after which it is tossed into the air for the wind to blow away the chaff.

I met some neighbors though we could not converse, photographed the local children, the house and the animals.

Too soon we needed to leave. The buses wouldn’t wait.

We walked another hour and a half back to the village and located a bus which was traveling in the right direction, sat inside and said our goodbyes to Zerihun. When he turned to leave he was stifling back tears. He has been head of household since age ten. We were his first non resident visitors and I was the first farangi to have ever been there .

God Bless whoever has helped them.

To view a video click on “Orphans of Debre Tisgie” at right under the heading: “blogroll”