We’re concluding our trip with a brief meeting with Mr. Beiliki, the head of all Synod partners of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) nationwide, before flying back to Addis. Mr. Beiliki, a longstanding partner of Water to Thrive, deeply respects our work and shares our passion for helping Ethiopia. Our local hosts for this week, Dewitt and Beza part of South Central Ethiopian Synod (SCES), work directly for Mr. Beiliki. Mr. Beiliki works right under Dr. Abayeh, the head of EECMY. Admittedly, I do not have this relationship completely sorted just yet!

Originally from the western border near Sudan, Mr. Beiliki expresses concern for his three young boys and their future in his country.  We discussed the current conflict and it’s continued growth. He and Susanne reminisced about older projects they worked on successfully together. They also discussed a problematic project in Ambo (sp?) from 2015-16.  This involved a school with pipe installation to tie-into existing utility lines and latrine insertions.

This trip has provided me with profound insights into the scope of Water to Thrive’s work. Beyond well digging, we engage in intricate water projects. Despite our small team, individuals like Susanne, Gashaw, and sometimes Joyce, our bookkeeper, handle these complex projects. They navigate in-country issues, buy supplies at reduced rates to meet budget constraints, and collaborate closely with our partners for project success.

Experiencing firsthand, I now realize the critical role partnerships play in our African endeavors. These relationships can truly determine the success or failure of our projects.