I recently had the opportunity to travel with a ministry here called Mossy Foot.  Mossy Foot is a local disease that is a form of lymphedema affecting the feet.  They think it is common in this part of Ethiopia because of something in the soil that clogs up the lymph system.  And since many people do not wear shoes, the disease can quickly become debilitating.  Mossy Foot currently has 14 clinics around this area of Ethiopia and they are helping thousands of people.  We visited one of the clinics and the patients feet looked amazing, you could hardly tell they had mossy foot, however if they stop the treatments it will worsen.  The non-surgical treatment is washing with bleach every day, washing with soap every day and applying a cream with an anti-inflammatory in it.  The surgical treatment is done at our hospital and involves extensive skin grafts, but is not the best option for those that can get it reduced with the cleaning and creams.

Mossy Foot sends a team of medical staff or pastoral staff 6 days a week to the local areas.  The day I went along I traveled with Sophie and a friend named Mebrat that works with Mossy Foot.  We, along with a local pastor, visited several villages.  I cannot even begin to describe the experience (my pictures will make a better attempt below).  It was humbling and yet exciting to see what God is doing through this ministry in these communities.  Here at the hospital we more or less have to wait for people to come to us, but being out in the middle of their communities is a whole different ball game.

As we drive into the village, kids start chasing the car (this is totally a normal occurrence). But this was different, I look over and there was even a grown woman chasing the car and then they all start clapping and singing.  Mebrat tells us that they are singing “Praise God, Praise God” because they know this car.  This is the car from Mossy Foot and they know the people in this car have helped the sick of their community.

The first person we visit is a man with very bad mossy foot, he was receiving treatment for a while, but then stopped going and it got worse again.  Now he cannot walk to the clinic to get the treatment.  Mossy Foot has decided to help build his family a new house.  He and his wife currently have 4 children and live in a round hut with a grass roof with his cows and sheep.This is his wife in their original house.  A small one room circle with the animals sleeping in the same place. That is 2 cows to the right.

Mossy Foot has offered to provide the tin and nails for the roof if the community builds the frame and covers it with mud and sticks.  His family is so grateful that they are helping provide a house with a tin roof.

This is the man with mossy foot sitting in front of the new house the community and mossy foot have built.  He cannot even wear regular pants because it extends up above his ankle and he walks with a stick for a cane.

This is a picture of the 2 homes next to each other.  The round hut on the left and the large house on the right that will soon have a roof and finished walls.

As we leave their house again the whole village sings songs of praise to God.  They are all thankful for what this poor family has received. This is the mother when we are leaving, the same mother with tears in her eyes in the first picture as she contrasts her old house to what she has graciously received.