Our Other Mothers

Mary Catherine Hinds | May 9, 2014

Photo: Ripple Effect Images

Photo: Ripple Effect Images

When I was 22 years old I moved to a small village in East Africa as a member of the Peace Corps. I rented a concrete block room which shared a courtyard with an elderly Eritrean woman whom I called “Adey” which is the T’grinia word for mother. As this Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself thinking about this other mother of mine from so far and long ago.

From the outside it would appear that Adey had very little to offer me. Years of carrying water from distant sources had left her hunched over. No access to corrective lenses had left her nearly blind. She was illiterate because she left school to be married when she was barely a teenager.

To me, a young woman in a lonely place, adapting to a completely new culture and environment, Adey had everything to offer me. Despite the frailty of age, she offered care by feeding me dinner, companionship by teaching me how to brew traditional coffee and sharing it with me during the quiet weekends, hospitality by including me in village festivals and sanity by personally killing the rat that kept stealing my food at night.

Just because someone lives in extreme poverty doesn’t mean she is helpless. This principal belief underlies the asset-based development work of CWS. We provide a hand-up, not a hand out.

I love that my donations to CWS are helping to open opportunities for strong mothers throughout this world to fulfill their potential and care for their children… All their children, including those who belong to them just by being neighbors.

Mary Catherine Hinds, Senior Field Director