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Helping Hands

by on July 18, 2013

20130531_Wilwerding_Ethiopia_TekleJPEGA

BY CARA WILWERDING

Tekle Gebriel is cloaked in white.

He drapes himself in a crisp shawl with colorful diamonds lining the edge, eases on shiny white dress shoes and pulls a cream-colored stocking cap over his head. He carries a tall staff inscribed with Stars of David. It’s 7 a.m. Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Walking up a dusty cobblestone road, Gebriel begins his weekly trek to Eguzuabguer Ab Orthodox Christian Church. Homeless men, women and children line the roadside. Unlike many churchgoers who walk the same path, Gebriel engages these people. He stops and gives each person one Ethiopian birr, about a nickle.

“Half of them are blind, so they can’t see,” said Gebriel, a traditional healer. “Second, those whose hands or legs are paralyzed can’t work. … Giving to them is the ultimate justification after death, and it is a must to help or give.”

This is a story about the generosity of one Ethiopian. His kindness extends not only to his patients with skin infections, diabetes, HIV and cancer, but to all Ethiopians in need.

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