The Reluctant Missionary

Authentic stories from the travels of Michael Smalley.

The smile that broke my heart

ordinary hero Jul 31, 2023

In the photograph accompanying this post, the young girl featured did not intentionally smile for my camera. I discovered her among roughly 100 children attending the Saturday bible study and lunch program for mountain children in Entoto. Initially, she was not facing me, and I zoomed in from a distance, captivated by the vibrant colors of her head covering. 

However, something magical happened. As my camera began to focus, she turned, and a genuine smile radiated from her face. She did not pose or force the expression; it was entirely natural and undeniably beautiful. 

But there is more to this story regarding the young girl.

She and her younger brother live with their grandmother in Entoto. A mountain village ravaged by poverty and lack of governmental resources. They arrived in Entoto after a war between tribes broke out in their Northern Ethiopian province. The grandmother wept as she retold the story of her neighbors being slaughtered in front of her. Men, women, and children. 

Let me introduce you to Enatnesh Zenabu and her two grandkids, Enatu (the girl) and Aschale. They live in the home accessed through the door behind them. Their house is no larger than 6 feet by 6 feet. Its mud floor is covered only by a small mat positioned in the corner. Other than a few plastic bottles and a small container, nothing else exists in their home. They are completely and utterly destitute, and yet, Enatu's natural smile captured my heart. 

This is the family that broke me on my adventure here in Ethiopia. The grandmother is currently facing a difficult time providing for the family due to a recent ankle dislocation that has made walking a challenge. I hope that sharing their story and the girl's photo will encourage you to offer your support.

The gentleman seen with the family is Brent Baxter, who also goes by the name Bink. He has generously decided to sponsor the family on a monthly basis, which will help them escape from their current state of extreme poverty. However, we are striving to do even more for this family. Our team is currently working to locate a better and more spacious home for them, as well as providing them with essential furnishings. You can contribute to this cause by making a financial donation through Ordinary Hero.

If you wish to make a donation to the Zenabu family, you can do so easily through Ordinary Hero by clicking on this link (the link is also at the end of this post). I have also included some screenshots that illustrate how the donation process works for this particular family. To ensure that your donation goes to the Zenabu family living in Entoto, please leave a specific comment in the "Send us a message" field that includes their name and location. For example, you can write "This gift is for the Zenabu family living in Entoto." Ordinary Hero is familiar with this type of donation and will ensure that the funds are directed to the appropriate family.

And then fill out the "Send us a message" field.

Our team returns to Entoto on Saturday in the hopes of finding a more suitable home for them. We plan on bringing a new bed, blankets, and other necessities for the family. If you choose to donate, I will take photos and videos of the family so you can see the positive impact your contribution has made.

It's inspiring to see that despite the harsh living conditions, the children here still hold onto their dreams. Enatu aspires to become a doctor, while her younger brother dreams of becoming a soldier. You can make a difference in their lives by making a generous contribution or even visiting them here in Ethiopia. The link again to donate is: 


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