Badiago, 25, made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Ethiopia with her 76-year-old grandmother five years ago. Her grandmother arrived in Israel on a stretcher because she was deathly ill — and she's been treated in Israel ever since. Badiago cleans houses to bring in some income, yet has been looking for a better job in order to truly get established. However, because Badiago doesn't speak fluent Hebrew or have a formal education, no one is willing to hire her.
Badiago was raised by her grandmother after both of her parents died, and she vividly remembers the village in which she grew up. "Ethiopia was very different than Israel," she says. "Our responsibility lay with the community, and each person had their specific task to fulfill in order to contribute to the betterment of the whole. We shared everything we had and lived simple lives. Living in Israel is by no means a simple life, yet my grandmother and I are so happy to be here."
Badiago describes her grandmother as a warrior. "She always emphasized that the most important values are being a good person, sharing with others, trusting in God, and treating everyone with respect," Bandiago recalls. "She loved teaching me Bible stories, and turned to God through all of our problems. What a privilege that she got to walk the land of our forefathers in her lifetime. I am just sad for the financial situation that we are in right now."
Badiago's grandmother spends most of her time in bed because of her illness, and when she leaves the house it is to get treatments at the hospital. "I work every day cleaning houses so that we can afford grandmother's medicine, but housework doesn't pay very well and we often don't have money to buy food or pay rent after we pay for her expensive pills," Bandiago says. "I am sad that my grandmother must worry about finances because this amazing woman has endured so much in her lifetime and I want her last years to be peaceful and sweet. She cared for me during my childhood and it is my honor to care for her in her older years."
Before receiving Fellowship-funded monthly food packages from Be'er Sova, Badiago and her grandmother often went hungry. "My first priority with my money is to buy my grandmother medicine and pay the rent so we don't get evicted. Then with the leftover money I buy food and pay the electric bill. Some months I don't get many cleaning jobs, so the only expenses that I am able to afford are medicine and rent. Those months are really hard, and we would live on white bread and soup.
"Now, because of The Fellowship's monthly food packages, we always have food in the house and don't need to live in fear of not being able to afford food the next month. We are so grateful for this help, and I pray every day that soon I will no longer need it. Seeing my grandmother eat a delicious and nutritious meal always puts tears in my eyes. It's what she deserves — and, thanks to The Fellowship, it is what she gets. God bless you."