Facts of Life in Ethiopia

29 Nov

Here is the rest of the story.  It is not humorous or fun to read.  But it will become a factor with many contingencies if a solution is not found soon.  Can you remember the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970’s.  Gas prices quadrupled in a short period of time which led to massive inflationary pressures.  The annual inflation rates got up as high as 18 percent I believe.  Interest rates went up to 16-18 % APR in the aftermath as the Fed tried with all its power to curb inflation because it was seen as a deadly enemy to economic stability.  And even social stability.  Enter Ronald Regan.  “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Ethiopia is in the economic catastrophe cross-hairs.  In 2009 the annual inflation rate was below 6 %.  It rose as high as 7.4 % by May of 2010.  By May of 2011 it had risen to 34.7 %.  By Sept it was 40+ %.  It came down in October…to 39.8 %.  This kind of inflation has put massive pressure on food prices and housing rent.  Many families share living quarters with extended family to attempt to bridge the gap.  There is no Ronald Regan on the political horizon here and there are ripples of unrest beginning to be voiced.

I need to put this in dollars and cents from the actual life situation of one of our best and highest paid employees.  He gets paid $311.00…per month.  Immediately before he gets his check, the government gets $70.00 in income tax.  We add back around $70.00 in fringe benefits.  The government then takes away another $55.00 in pension, leaving a take home pay of slightly over $256.00.  His house rent comes first.  That is $118.00.  Then comes his tithe to his church.  Another $29.00.  He is now down to $109.00 per month.  He pays for his nieces schooling because his sister is poor.  That takes another $12.00.  Now he can buy groceries, doctor bills, cloths, transportation and educate his children with the rest.  $97.00 left…per month.  Oh, I forgot utility bills.  In his house there are his wife and two children.  And his wife’s two brothers…because if they did not live there they would be unemployed and on the street.  And one other woman living with them from his church for the same reason.  Five adults and two children…on $97.00 per month.  He is our second highest paid employee.  Our guards start at $41.00 per month.   He represents the middle class for now, but how long can he add 40 % to the rent, groceries and everything else and make it work?  Were you expecting the birds and the bees?

Yet his faith is vibrant and just being around him shares hope with my heart.  Please, please pray for Ethiopia.

3 Responses to “Facts of Life in Ethiopia”

  1. Jenna November 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    This is so interesting to hear all the breakdown, and so heart wrenching. I can’t imagine that, even though I try to. I know prayer is HUGE, but how else can we (collective) help here in America?

  2. Johney & Mekdes November 30, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Absolutely truth, we feels the pain. Yes, we do agree that PRAYER is a very priority solution for our nation’s heartbreaking living circumstance.
    “My eyes overflow continually and will not cease. Until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven.” Lam 3:49-50 Thanks Allen for sharing!
    Johney & Mekdes

  3. Mary Honegger December 3, 2011 at 5:07 am #

    Thank you for putting the “facts” in terms that we can understand. Or at least try to understand. In America we have no idea of how the rest of the world lives. Thank you for sharing. Mary and Bob

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