ethiopia

{how it's made: upcycled artillery jewelry}

The Entoto Mountain outside of Addis draws those suffering with HIV/AIDS, as they believe the water there is holy and might cure their disease. Most of these people are ostracized by their families and society due to prevailing stigmas and often resort to begging in order to survive. The Beza Entoto Outreach formed in 2007 in response to this incredible need. Through time spent in prayer, this small group of seven individuals felt led to do more. They began a program to help the people on Entoto Mountain establish a consistent source of income, one of the most dire needs facing their survival. They also formed social programs and assured that those living with HIV received the proper medication. Once those living with HIV are on the appropriate drug regime, the virus becomes undetectable in their bodies! So even though the water didn't bring healing, the medications certainly have!
In the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, farmers supply local bead makers with artillery shells discovered on their lands following former war conflicts. The village artisans melt down these shells using ancient techniques to create delicate beads. The final handcrafted beads are sent to the women of Entoto Mountain, who create the jewelry you now wear. Remnants of former weapons of conflict are now upcycled pieces of redemption.

"I have new dreams for my son," says 26 year old Embemebet. She has been working for Entoto making jewelry for 6 years. She came to the mountain 9 years ago when she discovered she was HIV positive. Unlike most women who come to the mountain from far away, Embemebet grew up in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Her journey wasn't very far to the mountain, but it was still a painful journey. Her previous husband didn't tell her he was HIV+ and she didn't find out until he passed away. Her current husband also came to the mountain to seek healing. They have been married 5 years and they have a miracle baby together, Yabsera, after suffering the loss of two babies before him.