My name is Zewdie Gebeyehu. I was born in a village called Cheba in Gojjam, Ethiopia. I grew up with my brothers and sisters in a very small village. When I was a child, I had a problem. I developed tuberculosis of my spine. Over 13 years ago, I went to Addis Ababa with my father. We rent a place in the city for a few nights.The owner of the hotel where we stayed referred us to Mother Teresa’s Mission. At the mission, we met Dr. Rick Hodes.
Dr. Rick understood my problem. He took photos of my back, and got x-rays. Right then, he started giving me TB treatment. Forthe first time, I got proper TB treatment every day for 9 months.
After a year, I had my big chance – I went to Ghana for surgery. Everything was new to me – it was very hot, the food was different, the language was different. I looked at people and felt like they should speak Amharic, but they did not.
In 2006, I had a 12 hour operation by Dr. Boachie. He removed 5 backbones and rebuilt my back. I gained 5 inches. I don’t think any other doctor in the world could do that.
I stayed in Addis Ababa, started school in 2007, for the first time. Started learning English. I got a new home, new brothers and sisters as I was staying at Rick’s house.
Having my surgery, improved my life by a lot. I can stand straight, walk long distance, breath good and live longer. Now I have a new back. I graduated from high school in Ohio and now I am in college in Atherton California. I will graduate this May 2019 with a degree of Business Management-Business Entrepreneurship and going back to Ethiopia after graduation.
In a few years, I am planning to go to Ghana and help what I can. This has been my all time dream. Dr. Boachie and Dr. Rick – saved my life. Without the help of FOCOS and American Jewish Joint, I would not be here where I am now. It is because of Dr. Boachie and Dr. Rick that I have a new life now.