Anna’s House






This is the story of how Anna’s House came to be:
One winter night Anna Hofer’s door was opened to a tall Ethiopian women bundled up from head to toe to ward off the chilling Winnipeg winter cold. Grandma was in need of part-time home care which she, being proud and independent women, had long protested. Berhan was trained as a home care worker and was willing to start right away despite Grandma’s reluctance!

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After the two had spent a few hours together, Anna’s daughter Tabitha found Berhan sobbing to herself. Alarmed at what could’ve occurred, Tabitha’s fears were quickly quelled when after asking what was wrong, Berhan tearfully replied “No, no. It’s right!”

These two strong, spiritual women from vastly different worlds and cultures had both been searching for something and instantly recognized it in the other. Over the years, Grandma and Berhan developed a unique connection based on their mutual devotion to God and willingness to help those in need. A nightly ritual of theirs was to pray closely together in 3 languages, Berhan’s head on Grandma’s heart. Berhan became close with the family and formed close relationships with many of Grandma’s children and their families.

Even after Grandma’s passing, she remained a significant part of the family; coming for supper and attending gatherings regularly. Approximately four years after she passed away, Grandma appeared to Berhan in a dream. This was just prior to Berhan’s return home to Ethiopia; a trip much anticipated and long awaited. In the dream, after acknowledging Berhan’s impending journey, Grandma said “We must do something for the children. You must take them my bible. We must do something for the children!”

At first, Berhan accepted this as a well-meaning but somewhat futile gesture, replying that the children wouldn’t appreciate the significance of the bible as they could not comprehend English text. But the miracle of this vision was apparent after Grandma went on to describe to Berhan in explicit detail where her old hope chest was in which she could find this bible and insisted once again that they “must do something for the children!”

After the dream, Berhan was mystified as to its meaning and sought clarity through prayer and deliberation. Finally, she realized that throughout Grandma’s life, children and young people had always been drawn to her caring spirit and wise words of advice. Berhan knew then that it was that it was God’s Will that this message be taken seriously; we were all meant to do something for the childrenin Ethiopia! The first step was to pass the story on to Grandma’s family. Upon hearing the astonishing tale, one element stood out; Berhan had never before heard of or seen the chest which she so specifically described and had no way of knowing that the bible did in fact rest there. It was now clear to all that was a mission sanctioned by God that needed to be seen through.

The second step, and yes, also a miracle, is the eventual involvement of MCC in supporting and jointly overseeing Anna’s House with Berhan in Ethiopia. Anna’s family realized they needed outside assistance; an agency that would believe in the story and be able to help with arranging and deal with funding and donations. As a family, MCC and the philosophies behind this organization, was our first choice! The simplicity of Berhan’s approach and complete relevance of the story worked together to make it materialize, and their shared supervision of Anna’s House is now the mainstay and heart of this project.

So, it is our hope that by informing more people and organizations of this celestial story, Anna’s House for “all the little children” will be able to continue to be a safe haven for orphans and impoverished children in Ethiopia. How much money does Anna’s House need? When do we stop striving to give enough? In Anna’s own words; “until there are no more hungry children in Africa”