By Jamie Dean, World Magazine
In a remote feeding tent in famine-stricken Ethiopia in 1984, Congressman Frank Wolf held a dying baby in his arms and had a great awakening in his soul.
The Republican from Virginia had been in office less than four years—and had never traveled to an underdeveloped country—when he showed up in Ethiopia and asked the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa to take him to “the hunger area.”
Embassy personnel balked. They hadn’t traveled to the famine-hit regions themselves. So Wolf hitched a ride on a flight with the Christian aid agency World Vision to visit a massive relief camp in an area called Alamata.
What he witnessed stunned him: cracked earth, failed crops, squalid conditions, and thousands of Ethiopians starving in the searing sun. By the end of 1985, the famine would kill an estimated 1 million people.
In one photo from Wolf’s visit, the congressman looks shaken as he cradles a starving child bearing signs of impending death: swollen head, sunken eyes, skeletal legs. The experience transformed him. “What I saw and experienced in Ethiopia … fully awakened me to the suffering of other people,” Wolf later wrote. “And as both a U.S. congressman and a Christian, I knew I had to do something about it.”
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