Meet Marisa | Selamta’s American Director

Upon arriving at the Selamta Family Project Community Center, just about midnight, we made our way up stairs to the third story. There were three bunk style rooms with bathrooms. We were told to find our name and get settled. I found the prettiest basket on my pillow with handmade soap and a hand written note from Whitney (The Archibald Project, co-founder) welcoming me. Marisa made her way to her bunk right next to mine and started explaining how to take our luxurious bucket baths and how to open our bathroom door that jammed every time it closed. And to be quite honest I was excited! I was excited to be so far out of my comfort zone. I was excited we had hot water, that I was not expecting. I was excited to know I was sharing a room with the Director of the program we were there to serve. And I was excited to pick her brain and hear all about her life here in the US and there in Addis.

I feel like we connected instantly. We kinda just got each other. She is a force to be reckoned with and gets stuff done. Over the week I was able to see how she is the perfect person for this position. She is a God fearing woman with a passion for every.single.person. who is a part of Selamta. Whether it’s a mom or kiddo, a volunteer or donor, she knows IT TAKES A VILLAGE to tackle running a foreign NGO. She carries herself with a balance of grace and bravery I admire greatly. She is a gem you guys!!


Tomorrow I’ll be posting more about her balance between her family in Florida and Selamta Family in Addis. But for today I was able to ask a few icebreaker questions for you to get to know her a little more!

What are 3 of your favorite things (doesn’t have to be serious!)?

  • Veggie tacos with sweet potatoes, black beans, dry cole slaw, avocado, cilantro, lime and Trader Joe’s hot sauce on grilled corn tortillas.
  • Chocolate (white chocolate is NOT chocolate…don’t even)
  • Blankets, love to snuggle down!


What is your passion, your holy discontent?

  • Selamta – and not screwing up my own family.


What would we find you doing outside of Selamta?

  • I love the beach and the water…we live in Lake Placid, but don’t spend enough time on the water together. Realistically, you’d probably find me reading, asleep on the couch or doing laundry. #momlife


Why Selamta? Why did you specifically choose to work there?

  • I think it chose me. Total God opportunity in 2008 to travel to Ethiopia for the first time. I fell in love immediately…the people, the program. I prayed in 2009 to work for Selamta but by 2010 thought my prayer was answered in other ways. Then in 2014, God opened the door.


Did you enjoy traveling before taking a job out of the country?

  • Yes. I didn’t travel out of the country much but I’ve always liked to fly and experience new things.


Tell me a bit about your sweet family!

  • They are amazing! My husband is extraordinary. He’s a total encourager. Before this position opened up, I had overtaxed myself with too many commitments and when we talked about what needed to go, his first response was, “Well, you won’t give up Selamta.” It was so interesting because Selamta wasn’t even in the conversation at the time. Then several months later, the offer to lead the organization came up. That was totally a nudge from the Holy Spirit. He takes on A LOT so I can do this work. He’s an amazing Dad! I’m gone 2-3 weeks at a time in Ethiopia and he takes care of our family. He has a demanding job too, but we try to work together and support each other. We respect each other and the dedication we each have to our work. He traveled with me to Ethiopia for the first time 2015. That was a massive answer to prayer! So thankful he now personally knows our families too! Our kids are incredible people! When I went over (to Ethiopia) the first time they were 2 & 3 years old. Now Lucas is 12 and Lily is 11. They have both gone to Ethiopia with me (when they each turned 10…that was our family rule…had to be at least 10) and can’t wait to go back. We look forward to the time when we can all 4 go together. Our kids are huge cheerleaders for Selamta. They love their Selamta brothers and sisters! They don’t like it when I’m gone, but they understand why I have to go.


Marisa’s life is proof that living with your arms open to the Lord’s plans can lead you on the most unexpected adventures. A wife and mom of two living out the gospel by being the hands and feet of Christ is inspiring. We can ALL do something, friends. What does that look like for you?

Follow along on Instagram @selamtaproject @thearchibaldproject 

If you missed it, here the two posts from this week: Monday, Tuesday

Check back tomorrow for more about Marisa and Selamta!