Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meant To Be

My all American boy 

clad in his made in Thailand outfit

which I bought in Ethiopia

from a little market called Taiwan

with my good friend Alemayehu whose name means I see the world

has added his own unique flair that is decidedly Texan

and I think that's great.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Remnants of Ethiopia

I wonder if they will remember the funny light skinned ferenges who visited their coffee farm and brought this strange little wonder that they will most likely always refer to as 'POP!'?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Questions Need Answers

What is this little girls favorite food?

From what I understand she only has one food option. Flour mixed with water to make a flat bread. She likely eats once a day and maybe sometimes she will have something else if her family sells a goat. If her family is one of the families that has goats. But even still seems like a happy bouncy child. As all the children seem to be. They laugh and giggle and skip and grin. They all seem very close. Siblings wear siblings and hold their hands. Boys walk with an arm thrown around a friend. They may not have much water to drink and the water they do have is not suitable for drinking and is making them sick but still they are joyfull.

Who am I with here?

Three friends and fellow bloggers.

Jennifer mother of four and author of imnotsuperwoman

Heather mother of one and author of journeyheather

Laura mother of two and author of housewifeintown

What makes the people so filled with joy?

That is a tough one. They live in very close communitees. They are all born into these rough circumstances where helping one another is necesarry. They share a very strong faith. But why are they so joyfull? I guess they choose to be. Given the circumstances that is amazing.

What would they do if they could do anything?

Find sustainable income for the sake of their children and stop living day to day. They want to have healthy water to drink. They want to protect the health of their children. They want their children to get an education.

What is the education system like?
It will be differant depending on if they live in a city or a small remote village like Megaladi. It would also depend on the level of support they may recieve whether it be from the government or a nongovernmental organization.
In Megaladi they have a small room with a few desks. The floor is very fine dirt. The children stir it up and it causes problems with their eyes and noses. They have one chalkboard. Some children have to take the goats out to graze and can not take the time to come to class. Others come but have no energy for learning.

What does a day look like for the women?

Women are burdned with the chores of getting water each day. They must walk very far to bring water that can be used for drinking. If they have babies they carry them along on their backs. If they have small children they must walk along too. The water in the village is not suitable for drinking. Sometimes they have no choice and drink it anyway and it is making them sick. There is not much time to focus on anything else. If they had a nearby water source then the burden of fetching water would be lifted and it would start a whole chain of events that would lead to positive results. They would be able to plant food to eat and sell. Their animals would not starve and die. They could focus on learning a trade and generate an income. They could teach their children basic handwashing skills to reduce the spread of disease. If they did not have to send their children out to sit with the animals the children might not decide to just keep walking and never return.

They live a hard life. The've learned to live on handouts and their mindsets are not such that they think too far ahead.

GHNI hopes to change their thinking. They want to show them that they can use local resources and they want to work together with them on small scale projects that set them up to succeed. Simply giving them ideas and working together beside them may change their lives forever.

Imagine if they would plant a grove of trees and (when they do get water) water them. It sounds so simple. Just plant them and water them and leave them alone. The mango trees here get enourmous and are beautiful. But it's hard to plan ahead when you have little energy and are used to lots of handouts that quickly go away.

If they were given a large sum of money today they would spend it today because they and their children are hungry today.
The good news is they are willing to learn and want to be shown. I believe in them. I saw it with my own eyes.

This place will change. I believe in the work GHNI does with these villages. Megaladi may one day be a fruit orchard. It may become known for producing organic produce. It may become a dairy farm. It may become a cattle ranch. They might become famous for producing the best goat cheese around. The school system might become known as the best in the region.  Who knows? Whatever they become I'm excited to watch them grow. I will stand with GHNI and cheer them on until they graduate the TCD program and I invite you to come along.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


                                               There is a village.

                                                   With a mission.

Fathers want to see their children educated. Mothers want to have healthy children. I know that because today I asked them.  Although my question went through two translators it was clear that these mothers and fathers value the same things I do.

I choose to give my children healthy foods and encourage them to drink water. I show them how to wash their hands and cough into their elbows.

This young mother wants to educate her children on basic cleanliness. She wants to prevent the spreading of transmittable diseases.

We do that through hand washing.

This father wants to educate his daughter.

He wants all the children to have energy and time to attend classes in their modest school room.
My children do not have day jobs and are not too tired to learn.

Their water source is making them sick. They spend their time keeping their goats from dying of malnutrition so they can sell them to have enough to buy food.
We met with the committee leaders in each of the five areas of TCD (Transformational Community Development).

This is the water committee.

We made sure to the explain the mission of GHNI. We wanted them to understand we are here to walk beside them and teach them to offer encouragement and support if  they are willing to accept.

They told us they are weary of experiencing trying times. Their bodies are weak but their minds are sharp. They told us they wanted to accept a help up from a friend. They recognize the perpetuating problems of organizations who come in and throw money at them or  give them diesel generators that pump undrinkable water.  They told us they are ready to work hard if shown the way. They do not wish to sleep and sit all day any longer.

We celebrated the union by breaking this very special bread. Bread decorated with the names of GHNE (Global Hope Network Ethiopia) and Megaladi.

We shared coffee and bananas.

With a hearty handshake

and a warm hug

it was official. We are now the hopeful reaching out to gently lead our weary friends. The power of that kind of friendship is not lost on me.

It is not lost on this father either.

He gave an analogy that the water of a pond can not be moved unless a flood comes. Megaladi is the pond. We my friends,have the potential to be the flood. The villagers know that the process is slow, like the sun rising but are ready to commit to the TCD program.

TCD is designed to take 3-5 years. With just 24 committed sponsors (like me) donating $12.00 a month Megaladi has the potential to transform from a dusty dry thirsty undernourished group of people into a lush green well quenched income generating TCD graduate.

Visit Megaladi's blog.

Click join Megaladi and

let's work together and do something amazing.

It will take a commitment

a kind heart

 a giving spirit

 but most definitely

it takes a village....