Personal Log: My First Visit to Abugida School in Ethiopia

July 12, 2010 No Comments

Three weeks ago, Victoria, Stefi and I returned from Ethiopia. It was my first visit to the Abugida school we have in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

After driving south for about half an hour, we took a left hand turn and drove up a very bumpy muddy road which made me doubt that the car would reach the school in one piece. After driving approximately 350 meters up this lane, flanked by small houses made of bits of wood and tin, we arrived at a gate and there behind it stood majestically the Abugida school. The parents had painted it the two Mediterranea blues. It was like finding an oasis.
Little faces with big smiles came running out to meet us. They were all wearing their blue uniforms and looked very healthy and bubbly.

Mediterranea's Abugida School Inauguration

Mediterranea's Abugida School in Ethiopia

The main reasons for our trip were :
- to deliver all the donated supplies to the nursery we had just built.
- to set up the children’s nursery and decorate it
- to deliver some donated computers to the Fitawrari school.
- to give introductory computer lessons to all of the teachers of the Abugida and Fitawrari schools.
- to meet and check out the situation of the elderly Ethiopian senior citizens we have been asked to help.
- to be present for the inauguration of the new classrooms, new dining room, new nursery, etc. that we built for the school.

I could write a long story about all that happened, about the people that came to the inauguration, about the speeches, the tears, the singing and dancing, the Ethiopian television, the clothes the women wore, the typical Ethiopian food, the religious leaders of different groups and how they were clearly friends and respected each other, the way they blessed each and every new space we had created, but what really impressed me was something else…

When our volunteers return from Ethiopia we have a debrief, and then I study all the pictures and videos as I utilize them for the website and presentations. This procedure gives me a certain amount of knowledge about the school but these things I now noticed, were things this information did not transmit to me, and I only understood them when I was there. What really struck me was the feeling of deep rooted happiness and confidence the children had. They were overflowing with happiness and humor. They looked healthy, strong, secure, wanting to make friends and were always willing to sing and laugh. Children bought up in a happy surrounding tend to grow up to be happy, stable, healthy and friendly adults.

I was very impressed by the importance of our sponsorship and charitable Mediterranea programs in the lives of so many children.
I realized that the effort we make to enable these programs to exist is very little as compared to the good it does. And, at the same time, I understood the fear our Mediterranea team of volunteers has in reference to the sustainability of it. It is actually a very complex set of programs. The distance does not help, the lack of supplies in the country, and the idiosyncrasy of the people make it all the more difficult to run. Often they do not understand us and more often we do not understand them. But summing up, we went there to help little people have an education, be healthy and happy and we are clearly succeeding!

Mediterranea Sponsored Ethiopian School Children

Mediterranea's Ethiopian Children Sponsored in Abugida School

The Abugida school model is so good that we hope to export it to another school. But, we need more members and volunteers. If we had more, we probably could, but till then that is a dream and… the Abugida School is a reality.

Victoria and her team of helpers have created a school, but probably what is more important than that, they have created happiness.

Thank you for being a part of Mediterranea, this success is also yours.

Michael Stoma

Tags: , , Helping Ethiopia, Helping Kids

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