Another Journey Begins
Yet again, this past June, our team found ourselves on a long plane ride across the Atlantic on our way to Africa. Ethiopia was our destination,....
SUCCESS!!! After 4 years of fundraising and forming an incredible collaboration with Elpis International, Sitota's Learning Center (named after our son, our inspiration) will open in Awassa, Ethiopia next month!!!!! This is truly an act of God. He made Himself known in so many ways through this adventure.
This is not the end but a new beginning. We now have to dedicate ourselves to providing the quality education we have promised our students. While in Ethiopia I had the opportunity to do a training with our teachers. Their eagerness to learn different teaching strategies was refeshing. I am so proud of our teachers and know that they will be a blessing to the school.
Lastly, I again need to say a huge thank you to Pastor Michael who stayed behind in Ethiopia to finish the offical business regarding the school. The hours upon hours of work that he has done to get the school open exhausts me just thinking about it. He is an amazing man of God!!
I am leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow for 10 days. I am still in shock that our school will be opening in September. It seems like just a few days ago that this idea/dream began. I really need to give a huge thank you to Pastor Michael of Elpis International who has done an amazing job behind the scenes. He negotiated for the school property we will be moving into, arranged our whole trip, put up ...with a million texts and phone calls from me and so much more that I do not even know about. So here is the schedule
As you can see 10 days in reality is a short time to spend in Ethiopia. Please keep us in your prayers. I will hopefully be able to update our progress. I always feel very humble to be able to travel to this country. I know that my work there is just an extention of all of you here. Without your support there would be no Love For Ethiopia and there would not be a school. I truly and humbly thank all of you!!!
We would like to feature Ms. Emily Warren for her "big Heart". Emily turned eighteen this month and instead of wanting presents she asked family and friends to give school supplies that will be taken to our new school in Ethiopia. To understand Emily a little better we need to give you a bit of her medical history. Emily had suffered all her life with heart problems. I cannot even begin to elaborate her history is too long and complicated. She spent months on end in hospitals throughout her life. Last August she finally received a heart transplant.
This has been a year of changes and new beginnings for Emily. What has not changed is her heart for giving. For years now she has asked for gifts for different charities on her birthday instead of presents for herself. This year she wanted to give to Love For Ethiopia. She wanted to be part of the opening of the new school. Imagine the look of surprise and excitement on the faces of the teachers and students when they see all these goodies!
Along with these items, she also donated the money that was given to her. There is enough to pay a teacher's salary for a month and purchase 3 children's uniforms.
I am always blown away when a young person shows their generosity by giving to others no matter the charity. So on behalf of Love For Ethiopia, we would like to thank Emily for her amazing gift and Huge Heart!!!
4/2012 - It is really hard to believe the news that I received this month. I am still trying to wrap my mind around it. Love For Ethiopia in collaboration with Elpis International will be opening our first school in Awassa, Ethiopia September 2012. Yes, this year!!! PRAISE GOD!!!!! The school will start with grades 1-6. Children in Ethiopia take exams after completing 6th grade in order to enter secondary school.
When I was in Ethiopia last I was told by a reliable source that my data on the website was wrong. In reality, only 28% of children attend elementary school and 8% go onto secondary school. Please take a moment and think about these statistics. So if we turn this over that means that 72% of children will never attend school and 92% of children will never attend secondary school. WOW, is all I can say.
Ok, maybe that is not all I can say. The children that will attend our school (in September) are in the trenches so to speak. These are the kids that if an intervention is not in place will be part of those children mentioned above. Our intervention is education.
Please consider helping in whatever way that you are moved to help. Please remember that every penny does count. At present the conversion rate from US dollar to Ethiopian Birr is 1-17. That means that for each dollar you donate that gets exchanged in 17 birr. The average person earns less than 34 birr a day. That is less than $2 a day. Less than a Starbucks coffee.
For those who are current supporters, a huge Thanks goes out to you. As I get more information about the school I will send it out to you. This is an exciting time that I am looking forward to sharing with you.
I have returned from my most recent trip to Ethiopia and continue to be overwhelmed. The needs are so great for this country that I have to ask myself if I, we are doing enough. Poverty is everywhere. One of our traveling companions said he felt like he was walking through the book of Acts in the Bible. This to me summed up what I was seeing. Imagine life 2000 years ago…..what do you see…..no running water, people living in huts or make-shift houses, people walking miles and miles to market, goats, donkeys and sheep being herded and led to pastures? Now imagine all of this is a huge cloud of dust. Yes, dust and dirt in your mouth, eyes, nose, food and eventually lungs. Why? Drought! All those pictures you see on the news or articles you are reading are true. Ethiopia is being hit hard by years of little rain. So how does this affect the children who will attend our school. Well water has to be shipped in at a huge cost. This water has to be used for cooking and drinking, so what suffers is hygiene. Our children have not bathed in months. Usually, the last day we are there we have a party. The children get to bathe and put on their new clothes. It is a really special time. This year the children were limited to washing their hands, faces and feet. I personally cannot imagine not being able to shower for a few days much less months.
I am not telling you all of this to get you down or to feel sorry for these resilient people. I am telling you all of this to let you know that you, yes YOU, have the potential to help your neighbor!!!!
Love For Ethiopia believes that education is a key component to helping the children of Awassa, Ethiopia out of poverty. Please consider making a donation. 100% of your donation goes directly to establishing a school in Awassa.
4/28/2011 - This past March I traveled with a team from Elpis International to Awassa, Ethiopia. The purpose of this trip was to get to know the children for whom we are building a school. I wanted to see where they currently attend school and find out their needs. What I learned was so much more. After visiting their current school I had to sit back and take a deep breath. I had to remember where I was and not be critical. I needed to put into context what I saw. Ethiopia is the 12th poorest country in the world! I think the part that struck me the hardest was there were no books to be found. The lesson being taught before I arrived was about reptiles. I know this because information was written in English on a blackboard. It explained how turtles lay eggs on the sand. So I have to wonder, if a child has never seen a turtle, or even a picture of a turtle, how would they ever know what one looks like? Now, imagine trying to learn every subject without pictures, videos, posters, or books to give you visual information. Now imagine learning like this for twelve years. Remember, the literacy rate for Ethiopia is 37%. Now I understand why.
One day I was talking to a group of children. I was showing them a picture on my camera of my mother holding a shark's tooth she had found on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida. The ages of these children ranged from around 5-14. I tried to explain to them what a shark was but to no avail. It was not a language barrier. It was a prior knowledge barrier. They simply have never been exposed to information relating to ocean creatures. All of their learning is memorization.
NOW, imagine taking these children and giving them books. Imagine letting them see videos about nature and all kinds of things. I am taking about really expanding their learning resources. Imagine their potential. Imagine opening up a completely new world to them. These children have never left Awassa. These children would drink up knowledge like water if they were given access to it.
We can do this!!! We can give these children the tools to learn. We can help them reach their potential. We can provide them an education that will help them break their cycle of poverty and continue their studies. We can help these children to be the next leaders of their country.
Something very exciting happened today for Love For Ethiopia that I would like to share but first you need some history to fully appreciate the event. Last year, Emily was a student of mine. She suffers from a rare heart condition that limits her daily life with potent medication and frequent trips to the hospital. She has been close to death on many occasions and had to be resuscitated more than a few times. This summer she went to Mayo in Minnesota for treatment. While she was there she came up with the idea to make cards as a fundraiser for the charity. Can you imagine being in the hospital, feeling like.... and thinking of someone else? Amazing!!!! On Wednesday I went to her house and she surprised me with her original artwork on beautiful card stock. We will be selling them at our annual fundraiser coming up in April. We are also busy putting together a store to add to the website so you will be able to purchase them there as well.
As always, thank for your prayers for, and support of Love For Ethiopia!