Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ethiopia July 09

Ethiopia July 2009

Arrived on Sunday morning after traveling for 2 days to get here.  We left on Friday evening and then had a 12 hour connection time in Brussells Belgium.  We had to go that route because my mother is traveling with me and she does not get a discount on KLM which would have only given us 3 hours between flights.  We were able to spend the day in Brussells,  and got here at 6am local, Muday and Atenah were at the airport waiting.  It is always so wondeful to see them when we first arrrive.  We had a nap and then went to Salem's, Mudays cousin, house for coffee.  They are always so hospitable.  I must explain a bit about having coffee in Ethiopia.  It is quite special to be invited to someones home for coffee.  The coffee ceremony is an Ethiopian tradition and consists of food, in our case dinner, you must eat before you drink coffee, and the making of the coffee.  Being that Ethiopia is the birth place coffee, the preparation is quite elaborate.  The coffee must first be roasted over a small fire, then the beans are ground by hand while the water is boiling over that same small fire, which by the way usually has some incence burning in it as well.  The coffee is then added straight to the boiling water which is in a beautiful clay pot, and then poured into small cups with sugar in them.  We usally have about 3 cups each.  I take coffe home with me and try to add it to straight to the hot water but is some how is not the same.  Maybe drinking it with my Ethiopian friends just makes it taste better.

Things at the school are going relativly well.  The kids had their kindergarten graduation last week and were many people were there to enjoy the festivites.  The kids got their diplomas and report cards, did some traditional dancing and some dialogue in Engligh for all who attended.  There is a Saturday afternoon group of teenagers that Muday teaches values, morals and ethics to, who preformed as well.  The whole ceremony was video taped so we were able to see what we missed.  Their parents were so pruod and thankful to Muday and all the teachers for giving their children a chance at an education and better life.  

I am lying here awake at 4am listening to the rain. I can not stop thinking about all the children and their families sleeping in their home with roofs that leak, no electricity and not enough blankets to keep them warm.  I think of everything that needs to be accomplished
We stand to raise up to $60,000.00 from a festival we will be participating in this September.  I thought that would be the answer all of our needs.  

I will explain:

The school building and land is only rented.  The owner has quite a large area and rents to other businesses as well.  Muday has been operating in this space for almost nine years.  As recently as 6 months ago the space close to the school was rented by a brick maker.  The equipment used to make the bricks is quite loud nad when a government official was doing one of the many checks it does on the school he heard the noise and told Muday she can not operate a school next to the disturbance.  Muday relayed this information to the landlord and she was told that the she did not care who was there as long as she got her money, but she would not tell the brick maker to leave with no one to replace his rent and if the school had to move that was fine too, she would rent to someone else.  So we were able to talk the landlord into letting us rent the space and the brick maker was told about the government policy but for him to leave before his contract is up he wants $500.00.  The government says he must be gone by September but the contract is up in May.  Delimma number 1.

The government also does not alow upper grades (1st on) to be in the same building as the kindergarten and pre-K.  The school had first grade for this past school year so when the kids could continue to eat.  (Free education 1st-10th grade but no food available)  We are planning to add a grade every year so we can keep the current students fed and educated.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity.  We now have extra rented space to build a new building and we will have enough money to do this.  Problem is we don't want to build something nice because it is rented and it could be taken away or the rent raised.  We need to stay in the neighborhood because the children severd are here and we dont want to abandon them and the other problem is we do want to build something nice, with electricity and possibly plumbing.  There could be a solution:  The land and building right next to the school are for sale. For $50,000.00.  There goes all the money whe thought we would have to build a new building and run the school for a year without worries and invest for the future of the school.  If we could raise $100,000.00 we could be set for the time being.  Delimma number 2.

I have 3 more hours I can sleep but it has stopped raining and the dogs are now baeking and the religious chanting over the loud speaker has begun.  We will see.  Thank you ear plugs Good night!

Trish Hack-Rubinstein

President & Co Founder
Friends Of Fresh and Green Academy  

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