Monday, February 16, 2009

My thoughts for today

I just returned from an amazing 10 day ski trip in Utah! We had great snow, 2 feet of powder!
As we paid our $60 a day for a lift ticket I could not help but think of what that money can do for the kids and families of Fresh and Green Academy. ($60.00 is two months salary for a teacher at the school!) I often feel guilty for what I have when approximately 72% of the world lives in poverty. How did I get so lucky? (and I am hardly wealthy) For most people living in poverty, their only aberration was being born in a certain country. I know I am doing what I can to help and that is really all that is expected of me, but I look around realize I have so many things. I have purchased items frivolously that I have no need for and I feel ashamed. My friends in Addis Ababa seem to only need food, shelter, and a means to take care of themselves and their family. They have little in the way of material possesions, but they have dignity. (I ask myself, Do I?)

I try not to judge, but in theses times when the US is not quite on the high financial horse it was once ridding, I can't help but think that our priorities became marred somewhere along the way. I hope we can soon revert back to simpler times, when $10,000,000.00 apartments and private jets were not what was needed to make us feel like somebody. We should be proud of what we do, not what we have. I would like to see us look out for one another, not just our bank accounts. We are in a global crisis and we need to take stock in what really matters in our lives. We need to realize that we are not on this earth alone, and we should all do what we can (every little bit counts) to help our neighbors throughout the world.

Well that is my two cents for today. (which will buy a piece of gum in Ethiopia)

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A New Year

I am really looking forward to a New Year. Things got so bad for so many in 2008 that I believe things can only get better. I do still feel like we are so very lucky for all that we do have. So many people here in New York have lost jobs and that is terrible but I at least we have a right to education and a means to eat. We still have soup kitchens and welfare. I think of the friends I have in Ethiopia who do not have access to any thing like that and have to rely on hand outs daily.

I am so proud of the mothers that have formed a cooperative. They are volunteering at the school, (cooking and cleaning) making jewelry and working in a store that was donated to them to use for a year. They take turns selling items such as sugar, soap, water, and other nnecessities to the neighborhood residents. Their jewelry making is improving all the time and I have been selling it here in the US. I have been able to send over $600.00 back to them. The director of the school, Muday, has had them all (22 mothers) open bank accounts and she pays them in salary form instead of just giving them all the money at once, so they can budget. Most of them have never had a steady income in their lives.
On my last trip we brought about 250 small sets of sheets donated by an airline. What was not used on beds was made into clothing by the moms. I was so impressed!

The children are doing well. My partner Tim is on his way there now and a friend from Rome is there now as well. We got a donation of a mouth model and they will be using it to teach them how to brush their teeth. The traditional way to clean teeth in Ethiopia is with a special stick they have there, but the kids are now drinking powered milk that contains sugar so I am afraid the stick is just not enough any more.

I am planning to go back in April and can't wait. My husband will be going with me and I couldn't be happier. I am so excited for him to meet my new friends there and see what has become such an important part of my life.