Saturday, May 17, 2014


Being a world traveler by profession for more than half my life (aka, flight attendant), many times "Home" has been were I hung my hat, or uniform if you will. But what does home mean? The place we sleep at night, where we live, where our family and friends are, where we feel safe.

As I was riding the subway yesterday after having been out all day in the pouring rain with a huge load of items needed for our upcoming "Dancing With the Stews" fundraiser and feeling like I couldn't get home fast enough, a man rushed to the subway and said "I am always rushing to get home, I can't wait to get home".  I couldn't help but think about the homes our children at Fresh and Green Academy don't rush to get to.

You see the children, when they are at school from 8am to 5:30 or 6:00pm, are safe, fed, and happy. It's when they go home and are not under the watch of Muday and her caring staff, that the kids are at risk.

I spoke with Muday earlier in the day and she told me one of our little kindergarten boys had been raped by a man in the neighborhood. It turns my stomach and fills my whole body with pain just to write this. This is not an isolated case either. We have a 9 year old girl who is in constant pain and has trouble walking due to her recent fistula surgery because she was raped by a worker in the home she and her mother and sister were staying. The mother worked there as a domestic.

The majority of the homes our children live in are not like the homes most of us know. There are no windows, no electricity, no pluming, or indoor toilet, and no sturdy locks on the door. It is basically, flimsy, 12 x12, corrugated tin walls and a roof with a mattress that the whole family sleeps on. If the mothers are not part of the cooperative at the school, they are usually out trying to make money to feed themselves and their families in anyway they can, which often leaves young children alone and vulnerable to rape. If that is not bad enough, often the rapist is a family member!
So it can really be hard to keep the children safe.

Muday has taken in several children who were living in such unsafe situations but we don't have the resources or finances to guarantee the safety of all the children after school hours. This is why a big part of the Friends of Fresh and Green vision is to build a new school with a boarding facility.

Boarding schools are not permitted inside the Addis city limits, so to build our dream school it will have to be done far from the current school. We had hoped to purchase the land the school currently sits on but the deal fell through. I do feel everything happens for a reason and I always felt if it were meant to be it would happen, it was just very disappointing when it didn't. So maybe the boarding school can still happen. It will take a lot of money to relocate but I believe nothing is impossible.

I will continue to dedicated my life to giving these children a safe home on top of the food and education so many of us have helped to provide already.

One day the children will be safe and happy at "Home".