Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ethiopia and beyond ...

In Ethiopia for a just a day on the way to work, I stopped by to visit folks I know.  I brought prints of the photos I'd taken a year before as a friendship gift.  They enjoyed them, and I had a little while to chat and laugh and meet some parents.

The folks are gracious enough to let me see a bit of what their world is like, which I appreciate.  It's not like my world at all.
Finishing school is difficult; costs are hard on most families.  Employment opportunities are few unless you're connected to the upper class.

It was Sunday, and folks were in their best outfits.  Grandpa and grandson posed for a photo in front of their simple home.  A handsome pair; I'll deliver this and a few dozen more later this year.

The new neighborhood!  A government housing project provides simple apartments for folks being relocated from inner-city areas.  It's a big step up for my friends; they pay 800 EB a month, about $48.  It's a bit of an effort to pay, but they're working hard, and in 15 yrs they'll own it.  They're really pleased, and so am I.

In their simple new home, momma roasts coffee beans so she can serve me coffee.  She does it every time I visit; it's a welcoming formality I think. It's really strong.

Spent some time with the boys; one in university and the other working on an employment plan.  I get to participate and help them with pulling things together.

Visiting one of the world's larger slum areas, I get to visit friends from earlier years.  These kids and their families are acquaintances I've encountered a few times; they're growing taller, the kids are.  Unemployment is around 80% here, so prospects for these kids are pretty grim.  Three of the four here are really nice.  One, not so much.

Outside the city on a road into the desert, kids run out to flag us down so they can ask for money.

It's our second time today with this bunch of kids, so we stop again and give what we have and take the opportunity to meet the family.  Nice folks living in a harsh environment.  Agriculture doesn't work here; the country lives on aid from the developed world.  We take the opportunity to help the family with enough for a month's food.  Dad, mom, and nine children.

Welcome sir; this is our home.  Come see!  This is my dad and this is my mom and this is my goat ....

With precious little rain during the year, the land can't support a garden, but a few goats survive and provide some milk for the family.  And a camel; they have a juvenile camel which I think is the dowry for the older daughter.

I'll check in on this particular family in a few months.
We're still looking for a reputable NGO in the area through which we might offer more meaningful help.