WORST DROUGHT IN 50 YEARS, BUT DERA HAS FOOD
Situated on the edge of the most drastically affected region of the worst drought in 50 years, Dera is the staging area for world food international aid trucks. Dera however has water and food, thanks to so many of you who supported Hope Arising in the 20 mile water pipeline. Today, that pipeline is literally a life line as water is diverted to crops for food and continues to quench the thirst of thousands in Dera.
A NEW KINDERGARTEN IN DERA
There are over 400 children age 4 just in the Dilfekar School area and no where to go to school. Hope Arising, in partnership with Dera Town leaders who are donating the land, is constructing a new public kindergarten school that will serve over 500 children. Volunteers began work on new benches and desks for the school this past spring trip. Efforts for money to begin construction are underway if you are able to help!
DENTISTS RELIEVE PAIN & DO SEALANTS FOR CHILDREN
Dr. Horgesheimer reaches out to children at Dilfakar Elementary doing 150 sealants and sending others with pain to the health clinic where the dental team can treat them. Doctors included Dr. Jason Horgesheimer, Dr. Micah Mortensen, Dr. Greg Mortensen, Dr. Bryan Christensen, Dr. Jeff Roberson and Dr. Jeremy Miller. Together their team helped hundreds who suffered pain and infections. Local dental students from Addis Ababa University worked side by side helping with procedures and translation.
In October, Dr Chet Jenkins made his annual fall trek to Ethiopia. Along with dental services, he introduced Dera to Drs Jon Wilson and Scott Kowallis, optometrists and his childhood friends. In turn, Dr Wilson brought his son, Turner, and Kowallis brought his wife, Sue, to be assistants to their first-of-many-to-come eye clinics. As with any pioneering adventure, their experiences were both unexpected and rewarding. Two grueling days spent by our country director, Betty, in negotiations with customs over equipment and medication added a little stress but could not thwart the determination of these fine folks from offering their services. The response to the much-needed eye services was overwhelming. Word travels fast in rural communities about the opportunity to see a doctor and people came in droves. Our garden expert, Bob Johnson, when not planting, spent his time managing the crowd and keeping order. Problems concerning the eyes are prevalent in this area due to several contributing factors; malnourishment, contaminated water, poor ventilation with cooking fires, and disease.
Drs Wilson and Kowallis knew they would be faced with surprises on their adventure to Ethiopia, however they were unprepared for the shocking occurrence of an eye disease called “trachoma”. Never heard of it? Because it was eradicated in the industrialized world by the 1950’s. Trachoma is an infectious disease, resulting in blindness if neglected. Ironically, it can easily be treated with antibiotics or simple surgery. Ethiopia has one of the highest occurrences of trachoma in the developing world, with women being three times more likely to be affected. A few of the root causes of trachoma are poor hygiene, poverty and inadequate sanitation; all of which exist in Dera. It is no mystery why villagers were clamoring to get in to see the eye doctors. Along with assessing sight and giving out prescription glasses, Wilson and Kowallis treated trachoma patients with antibiotics. You cannot put a price tag on the gift of sight. It is “clear to see” that Wilson and Kowallis have already made a huge difference in Dera. And this is only the beginning.
When students in Alberta, Canada heard about the needs of Dera High School they decided to take action. Securing pledges from throughout the community, students and teachers joined in a 3 day famine. Their goal: no food for 1 day and no technology for the other 2 days. Students in k-12 gave up their computers and teachers turned off their smartboards. After learning more about a day in the life of a student in Dera, Ethiopia these studentst raised enough money for 10 computers and computer desks for the High School. In Ethiopia, every child has a conviction of the power of education and they know that for their future success in the world, they need to learn how to use technology. Thanks to students in Alberta, the students in Dera will have that opportunity!
Clean water has begun flowing to local water points on the upper half of the pipeline. Individuals and families express how this clean water has changed their lives. They no longer have to wait days or hours in line and the health of their animalsand flocks have visibly improved. They are so grateful and happy to have reliable water flow.
With increased drought pressing this year in Ethiopia, the World Food Program has been forced to cut rations to additional Ethiopians. This waterline will prove an invaluable lifeline in the hot, dusty desert of Dera.
Thank you to our generous supporters who are making such a dramatic impact in this region of the world!
One of the great things about returning to Dera, Ethiopia for the 3rd time in one year is the friendships. We’re all beginning to be familiar with one another.
I love it, love it, love it.
Last March I met a woman that has forever changed my life.
This picture was taken at our first meeting… the day after her toddler son had died.
Her blind husband was off to bury the child. She couldn’t go, she is too sick… she is HIV positive. You can see my grief in this picture (I try so hard to conceal my emotions but I had lost control)… but not nearly as great as hers.
This is her 7 year old son, Abi. He has tuberculosis.
But a smile to capture any heart.
We were able to provide her and her family with food and some money each month. (about $20)
Needless to say, she was one of the first people I wanted to see when we arrived a few weeks ago. I was so anxious to see her, not knowing what to expect or how I would find her.
Imagine my JOY when my dear friend wrapped her tiny arms around me- healthy, happy, and FULL of LIFE. What’s more, imagine hearing her words (though foreign and through a translator) telling me that we had saved her life.
She said that the day we met her she had laid down to die, having told God that if she was to live she needed an angel.
We arrived about an hour later.
She knows that her life was spared.
She and her husband passionately presented a business plan to me, soliciting a small loan in the amount of $350 to start a hay business. They believe this is the beginning of better days for them.
Would you like to help support Marta?
You can make a donation of any amount to Hope Arising. When I exceed this goal, we’ll apply your donation to another friend of mine.
I have many.
Here’s a picture of Abi now: (Please note the shape of his head and the light in his eyes. It’s amazing what food and medicine can do! And note that I am clearly the happiest in Ethiopia.)
Does y=mx + b (or another algebraic equation) bring you to tears? How about H2OCL2 (a chemical compound name) or “Never end a sentence with a preposition?” Perhpas you recall when these teachings brought you tears of frustration, but do you recall them bringing tears of joy and humble gratitude?
Hope Arising and Dr. Chet Jenkins’ family purchased $450 worth of textbooks, all written in native Oromifa, and presented them to the Dera Middle School (Grades 5-8). The entire school greeted our team by clapping and singing. Speeches were made by the school director and the PTA president. But above the noise of clapping, singining and talking, tears of gratitude that silently streamed down students’ cheeks rang out to the Hope Arising team.
These children know that education is key to rising above their challenges and securing a better life. Parents encourage their children to study hard. Students take advantage of the meager opportunities presented to them. All sacrifice whatever is necessary to go to school and learn.
One dollar goes so far towards educating children in Dera, Ethiopia. We were honored to present textbooks to such an eager, humble, appreciative group of children as algebraic equations, chemical compounds and grammar rulesbrought tears of joy to eager students’ eyes.