Category Archives: General

Our amazing country staff

We couldn’t do these humanitarian trips without the support of our amazing country staff.  L to r: Abenezer, (Chantal, Jen, Chet) with Seife & Nabyet.  Pictured below with Valerie is Santayu.  These men are hard-working, patient & delightful.   They organize things before we come, take care of logistics of moving, housing & feeding 25 people while we’re there, translate for us, help deal with customs at the airport just to get our equipment into the country, etc.   We appreciate all that they do for us.  They have a place in our minds and in our hearts.  They are our co-workers and also our friends.

Sentayu w Valerie in Awash

Climb for Hope


Between October 6-12, Marianne Hirsche will endeavor to “Climb for Hope” to increase awareness of Hope Arising and its efforts to improve the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia.  As she ascends Africa’s tallest peak, she invites you to participate in her challenge by donating to Hope Arising.


 

The Goal

Help Marianne raise $15,000.  All proceeds will directly  benefit Hope Arising’s efforts to build a school that will benefit more than 200 children and  enable them to enroll in school. Donations of every amount will help!

The Cause

Disease, general living conditions, war, and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia threaten to destroy the traditional family structure. Young children often forego education and lose hope for a better future in order to provide immediate care for younger siblings. Those children cared for by extended family members strain limited resources and often end up in servitude to the family hosting them. Children whose parents die from HIV/AIDS are stigmatized and too often ostracized because of simple ignorance and fear.

Hope Arising strengthens families to support and care for children orphaned or made vulnerable by disease, war, natural disaster and extreme poverty.

The Mountain

Mount Kilimanjaro, “the Roof of Africa”, stands at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) and is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free standing mountain. Kilimanjaro is also one of earth’s largest volcanos. The mount is found in northern Tanzania and overlooks Kenya.

Kilimanjaro promises to be both beautiful and challenging, as hikers venture through four climates in as few as four days. “Climb for Hope” will use the Alternative Lemosho Route, and climb with the trekking company Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This route boasts to be quieter, longer, and more challenging than some other routes to the summit. It is a seven day adventure that covers approximately 80 kilometers. More information on Kilimanjaro and this trek can be found at climbmountkilimanjaro.com.

The Climber

Marianne Hirsche fell in love with the people of Dera, Ethiopia on her first visit, and has returned several times. Marianne is from Stirling, Alberta and works for a Toronto-based exploration company on a project in northern British Columbia, near the Alaska border.

Marianne set a goal several years ago to climb one of the seven summits, and her love for Africa made Kilimanjaro the perfect choice of mountain. She has two boys, loves to travel, and enjoys an active lifestyle that includes running, hockey, and wake-boarding.

Giving Thanks for Sight

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.

Computers for Dera High School

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!

2nd phase of water pipes arrive in Dera

Dabi, Mayor Musa with new pipes

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.

2nd phase of pipes delivered to Dera

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!

dera women battle hiv

Each one of these women of Dera, Ethiopia has a poignant situation. Each has tragedy and daily struggles to survive. But their will to not only survive, but to thrive is an example of how far the human spirit will soar to overcome even the most desperate of situations.

Tigist was married and has two sons; 8 and 7 years old. Her husband passed away three years ago from AIDS. She and her youngest son have been diagnosed as HIV positive. Mother and sons are currently healthy, but due to the negative stigma of employing someone with AIDS, Tigist’s workload as a housecleaner has been completely diminished. She has applied for a micro-loan to sell coffee and beans at the marketplace but is waiting to hear if her application is acceptable. She and her 7 year old currently take medication and all three remain healthy. Tigist needs the resources to start and run her own business. This opportunity will allow her to be self-reliant and provide for her sons.

Photo # 4436

Ayu was diagnosed as HIV positive, along with her husband. After receiving this news, their marriage ended in divorce. Ayu has three children aged 14, 12, and 8, all of whom remain free of the AIDS virus. She faithfully takes her anti-retro viral medication every morning at 8 AM, even if there is no food available. Good nutrition is essential to those who suffer from AIDS, but is a luxury not available to most in Dera. Ayu sells sugar cane in the marketplace as a means to survive. She currently has the equivalent of $3 in capital. If she could secure a micro-loan of $40, she has a plan to add onions, garlic and potatoes to her list of available goods to sell. Ayu has a viable plan and the work ethic necessary to make her business successful. She lacks only the resources to make it happen.

Photo # 4438

Imabet has two children; a son 17 and a daughter 14. She was divorced seven years ago from her husband after being infected with HIV. Imabet is remarried to another man who also has AIDS. They decided not to have any children together since they’re both carriers of the AIDS virus. Imabet and her husband take daily medication for their condition. Her family receives a small pension equal to $8 a month, from her former husband’s employer. This pension is not enough to sustain Imabet’s family. Until six months ago, she was supplementing the pension by selling vegetables at the marketplace but the heat greatly exacerbates her health problems. Her body cannot tolerate sitting in the heat of the sun all day at the market. Imabet is part of a group called “Almaz”, who have applied for a micro-loan to purchase supplies to weave traditional Ethiopian clothing to sell. If granted this loan, Imabet can work in her home and her business partners will sell at the marketplace.

Photo # 4439

Ayesha is a 27 year old single mom with AIDS. She is the sole guardian of her seven year old son and her three year old niece. Both children are HIV free. Ayesha brought her niece to live with her after the toddler’s mother died of AIDS and her father is in prison. It is not uncommon for relatives and even neighbors to take in orphaned children. Ayesha works three jobs to support her little family. She works at the Dera Bus Station organizing passengers, a housekeeper and is the leader of a group of women who do sheep fattening. These women have pooled their resources to secure a micro-loan for sheep and the necessities for fattening. She is a hard worker determined to stay healthy and strong enough to take care of her family.

Photo #4437