We had a great spring trip to Dera! We painted a wing of the health clinic, updated the computers in the high school and visited the schools. We are excited for a new toilet in the Hope Arising bathroom! That is good news for all team travelers.
We were able to view several gardens that are going strong in Dera. The high school has furrowed their plot and is moving forward. Dera #1 presented a Stay Alive play for us, showing they know the risks and danger of HIV/AIDS.
We had 3 energetic teenagers who taught several classes on nutrition and how to make tippy-taps (hand-washing stations out of a water bottle). Joe taught the high-school computer classes how basic programming skills can lead to jobs online.
We visited the orphanage in Nazret and donated some clothes and toys. The school is close by so we were able to play there for a few hours. It was hard to tear ourselves away!
We are happy Chet & Chantal could be featured on Channel 3’s Your Life A to Z program. When you get your teeth whitened at North Stapley dental, 100% is donated to Smiles for Life. Check it out on our Facebook page: Chet & Chantal Channel 3
We fell in love with Tiruworek Kebed! She has made dramatic improvements in her life, thanks to the micro-loan from Hope Arising. We are so happy she is able to increase her monthly income and her savings. Instead of cleaning houses, she now makes beautiful baskets and delicious injera (a traditional local bread) to sell. We hope to help more people like her.
We were greeted in Dera by 10 women who told us their stories of how the Thrive Together program has helped them. They receive micro-loans and in return must attend classes and make commitments, such as keeping their kids in school (which Hope Arising helps to pay for) and have 2 meals a day. One woman was making the equivalent of $1 a month as a housekeeper. With her micro-loan, she was able to buy equipment and supplies to start her own business making injera (a local bread) and weaving baskets. She now has enough money to feed her family and has saved the equivalent of $263. She is amazing! The progress of these women is impressive!
Our state-of-the-art recording keeping system shows how many eye patients were seen by Dr. Wilson in Dera. Each finger keeps a running total by day- 237 patients seen the first day, 301 patients seen the second day (for a total of 538), and 198 patients seen the third day, for a grand total of 736 patients. WOW!!! He diagnosed 49 cases of trachoma, which can cause blindness within a year, but is easily treated with a Z-pack of antibiotics.
We were amazed by how much our dental team could do in 3 days in Awash, a village just north of Dera. Our fearless leader and one of the dentists, Chet, was even stuck dealing with bureaucrats for 2 of the days. We had Jenet and Lydia, our local dentist friends come from Addis to help us. Between all of them working with support staff of Darlene, Peggy, Valerie, Linzi, Tyler & Braxton, they were able to service 355 dental patients, including extracting 570 teeth! Way to go!
We were honored to have Heather (pictured above), who is working on her Master’s degree in Art curriculum join us in the local schools in Dera & Awash. We combined an English lesson from Linda (pictured below), a 6th-grade Rodell teacher who taught the kids about the different sounds letters can make with an art lesson. The kids drew pictures of cats, beds, houses and flowers. They were impressed with the crayons and we were impressed with their skills and respect.
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.
An exciting advancement in Dera this summer has to be the gathering of “Women in Development”. Many huts in rural Ethiopia are not partitioned or properly ventilated. People and animals must share living space in order for protection from predators and theft. Moreover, many homes do not have proper toilet facilities. As a result, women and children are the principal victims of communicable diseases preventable by proper sanitation techniques. Responsibility for children, the home, cooking and gardens primarily falls upon women. Hope Arising offers training for women to promote healthy practices.
Men are not excluded but generally do not choose to participate in home skills training. In August, 135 women gathered to talk about circumstances surrounding their homelife. Foremost on the discussion topic list was nutrition, childcare, home management (cleanliness, shelves for dishes, pens for animals), personal hygiene and sanitation. Hope Arising field officers and other key community leaders provided instruction and extended a call to action for each household to; dig a pit latrine, secure latrine privacy using available materials as covering, preparing a simple hand washing station at their homes, separating the animals from family living quarters, better cooking ventilation and fuel alternatives to wood. These exercises empowered the women of these households to come up with solutions to their personal challenges.