We are on our way!

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Rita and I just had a restful night in Seattle and we are on our way this morning to Ethiopia. In case you are wondering about the picture above, that is the only way I can sleep in the same room with my mother! And I thought you would find it amusing. Tawnya left a day before us, routed through China. We are both reminiscing about our last trip to Ethiopia together and how different this one is. We have four huge checked bags full of donations – thank you to everybody who donated medicine, toys, toothbrushes and shoes! And Tawnya had a huge bag as well, including the laptop we scored for Faya Orphanage from BC Tree Fruits.

I think all of us have different goals for this trip. Tawnya said she’s looking forward to meeting all the people she’s been working with over email for the last 2 years. Rita is looking forward to meeting the kids and their guardians in the House 2 House program. As our update lady, she knows all their faces, but she is looking forward to seeing their smiles in person. She is also very interested to meet the guardians of the kids… She says that they are the real heros in our program, taking care of vulnerable children who are often extended family. Rita says they deserve our respect and she’s excited about meeting them, especially the grandmother who takes care of the little boy she sponsors. Of course we both have personal goals for the trip, but that’s another story.

As for me, I think I’m really happy about meeting with our Ethiopian partners and figuring out so many details that are hard to explain while on the phone. I’m looking forward to meeting the government officials and the folks at the HIV clinic who refer our families, checking in with the families and seeing what their needs are, and really understanding the whole system. We’re also doing exploratory work on this trip- we’ve been thinking of starting other programs like micro finance and small plot gardening, and I’m very interested in hearing from the families what they think would be most beneficial to break them out of the poverty cycle and enable them to care for their families self sufficiently. The other goal for the trip is to work out kinks with our updates and to figure out some more Vulnerable Children oversight and engagement measures as our projects and activities continue to grow. We’re considering hiring a (very) part time administrator in Ethiopia, and have candidate interviews planned for next week.

Well, we’re now off to the airport. We should be arriving in Addis Ababa tomorrow.

Thanks for following along! Arnica

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