Warmest greetings from Ethiopia! Two days ago, Vulnerable Children Society‘s treasurer Tawnya and I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s buzzing urban hub in Eastern Africa. I stepped off the plane to the familiar scent of spiced chilies and diesel fumes. It’s my umpteenth trip to Ethiopia, but each time I get off the plane, it’s the same – a breeze swaying the palms, horns honking, taxi drivers jostling to get my attention, the sounds of melodic Amharic in my ear, and a feeling of coming to a second home.
Tawnya and I usually visit our society’s projects in Ethiopia every year; however, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve been able to visit the kids and teens that we serve. We are both excited to see how the gardens are growing at the Love and Hope Centre, featured above.
Our awesome volunteer Stefan spent 5 months here this spring, helping the afterschool centre guards and parents build a demonstration garden and spread food security in the community. I can’t wait to talk with the moms and neighbours, and see how their own crops are doing.
We brought a new program with us teaching about balanced diets, using a culturally-appropriate version of Harvard’s Healthy Plate.
I can’t wait to see what the women who cook for our 70 kids think about it, especially in light of the crops they are now getting from our onsite garden.
The other project we will be spending time at involves ten special girls, who joined our Teenage Sex Trade Worker Retraining Program just a month ago. The girls are going through a year-long program, living in a group home, getting lots of counselling and intense vocational training. We heard from our partner organization, Hope for Children in Ethiopia, that the girls are learning about cooking and hairdressing right now.
So Tawnya and I are hoping to do the same nutrition workshop, as well as a workshop on cooking for ferengies (foreigners,) to increase their chances of the girls getting jobs in the exploding guest house tourism industry.
Some of the program graduates are already working at hamburger restaurants and guest houses, so it’s a great chance to these 15-19 year olds another employable skill.
To the right: Zenebu and Alemtsehay with their new careers at Lemon Zest Cafeteria. We are so proud of them!
We invite you to follow along with our journey! We can’t send newsletters from Ethiopia, because the wifi is tooooo sloooowwww. But we can post to Instagram and Facebook, and write blog entries! Please check out our social media accounts and see what we are up to. Now out for a delicious meal of injera and tibs… oh yes, I can smell those roasted spices already!
Melkam Addis Amet from Ethiopia! Happy Ethiopian New Year!
Thanks for following along… Arnica and Tawnya