Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Ethiopia just finished beating themselves out of advancing in the Africa Cup. Poor game planing, silly fouls, maybe even some bad luck.  

It was the their first time even qualifying for the tournament in the last 31 years. All of Ethiopia has been gliding upon a football high, with huge expectations, for their vastly improved national team.  Devastatingly, that positivity has taken a downward trajectory.  Ethiopia has been eliminated, and there are countless habasha asking themselves why?

After watching the heart-wrenching affair, Ethiopia's second red card received by a goalie in the last three games, and the subsequent loss, Im a bit drained for putting together some not-to-trite daily reflections.  Didnt help watching the game with the family and about 20 eager friends.   Izoh (a wonderful word expressing sorrow and empathy to another) to me and the rest of Ethiopia.

That said...

Fundame: Perimeter fence is finished, bathroom holes being dug, land is completely leveled, 120 1 meter post holes are dug, 6 perimeter post have been set and level, the rest start going in tomorrow.

Azedebo; Mud work is finished, with the exception of very small touch ups around windows and doors, all windows and doors have been installed, all masonry foundation is complete, cement work has begun. 

All level,, once the needed wood delivery is made tomorrow we will make fast work of the rest.

Check out that fence line
How we start the first layer of cement process.

How  it finishes up (not the same room).

Lolo was here

Ephraim (Delenge's 8 year old son)  helping me with the days photo recap

Was Chuni's birthday.  Who needs cake when you got biscuits, mirenda and warm bread

Lolo eyeing up potential belly fillers 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Few from Saturday

5 in the back, and still all smiles
Fundame potluck.  You bring the avocados, he'll bring the injera and they'll bring the watt  (Ethiopian sauce of sorts)
Nice shot of Tadeletch

Sallmanesh looking peeved

Walk home

My favorite tree in the neighborhood
Splitting logs for  the fence... lots and lots of logs

Fundame after 4 days

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Work Swap

When first moving into a community one of the biggest hurdles is earning the communities trust.  Once that has been established, leading 20-35 people through daily labor becomes a lot easier.  More so, people actually tend to believe us when explaining the goals that ER hopes to achieve through the creation and sustainment of a KG and library.   When the opportunity is available, show and tell does wonders.

We are currently 4 weeks away from finishing up work in Azedebo, we have a rental 4x4, and Fundame is only a 15 minute drive.  Today we brought 3 well respected hard working laborers from the Azedebo crew and swapped them with three up and comers from Fundame.  Each group spent the day working , and talking with the other work crew in each other respective build sites.  Fundame got a chance to see the almost finished ER project, while having a chance to meet and work along side a individuals that have welcomed the ER crew into their community.   Thus far its proved to be a great experience for everyone involved.   

Fundame folks were elated to hear tales about our "other" school, and especially to know more about how we the ER function's when not on a site.  When I wasnt working on the fence, I had a chance to listen in as Tadeltch and Cabedetch (from Azedebo) answered a slew of questions.  Unfortunately my local languages are still a ways from decent, and the conversations were mostly spoke in Kambatenya , so I didnt catch much.  However Desaleng (also from Azedebo) summarized that other than a few funny tales of Ejigu and I's work outs, it was nothing but respectful, and according to my translator, the Fundame workers seemed to take the words to heart.  

What really cemented the exchange was the recap meeting at the end of the day.  The three Fundame-ers  that visited Azedebo, told inspired stories of beautiful but very hard-work.  One commented that they didnt know if they could cut it for more than a few weeks, but then went on to explain that she really hopes that like, Cabadetch and Tadaletch can also follow in Sallamnesh's footsteps.  

Days like this solidify many of the reasons why I do what I do.

Cabatech and Tadeltech leading the way

Desaleng doing the same

Wood delivery

Fence studs go in

80 cm-1 meter deep, compacted with plenty of stones

Where we are in Azedebo

Ejigu leading the work-swap recap

Where we are in Fundame; leveled and fence is on its way

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Life moves fast when you stay busy

Title about sums it up.  Feels like I've only been Ethiopia for a couple months, but I'm heading back to the creature comforts of US summer living in not too long.  Got a school/library or two and some public healthing to take care of,  so I doubt the days are going to start slowing down.  

The photos are the lines, you read in between them  (literally + figuratively) and do your bestest to imagine the rest.

Not so puppy-ish anymore

Kids are pretty frightened these days, spot the little guy in the tree.

The covered walkway is coming along

Leveling the land in Fundame has begun

How else would you celebrate the starting of a another build. Raw meat and moon shine.
With the folks

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fundame; it begins

Whats next: 13 km up the road to Mudula sits the Fundame 1-8.  The schools been around for over a decade educating the communities children, and doing their best to prepare them for the local high school in Shinshicho.  There is a library, but since its creation it has relied  on a meager collection of a couple hundred out-dated books for its nearly 1000 students. In short, the schools students, like most on the road to Mudula, are unprepared when they begin first grade, and they lack the supporting literacy resources to assist them in their preparation for high school.  Consequently, these inadequacies paired with numerous other factors lead to an estimated 70 percent failure rate of Shinshicho high school seniors of the national exam.

Starting this past Satuday, Ethiopia Reads began the process of preparing the community for the implementing of the construction phase of a much needed KG and the sponsorship of a ER library.  

What that means:  Ethiopia Reads will be empowering the local community to work together to build a structure that will better that when finished will prepare Fundame's young minds for the rigors of primary, middle and high school.  In addition ER will hire local artisans to craft furniture for the schools students and staff as well as bookshelves to house 3,000-5,000 new and up to date volumes.  No drastic change will occur overnight, but the cumulative effort of on going support from ER, the Fundame community, and inspirational people like the Moss family will ensure that those critical changes will one day happen.

How were doing it: Today was the big talk with the labor force.  Over 400 people showed up.  It was a long one, but a successful day lead effectively by Ejigu, Temesgin and a couple select village elders.   The ER projects were talked through at length, ER expectations of temporary workers were explained, contracts were gone over, and the ER temp worker lottery was put to use.  

Each of the 183 men and 221 woman's names were recorded on master lists and then copied on small cuts of paper. The names were then separated by sex and placed in their respective bins to be drawn out by the attending village elders.  May sound a little goofy to some, but its a fair, and very importantly, a transparent way to chose our weekly work force.  It also takes me and the ER field management team out of the blame game of "why dont I get to work this week."  Every name drawn is listed on paper in chronological order, and will be posted on the schools outside gate to help remind the community of when each person is expected to report for work.  

Tomorrow 12 woman and 8 men will work together to begin the process of leveling the land.  3 days latter we will digging post holes, and erecting a fence.  It will go fast, so make sure to check in from time to time.  

The introductions

Ejigu taking center stage when discussing daily pay rates

Ejigu getting some assistance from one of the Fundame school teachers

Fe of the ladies listening in

Ejigu playing securit guard as we record all the names.  2 at a time.
Temsgin, Getan, and a volunteer from Fundame working together to record names

One of the piles begins

44.5 meters by 21 meters of potential

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday's photos

Abebe taking in his gutter work

A few thousand loads latter; the remnents of a barrila

Were averaging 144 jerri cans of water a day.

Temesgen leading from the shade

Second layer of cob almost finished on the interior

Where we are

Friday, January 18, 2013

War paint

With 34 people doing good work, Sallamnesh and Getan (our rentals driver and volunteer worker) certainly stood out today.  

Nearly all the trim is painted in preparation for the gutters.  

Got to love the ladder, our new rental car.

Temsgin and Ejigu  providing some assistance