03 February 2012

Ethiopia FAQ

Peter calls it "Southeoka". Many days {when his electronics are not set up in the living room as a store or a car} he has a pretend airplane in his bedroom and invites anyone who will to fly with him to travel to "Southeoka". It's a long ways away. He might not be the best one to ask if you're wondering where I'm going. Try finding that country on the map. ;)

So -- since I figure you might have a couple questions about my trip, here goes, beginning with the most important one:

Where are you going?
Ethiopia. Which is in Africa {I had to look at a globe. Really.}. I'm flying into Addis Ababba, spending the night, then getting on a smaller plane and flying over to a town called Dire Dawa. We will stay there nights, and travel out to the villages during the day.

What is the language spoken?
Amharic. At least that's the working language in the cities. I'm told there is another language spoken in the villages we will visit. We'll need two interpreters.

What types of food do the people typically eat?
I will be better able to answer this question after experiencing their cuisine firsthand, I'm sure! I've heard that lentils and chickpeas are featured in many dishes. Meat is expensive, so much of their food is vegetarian {I can handle that!}. Injera, a kind of sourdough crepe is often eaten with their legume curries and used almost like a utensil.

What is the weather during the American winter?
Being so near the equator, the weather in Ethiopia does not fluctuate much. It will probably be in the upper 80's and low 90's during the day, but cooling off in the evening to around the 40 degree mark {in degrees Fahrenheit}.
What is our dollar worth there?
One Ethiopian Birr is worth about 6 cents in USD. Not much. It'll take about a thousand Birr to buy dinner.

How do most people make a living? 
Agriculture. Coffee is one of the largest exports. They also export cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, and cut flowers. But drought and poor cultivation practices make things very difficult. 

Are they highly or poorly educated?
Back in the 70's, only 10% of the population was literate. But things have improved and in the year 2000, the rate increased to just under 40%. As of 1999, 31% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school.

What is the life expectancy?
Male: 53 years
Female: 58 years

What will you be doing while you're there? 
It's a relationship building trip. We're going there to support them, be friends with them, connect with them. And then -- once we have discovered what they need most -- we're there to help them reach their goals.
GHNI is helping villagers learn sustainable agriculture methods, gain access to uncontaminated water, and stay healthy with designated latrines and childhood vaccinations. Ultimately, each village will become self-sufficient, with income generating practices and educational opportunities for their children.

My job -- beyond all the nitty gritty digging, teaching, loving on the kids stuff -- is to TELL THEIR STORIES TO YOU. That's my dream job. I want you to hear. I want you to listen to your heart while you read my posts.


Are you being compensated to blog about what GHNI is doing in these villages you will be visiting? 
No. I've been invited to come visit the village that I sponsor. GHNI wants to encourage real relationships between villages and their sponsors and I'm excited to see first-hand the progress brought about in these villages, aided in part by my monthly donations. This is a trip funded with money we have been setting aside specifically for humanitarian purposes. I'm excited to use my talents in photography and writing to share the stories of these villagers, to share the good that GHNI is doing! If my stories encourage you to give freely, good! If my pictures help you understand the impact being made in this impoverished country, great! I want to use my talents to serve.

And I'm depending on you to read, to share my blog with your friends,
and to be moved to help in whatever way you can.


See what sponsoring a village can mean to you and your network? It means even more to them.
They need us to come in and teach them. They need Transformational Community Development.

Algonquin to Gambella from Global Hope Network Int'l on Vimeo.

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Me in Ethiopia -- February 2012.
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