Friday, June 29, 2012

June Trip

Sunday, June 10:
Betty, Mike Merchant (Arbinger Trainer), Julie Walker (former Stay Alive implementer) and I headed down to Dera to check on the gardens. We found the HS garden doing well. Some rabbits got into the garden the night before we arrived and munched on a section of the zucchini plants. Betty asked the guard to come up with a solution to this problem. He went and got some wire mesh and wrapped it around the bottom section of the fencing that very day. We went to 3 community gardens of locals who had asked if they could be helped with some supplies. They were instructed to prepare their land, build a stand and secure a barrel for watering. They all did and were given seeds and the drip irrigation tubing. One of the gardens was from a teacher at Argite school. Not only was his garden thriving but he had taken saplings and replanted in a separate area of his compound. Very exciting and very self-reliant! The two pictures are from the HS and the one with the man is the teacher from Argite and this is his personal garden.

Monday, June 11 to Tuesday, June 12:
These 2 days were spent in a conference room in Debre Zeit doing “The Choice” training from the Arbinger Institute. Our trainer was Mike Merchant (also, president of Anasazi). The other participants in the training were Hope Arising, Engage Now Africa Ethiopia, Engage Now Africa Ghana, West Sands Adoption and one guy from Engage Now Africa Namibia. Engage Now Africa was started in Ghana by Bob Gay and in Ethiopia by his wife, Lynette. He has been called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Lynette’s sister is Diana Bingham and she runs Engage Now Ethiopia. They’re based in Debre Zeit and mostly build schools. She lives in California and brings teams of people once a year in June. Musa, the mayor of Dera, came and participated on Monday. He loved it and was so honored to be invited. He and Mike hit it off right away!

Hope Arising staff meeting.

Betty presenting to the group.

Friday, June 15:
Betty, Julie, Me, Mike Merchant and Suchi (Stay Alive trainer from Kenya) headed down to Dera for the latrine celebration at Dilfakar school. Musa had a tent set up and many townspeople had gathered. He told them that many had come from America to help them and they should be willing to help themselves. He conducted a little fundraiser right there as people donated what they could. He raised about $260 dollars or so. It was fantastic! He honored Mike with a gift and explained to the people about being “in the box” with someone and how we should always treat each other like equals. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and the latrine was officially presented to the director of Dilfakar. The company who built the latrine was AB Construction. One of the partners of this company is Haji, the former Water Bureau employee. He started the construction company with some friends and has won the bids for the latrine and several other home repair projects for us. The original agreement was to use metal sheeting and he used concrete blocks and reinforced steel. He went above and beyond with no increase to the original cost proposal. He’s a great friend to have on our side.

Following the ceremony, we donated 5 computers to the Dera Public Library with funds from Marianne’s sister, Michelle Mattys. Musa oversees the library and it is found in his office compound in a large, open building that is beautiful. The librarian takes immaculate care of the library and Betty is confident she will do the same with these computers. We found several students in the library studying textbooks. It is a very valuable contribution to this library! After the computer donation, we all headed back to Debre Zeit for Stay Alive training with Suchi. The participants in that training were Hope Arising, Engage Now Africa Ethiopia and Tesfa Hiwot (the HIV organization working in Dera). Suchi did a great job training us.

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