June 2009

Few stories

Alem Muluken
Alem was struggling every day to survive, with two children, no husband and poor health, Alem lived hour by hour. She sells sugar cane to generate an income but what she makes on this is swallowed with paying her rent, as she has no family land on which to build a house. Everyday Alem comes to the Porridge Club to help prepare porridge and get a meal and every day always greeted us with the biggest smile and welcome. Her young son, aged 4, who we nicknamed the Little Professor due to the fact that he is always making things with sticks and litter attends the Day Care Centre.
After visiting Alem in her rented house we saw a familiar sight of just a bare hut with some rags on the floor for sleeping on. Our first purchase was a bed and mattress and we asked Sister if we could get Alem land and a house as this would ease the burden of finding rent and her small income from selling sugar cane would enable her and her children to survive.
No land was forthcoming so we left this with Sister and since returning however Sister has sent us a photo of Alem and the professor proudly standing outside ‘their’ home.
Yeyesh Abaye
Last year’s newsletter mentioned Yeyesh, we supplied her with a house, electricity and beds. This year we met up with Yeyesh in her place of employment. Her new house has given stability for her children and enabled her to find work.   She has now found employment at the Grace Day Care Centre making baskets. A positive sign that with a little help people can become self-supporting.
The Blind Man
Sad news; Whilst out walking we turned a corner expecting to see the blind man sitting in the same spot outside his house, the same spot he had sat at for years. Not this time, just an empty rock. Sadly he passed away late last year after becoming ill. 
A Family Holding it Together
Whilst out one Saturday evening with Sister Terfatu looking at houses we came across a family; a man and his three children Asksed aged 10 Silabet 7 and Bitkan aged 3.    The father was working as a labourer but since the death of his wife from TB in January has had to stay at home and run the household along with his eldest daughter, Asksed, who had to stop going to school in order to look after Bitkan. The youngest, Bitkan, was much traumatized and just clung to Asksed all the while we were there. Sister explained that the two youngest could come to the day care centre and the oldest could go back to school then the father could return to work. So we made arrangement for them to start on Monday. Silabet took to the centre immediately but Bitkan clung to Asksed for the whole day and either wept or screamed as the teachers approached, so it was decided that Asksed would have to stay until Bitkan was settled. But worse was yet to come. Before going home Sister decided that all three needed new clothes and a shower, the clothes were easy, your donations. The shower was traumatic. The screams from Bitkan were too much for us to bear and we returned to Sister’s house but the screams could still be heard, 100 metres away.
The next day they all returned Asksed and Silabet have settled in well and Bitkan was getting less clingy when we left; there was no mention of another shower however. 
Thanks to your funding they are all receiving an education and a daily meal.
Well and Chat Farming
We are not sure if we have become drug barons but we have supplied funding for a chat farm. Chat (legal in Ethiopia) is a leaf that the locals chew which acts as a stimulant.
Desesh approached Sister for help She has a house and land growing chat but wanted a water-pump to pump the water from her well. This would increase her chat yield generating a large income (by Ethiopian standards) for her but would allow her to employ locals to help. On visiting her one evening we felt that Desesh was asking for too much, a generator, a water-pump and all the associated piping. This was turning into one of those difficult decisions, after much negotiation we agreed that we would provide the generator and Desesh would get a loan from Sister for the pump and piping. This will allow Desesh to generate an income and provide employment for others. We will let you know how this proceeds.

For further information on the Bahir Dar Projects and how you can help please email Angela and Mike on khyber.king@btinternet.com

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