April 2011

New stories

Mula is a young man in his early twenties. We have known him for several years and since leaving education he has set up his own one-man photography business. Ethiopians love having their photo taken at any opportunity, weddings, births, school-graduation. There is also a huge requirement for photos for ID, passes etc, a photo is even required to purchase a SIM card for a mobile phone. Mula has a small shop come studio which he rents a very old 35mm SLR camera and a very basic point and shoot digital camera. What he would like is a better digital camera, if you know of anyone who is willing to donate a camera can you let us know.
Chicken Run
As with previous years we decided to purchase some chickens 64 in total. The idea being that the porridge ladies could have two each and hopefully a supply of eggs. We spent the best part of the day haggling in the market for the said chickens. Pleased with our purchase, managing to reduce the cost of each chicken by 10 Bir, they were tied in bunches to each other and put in the back of the truck. Half way back to Sister’s in the middle of the main street in Bahir Dar, three of the chickens decided to make their escape. The Farengi (Ethiopian Amharic for ‘foreigners’) have never tried to catch one chicken let alone three much to the amusement of the local population. We did manage to catch them however with a little help from some tear filled belly aching locals. The humiliation was worth it when we saw the look of delight on the faces of the porridge ladies when they received their chickens.
Chicken House
At Sister’s request Mike and Jane built a chicken coup to house chickens we bought for the Sisters. The idea was that the Sisters will teach some of the elderly ladies how to care for the chickens as a means to generate income with the sale of the eggs. Sister Ayelech was having 4 very sturdy chicken houses built one of which she would keep and three that would go to three ladies as part of the project as well as some chickens We thought this was a great idea and so we funded the houses as well. Sister Ayelech wanted her house to be within the protective boundary of a chicken coup so Jane and Mike set to work. 
‘A poor workman will always blame his tools’ so the saying goes, but when you have to mix concrete with an old toilet seat and the bag of cement is one solid lump you get an idea of the challenge. Did we mention the nails - hit them twice with the hammer and they start to bend. The coup was completed within two days, not the most sturdy of constructions, a strong gale would do irreversible damage but as the wind in Ethiopia barely gets past a breeze the construction would suffice, the chickens loved it and so did Sister Ayelech. Since returning we have heard that the chickens have started laying eggs.
Wubita Galagagi
Ethiopia has many feast days, these are a time for celebration and will include food, the local beer, Tela and plenty of dancing.
This year Angie and Jane spent all day preparing the food, pealing the vegetables and taking the bugs out of the rice to ensure that the ‘poor’ (Sister’s word) were able to have a meal and the chance to let their hair down. In all we catered for about 50 women and children. At these occasions it is us the Ferenji who serve and wait. The food consists of the local staple diet of Injera with Wat, vegetables and rice all washed down with copious amounts of Tela. The Tela is fermented for several weeks and to put it mildly is lethal. Although very polite at first our guests soon become very boisterous once the Tela hits home and this is when the dancing starts. The day is rounded off with all the children getting new clothes and this year, thanks to donations, woollen hats. This was also the opportunity to distribute the chickens.
One lady, Wubitu Galagagi and her three children arrived late. Due to being HIV positive she looked very tired and the disappointment of seeing that the festivities were over was telling on her face. However we managed to rustle up enough food for her and her children, one of which was suffering with TB. Clothes were distributed to her children along with two chickens and an arrangement made for her to have milk for the next year. The look on Wubitu’s face was amazing, this woman arrived looking gaunt and down with three very poorly dressed children. She left with a full belly, 3 tidy looking children and two chickens tucked under her arm. Moments such as these is why we come back every year.
Adane Chokolo
Adane lives with his wife and daughter. By trade he is a tailor and many years ago we supported him paying for a new roof for his shop. This year he asked us if we could help to purchase a new top for his sewing machine, as without it he would be unable to work. We priced a new top approximately £12.00. Adane lives from day to day just making enough money to feed his family, having to pay out £12.00 was more than he could afford and was a real concern for him. We were happy to be able to help.

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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