The African Connection
A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now….” Philippians 1:3-4.
Introduction: Earlier this summer, our Board President, Dr. Olana Aberra, took an extended trip to Ethiopia. He shares what he experienced there while visiting our working sites.
A Journey of Appreciation: (By Dr. Olana Aberra)
This past summer, I travelled to the four of our five East African Village Outreach (EAVO) sites where we have built kindergartens (KGs) in rural Ethiopia. Seeing the eager and bright eyed faces of all the children attending school at these KGs was definitely the highlight of my visit.
It is one thing to read the reports and see the pictures of EAVO projects but it was an entirely different and profound experience to witness first-hand the young lives that are being changed as a result of these programs. Being physically present in these villages, breathing the uniquely fresh air of rural Ethiopia, meeting the kids and the villagers up close made it clear to me why the mission of EAVO is such a worthy pursuit.
When I approached the school in Acheber village, the children came across the field to welcome us. They surrounded us singing and clapping with joyful faces and warm handshakes. This welcome was repeated in Ginchi, where we witnessed the work that this community has done to improve their church. The schools in both communities are thriving.
The church in Ginchi has made significant progress since we first met them in 2012. EAVO financed repairs of their church and construction of a KG. The community completed the upgrades to the church and now has a preschool serving more than 80 children from the village.
We saw similar progress in Aderay at the Lana Reese Pre-school, which was completed last year. The classrooms have been built and all are furnished with desks. Truly the work of EAVO in these communities is making a difference. It was encouraging to hear from the teachers and local leaders that the children who attend these KGs are better prepared than most children when transitioning to 1st grade in the government run public schools. Some of the KGs incorporate Bible education and prayer as part of their curriculum while others use the rooms to hold church services for the children on Saturdays. This practice not only nourishes these young souls, it also is having enormous influence on the parents of the children and the community in general. It is leading to a wider acceptance of Christianity in these villages where ancient idol worship practices are still common.
The future is bright for the children attending these KGs as they get a head start in their education and spiritual life. Continuing EAVO's work in supporting the existing KGs and building new ones in other underserved villages remains a top priority.
Through our continuing partnership with you, our donors, we continue to make progress in nurturing the next generation of Ethiopians and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
Your servant in Christ, Olana Aberra.
Our continuing partnership with the Purpose Driven School in Kisimu has resulted in a significant improvement for the students and the community there. The school shares the church building which was in need of significant repairs. EAVO provided financial resources for the church to install flooring and doors for the building.
Samuel Oukumu, the principal of the school and EAVO’s partner, reports “We are glad the good work of church repair is now complete and the doors are ready waiting to be fixed. It has taken some time due to the school programs and church activities which were quite involving…. We are so glad that the school children for the first time can enjoy washing the floor or dusting it using broom and brush. They have been only seeing the muddy school floor full of dusts and dirt. This week they all want to clean the floor since it is so smooth and slippery and enjoyable for them. The pulpit is raised so that the preacher or the pastor can see all the congregation even the ones seated at the far corners of the church. The teachers too can use the pulpit as part of the class teaching space at the moment for the time being before we built the school .We are impressed children find it easy to do the cleaning together with the teachers.”
More College Graduates:
Five more students from Acheber village who have been supported throughout their high school and college years graduated from 4-year colleges in different fields of studies. Our Execttive Director, Seifu Ibssa, said “It gives me an enormous pleasure to see these young men from my birth village graduate from college, but we have a lot of work ahead of us to see girls become a part of this joy as well”.
Some of the graduates. We want to give a special recognition to Begashaw Tsegaye (bottom right) who received his post-graduate degree in Human Resources paying his own tuition for the two years he was in graduate school. He was one of our high school students whom we supported throughout his undergraduate college years. (EAVO supports high school students all the way through their undergraduate degrees).
Here is a list of our graduating students:
1. Begashaw Tsegaye (Addis Ababa University)……. Human Resource Management (Master of Arts)
2. Setegn Berhanu (Wolkite University)………………....Civil Engineering
3. Yosef Melka (Wolkite University)…………………........Civil Engineering
4. Gebissa Gizaw (Dilla University)………………….........Computer & software Engineering
5. Seid Gelan (Ambo University)………………………........Computer Science
While we celebrate the wonderful things that we at EAVO have been able to accomplish in Ethiopia and Kenya over the past 12 years, we are reminded that is it YOU, our donors who make all this possible. The work continues to be challenging and our resources are continually being tested because the need is so great. This past year has seen a decline in our financial balances, but we continue to believe God for the resources. We are asking you to continue on this journey with us as we seek to bring God’s love and relief to remote places.
We welcome your questions and comments, and hope that your lives might be abundantly blessed.