Spring 2017 The African connection A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)
This newsletter comes with warmest regards and greetings from us at the East African Village Outreach (EAVO). We are bursting with good news of what God is doing through your generous gifts to further His kingdom among our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and Kenya. In the first weeks of December, our Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa, embarked on a three-week journey to survey our work and the development of our projects in Ethiopia and Kenya. What follows is one shining example of how your partnership with EAVO is making a difference in the lives of young people there.
One Girl’s Story of Transformation: by Kelsey McFaul
It is cold and crisp on the first morning I go to high school in Acheber, and I poke the purple embers of the fire with a stick to stoke it. I walk to the river for water, roast coffee over the fire, pound it in the trunk of a hollow tree, and heat coffee and pearled barley kernels for the morning meal.
Today, I do all of this at double speed so I am not late to the first day of ninth grade. My sisters before me have attended school through eighth grade in the village but my father would not let them travel the 30 kilometers to Harba Chulule to continue. Now there is a high school in Acheber, its tan buildings tucked under the shadow of a hill, a valley of farmland rolling below.
“God go with you, Bontu!” my mother yells, leaning against the door of our hut. I am already halfway down the dirt road, a pail with injera and wot banging against my legs and clutching an old notebook, my sister’s, to my chest. All summer I have been studying her notes by the light of a solar lamp, preparing.
At the schoolhouse, there are thirty of us in a classroom with walls the color of mustard and paved stone floors. Our teacher, a woman in dark jeans and a white coat, stands in front of the classroom and introduces herself in Oromigna, tells us that because we are in high school now, our classes will always be in English so we can prepare for university or jobs in Tulu Bolo or even Addis Ababa. My English is rusty, I know, and I sneak peeks at my sister’s notes as we review greetings and numbers.
In the afternoon there is math, and that is when I begin to feel the ache deep in my stomach, the feeling before pain which causes me to cross my legs under my skirt and squeeze them together tightly, my hand wedged deep in between. Immediately I imagine what a bloodstain would look like on the back of my flowy white skirt, impossible to hide. I would be the ridicule of the school on my first day. Panic rises inside me. In a rush, I scrape together my things and burst from the table, out the door, and outside. Better to miss the remainder of the lesson than risk embarrassment and the pain I know will come.
I am almost to the edge of the compound, near the eucalyptus tree by the gate, when an older girl comes running after me. “Bontu! Bontu! Where are you going?” she calls to me. “I saw you rush from 2 class.” I am hesitant at first, but she looks like my older sister, with a kind calm face and a wooden cross charm around her neck. I tell her I am scared of starting my menstrual cycle at school.
She smiles at me, a warm older sister smile, and takes me to a small room of corrugated metal beside the principal’s office. Inside are packages of briefs the shape of baby swaddles but my size, soft colors in blue and pink. She shows me how to put them on under my skirt, how to unwrap a pad from its plastic wrapping and place it inside. When I pull the briefs up, I feel comfortable, secure.
She explains how the supplies were brought by a man who helped build the high school, how he asked all the girls to use them to promise not to miss a day of school nor get married before they graduate. She asked if I could promise too. I think about the cold early mornings getting water from the river and grinding coffee, of the hours studying by solar light, of my sister who is married and gave up her college dream, of the soft confidence that rests between my legs, the feeling someone knows me and my challenges and wants me to succeed. I think of my dreams, and I nod my head, yes.
Note: During his visit to Acheber High School, while enjoying the triumph of the building that EAVO accomplished there, Seifu Ibssa noticed the low graduation and success rates of the female students and inquired about their challenges. A female teacher identified three: 1) girls have a number of chores early in the morning and after school to provide meals for their family, leaving them little time to study; 2) girls stay home from school to take care of younger siblings when their mothers go to market or give birth; and 3) girls stay home 3-5 days per month during their menstrual cycles due to lack of underwear and pads.
This lack of sanitary hygiene facilities for young women is epidemic in rural Africa. Mr. Ibssa gathered all the girls together and spoke to them, promising more solar lamps for doing their homework at night and other supplies they needed. He asked that they promise to study hard and not get married until they finish high school. All 48 girls’ hands shot up in promise. Thanks to Judie Smith of the Paraklete Foundation, who had already donated funds for the high school’s library, Mr. Ibssa purchased enough underwear for 48 girls to have 3 pairs each and receive several packs of sanitary pads.
A Note from the Executive Director: Thank you Kelsey McFaul for writing Bontu’s touching story. Friends! EAVO’s next big goal is to improve the ratio of girls that graduate from college from about 15% to 50% in the next 3-5 years. To that end, we plan to hire tutors for the girls, buy solar lights and feminine hygiene products for each girl. Help us achieve this goal. Please send us your tax-deductible gifs today! (Write “Girls” on the memo line). Thank you!
More Trip Highlights: Lana Reese Preschool—Worknesh, one of our original high school/college graduates continues to work as a teacher at Lana Reese Preschool. She is doing wonderful work using sound teaching methods and creative use of available materials to bring the academic skills to the children. Seyoum, the principal of the neighboring preschool we built at Ajo has been impressed with her work and is now looking for opportunities to further his own education as a teacher and educational leader.
Water Projects: While in Ethiopia, Seifu and Hailu, his brother and EAVO’s Africa volunteer coordinator, met with the leaders from three villages to discuss progress on a project to bring clean water to these villages. The Rotary Club of Sacramento and EAVO have committed to this project which will bring clean water within easy access. This project will also relieve girls from travelling long distance each morning to collect water from rivers, but instead focus on their school.
The community leaders reported that they already have begun clearing roads for the trucks to carry cement, sand and rocks to the construction site. They also formed a committee of 9 people, three from each village, along with an oversight committee to provide accountability for progress or lack thereof. They reported that they have collected most of the funds they agreed to supply.
The community communicated enthusiasm for the project and its benefits to their lives and that of their children. They are ready to begin the project sometime in mid-January when the harvest is collected. The total cost for the project is estimated at $39,000 ($33,000 of which is matched / funded by Rotary Club of Sacramento). We are in the process of securing that fund.
Ginchi Village: Three years ago, the church in Ginchi approached EAVO to ask for help to strengthen the church and build a Worknesh with her students at Lana Reese Preschool 4 preschool for their children. During his visit in December, Seifu observed the three classrooms that EAVO’s investment built. At the school, two teachers currently educate approximately 250 students and there is a need for a third teacher. The students bring their own water to school with them using bottles that EAVO supplied as there is no water on the site. There is also no latrine on the site at this time.
Roben Jirecha: The church at Roben Jirecha has, for some time, been working with EAVO to build a preschool. After some delays and much conversation and negotiation, the school opened during Seifu’s visit. The local governor and a representative of the Guennet Church (our partner in the building of this school) cut the ribbon to mark the official opening, and Seifu was invited to say a few words. .Currently approximately 70 students are attending regularly and being taught in two classrooms EAVO built. The school is sponsored by the church in Ginchi; in fact, leaders asked that EAVO build a school rather than a church for them. Church members currently crowd into a small room adjacent to the preschool for prayer and study. EAVO has made a contribution to build a church there.
Kisimu, Kenya: The Purpose-Driven School continues its ministry to orphans in this city on the shores of Lake Victoria. EAVO continues to partner with the school to build classrooms and provide funds for daily meals for the orphaned students. In the past, you may remember, EAVO supplied mosquito netting for all the students and teachers, and we arranged for a malaria vaccination clinic at the school. We will continue to keep you updated on our involvement there. We are reminded of St. Paul’s words to the Phillipian Church: “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….” Truly this has come to pass because of your generous partnership with us. There remains much we can do and much we hope to do with your continued support of this work. Thank you so much and God bless you!
Here are the needs:
- Hygiene supplies for Acheber high school girls
- A latrine for Lana Reese Preschool
- 3 classrooms for Kisumu Orphanage.
Please mark your gifts on the memo line of your check from the list above and mail it to: East African Village Outreach 7276 French Road Sacramento, CA 95828
The African Connection
A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)
Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We rejoice at this sacred time of year as we celebrate the coming of Emmanuel.
We also rejoice for all the work the Lord Jesus is doing in the lives of our dear brothers and sisters in Africa.
From Roben Jirecha:
Derje can neither hear nor speak. When East Africa Village Outreach (EAVO) opened a school in Roben Jirecha, Derje would attend, even though he could not understand nor communicate with the teaching. The rural nature of Roben Jirecha has no services for a child with disabilities. Upon learning about his situation, EAVO board made the decision to provide funding (living expenses, transportation, and tuition) for him to attend a school for children with disabilities in Addis Ababa. He is now living with his grandmother in Addis Ababa and learning to communicate.
Lana Reese Preschool:
For several years, a centerpiece of EAVO’s ministry has been to support students to successfully complete secondary school and college. Worknesh is one such student. With support from EAVO, she was able to attend high school in Acheber and complete a 2 year pre-school teacher training. She has returned to the community to teach in the Lana Reese pre-school in Aderay. Nine new baptized believers in Roben Jirecha this fall.
It has always been EAVO’s objective to help educate the young so that they can return to their communities as productive adults who can apply their newly acquired skills to perpetuate the cycle of growth. We celebrate this step toward self-sufficiency for the community.
The preschool itself has opened with 30 students. They are served with two teachers and rudimentary supplies (2 blackboards, a few cupboards, small desks for the children.)
In Kenya we have reconnected with the “Purpose Driven School.” You may remember that last spring, EAVO helped a child, Treci, from this school who had misshapen legs as a result of severe malnutrition. Treci is now recovered and can walk unaided.
The school itself began as a grass roots community effort to provide care and pre-schooling for the disadvantaged and orphaned children in the community. Susan, her husband Samuel, and another young mother began a day-care center in an old grist mill, with about 20 children. Today, the school runs as a non-profit organization recognized by the Kenyan government. It serves over 140 children through secondary grade levels from its site in a church compound.
At this time, EAVO helps with supplies, clothing, mosquito nets, health clinics and a bit of organizational advice. In our last letter we shared photos of an EAVO-sponsored field trip that students took to Lake Victoria. This month we received this photo showing desks that EAVO funded. Samuel was excited to tell us that they were able to purchase different size desks for children from kindergarten up to 4th grade.
In addition, the school provides a “feeding program” as funds are available to provide a bean/rice meal. For many, it is their main meal. This program often comes up short. Even at .25 cents per child/day it adds up to over $7000/year including firewood. At this time EAVO is not able to sustain this level of assistance. It is our hope that we will be able to substantially subsidize this program in the future.
Celebrating a Partnership:
On a recent visit to California, Hailu Ibsa (Seifu’s brother and our main collaborator in Ethiopia) was welcomed by his fellow Rotarians in Sacramento as their special guest. Hailu’s excellent motto: “Don’t wait so long to get involved in service above self” encapsulates his dedication and selfless commitments over the years in helping EAVO accomplish many of its objectives in the rural villages of Ethiopia. Coincident with Hailu’s visit, Past President Peter Dannenfelser (Architectural Arts) presented a third anniversary update on the joint water project between EAVO and The Rotary Club of Sacramento. A team from Sacramento Rotary club was sent in 2013 and worked with Hailu and others to build a gravity feed cistern and provide a clean water supply to villages in the Acheber area. Peter summarized his experience in Ethiopia with two words: beauty and hospitality.
Hailu is pictured below with President Dan McVeigh exchanging club banners.
An Updated Website:
EAVO recently updated its website. You can see the changes and the new features at www.eavo.org. Along with increased mobility, the site now has the capacity to bring you electronic updates of our newsletters, and you can communicate directly with EAVO’s staff. We are especially encouraged by the added feature for online giving. It is now possible for you, our friends and faithful supporters, to make donations directly to EAVO through PayPal.
We are grateful to Simon Ibssa who redesigned our website. Check it out!
2016 Year-end Donations:
At this special time of year, we wish to give thanks and praise for your support of the work of EAVO. If you are considering making a special gift or donation to charity before 2016 ends, please consider giving to our work in Ethiopia. The situation there is tenuous, and many of our churches and communities are facing uncertainty and danger due to current political unrest. Your gift would be especially appreciated at this time as we continue to offer aid and spiritual comfort to our villages there.
We welcome your questions and comments, and hope that your lives might be abundantly blessed.
Mail your tax deductible gifts to:
East African Village Outreach
7276 French Road
Sacramento, CA 95828
In this edition, we want to bring you up-to -date on our associations in Kenya. We begin with an update on Tresi’s story. If you remember, last October, we re-connected with Samuel and Susan Okumu near Kisumu, Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria. Samuel and Susan run a school in a village that began with 35 students and has grown to nearly 200. East African Village Outreach (EAVO) began working with Samuel and Susan a decade ago, but had not had much contact in recent years.
When we visited in October, Susan introduced us to Tresi, a young student whose leg bones, because of severe malnutrition, had developed abnormally. She was unable to walk due to the distortion of the bones--a form of rickets called “wind-blown knees.” Susan asked EAVO for help. Tresi could have surgery to correct the condition, but the surgery was costly; she needed some pre-op care to ensure her body was sound (requiring some nutritional supplements over time) and post-op care. Samuel and Susan cared for her until she was strong enough for the surgery at which time Susan, Tresi, and Tresi’s grandmother, Penina, traveled 600 miles to a Samaritan’s Purse hospital near Nairobi.
Tresi’s surgery was successful, though she is in pain. Surgeons repaired her right knee; the left knee will be corrected at a later date. Her grandmother, Penina, who is her guardian, is overjoyed and has been giving testimony in her own church as well as other churches in the region to the goodness of God.
Trip Report – Ethiopia and Kenya
Jim Reese, co-founder and board member and Seifu Ibssa, also co-founder and Executive Director travelled to Ethiopia and Kenya to make site visits, open two new preschools and reestablish our partnership with two nonprofits with whom we worked together a few years ago. The following is their trip report supported with pictures. We hope you will enjoy reading. EAVO Board Members
Lana Reese Preschool Dedicated!
Adere, Ethiopia: Jim cut the ribbon opening the Lana Reese Preschool, a school named after one of the co-founders of EAVO. After various speeches by government dignitaries, Jim spoke passionately about investing heavily in the education of their children. Citing Ethiopia as "the emerging hub of Africa", he said that it is vital for the "next generation" to make Ethiopia even stronger. This includes educating the girls much more than has been done in the traditional past. He challenged the community to consider this seriously.
He then asked Worknesh (far right - in picture) to join him as he told "her story". Briefly, she was in our first class of students when we began our education program in 2006. At the end of our first meeting with invited prospective students, uninvited Worknesh with tears in her eyes asked Hailu if she could get educated. She only wanted to be able to support herself. Basically an orphan, she had returned to Acheber relying on others for support. Having a physical disability, she had little hope for the support that marriage might provide. She is now our head teacher. The school has four large classrooms an office and a pre-enrollment of 120 children. Walls need to be plastered and a quality latrine constructed. Water is on site thanks to Rotary Club of Sacramento.Although totally unplanned, the dedication came exactly two years since Lana's passing.
“One life really CAN impact so many others for good. Lana was tireless in sharing her heart for Ethiopia and Kenya with her friends here in the U. S. To God be the Glory!”
- Mary Staples, co-founder and Board Member in her recent email message to EAVO Board members.
An achievement worth celebrating!
A message from the Executive Director
Seven Schools in Eleven Years! Thank you, our loyal partners. With your help, we have assisted forgotten village communities in Ethiopia and Kenya to build a high school, to upgrade a 4th grade level school to an 8th grade level, to upgrade a 1st grade school to a 4th grade, and to build 4 preschools in different parts of Ethiopia, making the total seven schools in eleven years. It is an achievement worth celebrating.
“In Africa, preschools provide an entry way for the Church to gain favor with the community”.
East African Village Outreach (EAVO) will open the 4th Preschool in Ethiopia in September. It has been more than seven years since the village of Roben Jirecha and EAVO petitioned the government for land to build a preschool for early childhood education. Guennet Church, our Ethiopian partners in this endeavor, finally received title to 5,600 square meters of land in 2015 for a preschool and a church. After negotiations and careful study, EAVO board members voted to send funds to build the preschool.
The school is complete and the church will be built by the village at a later date. We praise God for your gifts over the years helping us bring education, clean water and other support to these forgotten areas of the world. Thank you for your continued contributions. Without them, we could not continue.
Thank you and may God bless you and yours.
A Joyful Celebration
By Adele Ohs
On May 16, 2015, East African Village Outreach celebrated its tenth anniversary with a banquet and program at Bethel Evangelical Church at 7276 French Road in Sacramento.
The party was well attended by many EAVO friends and donors—some folks we have known for many years and some new to our community. Many dear friends traveled a great distance to be with us for this event. We were especially honored to have Hailu Ibssa join us from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Mary Staples from Tucson, AZ. And there were surprises, too. Hailu’s daughter, Tsehai, came from Southern California as did longtime supporter, Mrs. Pat Fay.
Thanks to Edossa Geleta and his dedicated crew, the church grounds were set up for the comfort of all attendees. Tables under shaded awnings and inside the fellowship hall provided pleasant seating in the warm afternoon. Colorful tablecloths and hand-woven baskets from Ethiopia adorned each table. Haimanot served a lavish Ethiopian buffet and an amazing baklava for dessert.
The program opened with a blessing from Pastor Tamirat of the Bethel Evangelical Fellowship and a welcome from EAVO’s Board Chairman, Dr. Olanna Aberra. Following a time of spirited worship singing led by Johanna Band, Mr. Frew Tibebu gave a keynote address in which he shared his journey from Ethiopia to discovering his passion—to spread universal literacy to Ethiopia through involvement in Ethiopia Reads—and his conversion experience of meeting Christ and walking with Him.
Then followed brief updates on the progress of EAVO’s projects, including school construction, medical clinics, water projects, high school and college education, benevolence, and financial health. The program highlights included a moving memorial tribute to Lana Reese, who played a major role as a co-founder of EAVO and funded some of its most significant projects. Her friend, Marcia Brim, shared excerpts of letters in which Lana shared her heart for Africa and for Ethiopia. Hailu Ibssa, who gave a loving testimony of the progress that EAVO’s involvement in Acheber village has made possible, was warmly received and honored by the attendees and was lauded by his brother and EAVO Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa. Then followed brief updates by the Board Members on the progress of EAVO’s projects including school constructions, medical clinics, water projects, high school and college education, benevolence and financial health.
The program concluded with Seifu Ibssa sharing future plans and expressing gratitude for the support of family and friends in helping EAVO make a difference in Ethiopia. Adele Ohs offered a closing prayer.
Afterwards many stayed to chat and continue to visit in the church yard—to enjoy the sweet fellowship of being part of this work that God has blessed for the past ten years and to anticipate the wonders He will enable in the future.
Thanks to your continued support, we just celebrated the graduation of 17 of many college students we have supported throughout their high school and college years. These graduates worked very hard in high school and in college under difficult circumstances away from family. We are all proud of them and their achievements! See sample pictures (above). While this is great news, the number of female graduates is only one. EAVO plans to change this trend by hiring a full-time tutor for girls in Acheber
Village, Ethiopia. Pray for resources.
- Belayneh Adane – Civil Engineering
- Melesse Rga – Biology
- Worku Haile – Accounting and Finance
- Talegne Negesse – Mechanical Engineering
- Shemelis Geremu – Mechanical Engineering
- Geremew Melisse – Marketing Management
- Abinet Tadesse – Dry Land Crop Science & Horticulture
- Olana Megerssa – Cotton Engineering
- Temesgen Gemechu – Lab Science & Pathology
- Alemayehu Milkessa – Mechanical Engineering
- Tsehai Melka – Biology (the only female graduate)
- Tamirat Bedada – Construction Management
- Sewdegu Debushe – Banking and Finance
- Dejene Tekka – School & Counseling Technology
- Michael Ayele – Economics
- Alemayehu Kassahun – Psychology
- Sissay Mengistu - Chemistry
Delivering Good News on Bicycle
EAVO donated ten bicycles to a partner organization who is engaged in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to Muslim communities in Ethiopia. Our partner reported that 96 Muslims came to Christ through this program and were baptized a few weeks ago. Praise God for His Salvation work.
A Gift of Desks
We are blessed with a gift of 80 desks and office furniture donated by Paraklete Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Sunol, California. These desks have been delivered to Lana Reese Preschool and Ginchi Church Preschool both of which we are about to open in Fall 2015.
We are grateful to Denny and Judie Smith, and to the Board of Directors at Paraklete Foundation!
Heading to Africa
Jim Reese and Seifu Ibssa will be travelling to Africa on October 1, 2015 to visit our project sites, to open Lana Reese and Ginchi preschools and to reevaluate our partnership in Kisumu, Kenya. They also hope to be present at the opening ceremony of Acheber high school, which was partially funded by EAVO. Please pray good health, wisdom and a safe return. Thank you!
Send your tax-deductible gifts to:
East African Village Outreach
7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828.
It has been 10 years since we began reaching out
to the people of Ethiopia and Kenya
Come and celebrate with us!
Let us praise the Lord together.
May 16, 2015, 4 PM until 6 PM
Bethel Evangelical Church
7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828
Ethiopian Food (Served for Free)
Music by Johanna Christian Band
- Activity and Financial Reports
- Our college/high school coordinator, Hailu Ibssa, will be here from Ethiopia to speak. His topic: My Beloved Acheber Village: Then and Now
- Come meet other donors and fellowship
- Hear the fascinating story of Frew Tibebu, our guest speaker. (see article below)
(All Free - Not a fundraising event)
Will you come?
We would like to prepare enough food for everyone
so if you come, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
before April 30th, 2015.
Introducing Frew Tibebu, our Guest Speaker
Frew was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was a high school senior at the time Emperor Haile Selassie was dethroned and replaced by a military junta. Frew then joined a youth resistance group against the military regime and was subsequently arrested for his involvement. After his release from prison, he fled to neighboring Djibouti wherein he was granted political asylum. He came to the United States as a refugee in September of 1980 with the help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He settled in the Washington, DC, area and obtained his bachelor's degree in Business Management in 1986. In 1989, he moved to Fremont, CA, and later married Debbie, whom he shares two boys and a girl. He has been living in Tracy, CA since September of 1997 and currently works as a real estate professional at Coldwell Banker in Valley Central, and runs a non-profit, Ethiopian Diaspora Stories Project as president and co-founder.
In November of 2006, almost thirty years since he had left Ethiopia, he traveled back to his country for an extensive visit. He discovered that the country had shown very little change overall, and that a majority of the children had only a slight, if any, chance of receiving quality education. It was here that he also learned about "Ethiopia Reads", and felt that being part of it would be one way to make a difference. As a result, in early 2009 Frew became an active board member for Ethiopia Reads, participating in strategic board meetings in shaping the organizations mission and vision, all the while establishing brand equity, and engaging in ongoing fundraising campaigns in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.
In January of 2014 Frew was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Image Award and received congressional recognition from Representative Jeff Denham' office for his hard work, leadership, and active involvement in the Tracy community and his work with Ethiopia Reads. In addition, Frew has received the Gold Heart Volunteer Award for his outstanding volunteer service at the Open Hearts Big Dreams Seattle Event. In January of 2014, Frew started a joint campaign with One World Play Project and Ethiopia Reads to distribute the world's ultra-durable soccer balls to underserved communities all over Ethiopia.
Endegagn is a community located some 260 kilo meters (165 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. We partnered with a local church to rebuild a school within the church compound. The school reaches out to children of Muslim and traditional Christian family backgrounds.
During our visit in 2012, we identified the community's need for a clean water source. Women and children walked hours to collect unclean water for their family. They spent several hours lined up to take turns to collect that unclean water. The picture at the right disturbed us very much and we came back determined to do something about it. There were challenges we faced though: The location of the water source is very difficult to work on, so we had to wait until three issues were resolved: The right contractor, government permits and funding. Many thanks to our generous donors, we sent a total of $5,000 to our partner organization, Berhan Village Outreach (BVO), in Ethiopia to begin the water project with the following conditions in place:
1. Community participation: We asked BVO to make sure the community donates its labor and local materials.
2. Permits: Proper approval and government oversight is in place to avoid lawsuits.
With those two conditions met, EAVO board approved $5,000 be wired to Berhan Village Outreach. The work began earnestly sometime in January 2015 and was complete in mid-February 2015.
More than 1,000 benefit:
The water tank is capped at the top to keep it clean, and a faucet is installed at the bottom of the tank from where villagers collect clean water. Our partner, Berhan Village Outreach, reported that villagers from as far away as 5 kilometers came to collect the clean water as soon as they heard rumors of the construction. In all, more than 200 families with an average of 6 people per family use this water.
We are grateful to these fine organizations and individuals
who made this possible:
We thank you on behalf of the recipients of clean water.
Ten Years Later
Despair Turned to Hope
This year marks the 10th anniversary of EAVO’s efforts to help a few villages in Ethiopia, followed by Kisumu, Kenya. I was in Ethiopia this past Fall, and I couldn’t help but marvel at how much has changed in the past ten years. I will never forget the gloomy image trapped in my mind of the young boy in Acheber fetching unclean water for his family.
In Roben Jirecha and Acheber, the living conditions, education, healthcare, and overall level of impoverishment was nothing short of mindboggling. The villagers were drinking the city’s industry-waste-contaminated river water that caused a host of health issues, including death, for many people in the region. The only school in the area only went up to the 4th grade level. In Acheber, eighth grade students didn’t even have a high school to continue their education, and teachers sent by the government left after a while because of the lack of sleeping quarters. The only church building in the entire community was eroded away by heavy rain and wind; the only clinic for the community was in dire conditions and very poorly staffed. Nothing other than hopeless suffering could describe the situation surrounding Acheber and Roben Jirecha in 2005. The villagers were trapped in a cycle of poverty, desperate for an intervention.
This picture communicates a telling story about the village’s condition 10 years ago
2005: What “desks” looked like in classrooms
There is still a long way to go, but the landscape looks much different now and would absolutely not be this way without your faithful support.
In 2005, those villages were in struggling in despair; in 2015, they are now ringing with hope. Despair turned to hope for four villages because of your gifts! What a difference a decade makes! Your support also went on to touch two other villages: Endegagn and Ginchi. Here is a summary of what your love and support went on to do for these villages:
─ We built 8 additional classrooms and an office for a church school in Endegagn
─ A clean water project is underway as we speak, and in the process of bringing clean water to the villages of Ethiopia
We were able to do all these with your help and God’s grace, and we would like to celebrate these and other achievements with you, our supporters. We want to thank you in person at our 10th anniversary to be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 4 PM, with music performed by Johanna Band and delicious Ethiopian food, all free. It is a time of celebration, not a fundraising event. It will take place at Bethel Evangelical Church, 7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828. Dinner is free. We will have a good time. So, please mark your calendars.
A Man on a Mission
Mr. Hailu Ibssa, a former Ethiopian Airlines executive, living comfortably in retirement is now on board helping us achieve our initiatives. He was previously happily managing a travel agency for fun, traveling to the U.S. to be with his grandchildren, and spending leisure time with other retired airline employees at their Ethiopian Airlines Retirees Club.
Nothing could have disrupted his comfort more as he enjoys the latter years of his life in Ethiopia than to witness the conditions these people live under.
All that luxury lost its meaning when Hailu learned that 95% of 8th graders could not afford to continue their education for lack of a high school in his birth village, Acheber. Hailu would find himself deeply shaken - his outlook on life forevermore transformed. One evening, Hailu received a call from his younger brother in the US. “I will not do well, Seifu, until I see a high school built in our village” came the reply to a “how are you” question on the other side of the line.
Interim Solution: The two brothers, joined by a team of volunteers in the US, meanwhile began sending students to a nearby town where they housed and educated them in the high school. Since the program’s inception in 2006, over 50 students went on to two-year and four-year colleges. So far, 17 students have received their degrees and are in the workforce. Throughout this time, Mr. Hailu Ibssa would learn his true calling in retirement – serving his fellow village men and women.
Permanent Solution: These were encouraging results, but Hailu knew he couldn’t continue sending high school students away from their family’s supervision and nurturing. He secured a 60,000 square meters of land from the community and got a permit to build a high school. He knocked at government officials’ doors until they built a four-room block of classrooms. Now, he hopes to have the rest of the buildings completed this year. His dream of a high school at his birth-village may finally come true this Fall if he completes building an admin building, a latrine, a lab and a library, which are the minimum requirements. We may ask you to help us buy desks, but not until he’s done with the
A few pictures from our Fall 2014 trip
A community representative (left) receiving 3 of the 20 soccer balls EAVO provided to the schools in the community in which we are involved. These balls do not require pumping and can last over 10 years. Many thanks to Frew Tibebu, they were donated to us by OneWorldFutbol, a nonprofit organization.
Lana Reese Preschool (right background) is still under construction. We hope to inaugurate it by Fall 2015. The water distribution center (foreground), built by donation from the Rotary Club of Sacramento for the community and the school, continues to deliver clean water.
Already trained, two teachers are eager to teach. And students are just as eager to learn in this unfinished classroom (left) in Ginchi, Ethiopia. We need help for desks and teaching materials, only if you can please.
A few faces and interesting observations
Hanging on to dear life!
We would not have been able to do all these things without your help and God’s grace.
For that and we would like you to join us in celebrating these achievements by attending our 10-Year anniversary party to be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 4 PM! There will be live music, performed by Johanna Band and delicious FREE Ethiopian food.
It is a time of celebration, not a fundraising event. It will take place at Bethel Evangelical Church at 7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828. We will have a good time! So, please mark your calendars!
Mark Your Calendars!!!
Let’s celebrate our 10th anniversary together!
May 16, 2015 at 4 PM
Delicious FREE Ethiopian food
Music, fellowship, progress & financial reports
7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828
We will send out another reminder as the date nears, but don’t miss out!