It has been lovely to receive so many encouraging comments about our new and regular news updates, and it has also been terrific to hear from so many of our friends and supporters across the world in response. This is the third update, and we hope that you will find it just as interesting and varied!
Our recent team visit to northern Ethiopia is bound to take precedence in this issue. Five of the team were able to come with us this time, including our Treasurer, who had not been in Ethiopia for some years, and our new Communications Officer, visiting our work for the first time. We were also accompanied by Jan Moule, an ex-VSO whose knowledge of the country is thorough and perceptive. She is now in charge of the Padstow – Arbatu Ensesa Link. A good time was had by all but there is a lot more about our trip in the sections below, so let’s get on with it!
Arrival of our 25,000 book shipment in Gondar, Ethiopia
News from Ethiopia
- We congratulate all agencies concerned with the very recent release of the Ethiopian hostages in the extreme north of the country. The Link Ethiopia team has been visiting this wonderful land twice a year for the last eleven years. Gap Ethiopia has been sending volunteers for three month teaching periods throughout that time. All have been safe and warmly welcomed. What a pity it would be if these exceptional and unusual circumstances were to put a cloud on that otherwise very optimistic and friendly horizon.
- Although obviously not on his best form, it was exciting to see Ethiopia’s greatest-ever runner, Haile Gebre Selassie, at the London Marathon again this year. This man has single-handedly revolutionised the sport of long-distance running in Ethiopia, and this can clearly be seen when travelling by taxi through Addis Ababa in the early morning, amid hundreds of keenly training hopefuls. The pride of the nation has been born on the shoulders of Haile over a great number of years. What a man!
The Ethiopian Orthodox Easter, Fasika, coincided with the more generally recognised Christian Easter Sunday on April 8th – a rare occurrence due to the Ethiopian use of the Julian Calendar of 13 months which normally means that events trail those in Europe and America.
In Britain, some Christians give up something, not necessarily a type of food, for 40 days during Lent which ends on Easter Sunday. Fasika, however, ends a 55 day vegetarian fast in which no animal product is eaten. Officially nothing at all should be eaten during this time until the daily church service finishes mid afternoon. Just before Fasika, sheep and goats are brought from the rural areas by foot to the markets in small towns and their sale and subsequent slaughter mark the start of one of the major Ethiopian Orthodox festivals. All night church services, the donning of fine clothes often coloured white, gatherings with family and friends sharing a meat meal of chicken, goat or sheep – all these mark the end of the fast and the celebration of Fasika itself.
School Link news
The biggest event of our April 2007 team visit was the successful distribution of the 25,000 books (and some computers) that our UK school links had worked so hard to collect. A big thanks to all those in the UK and Ethiopia who were involved with this!
The team was also lucky enough to be invited to open the ‘Michael Tutton’ library in Jenda Elementary School, an hour by minibus and foot outside of Gondar. The library was named in honour of a British serviceman who died defending the Ethiopians against the Italian troops in the Second World War and was funded by his family, assisted by Link Ethiopia. Jenda Elementary School is just about to start a new link with Queen Margaret’s school in Tewkesbury.
In addition, we would also like to welcome a number of other recently-started links. North Chadderton High School in Oldham and St Lukes Primary School in Salford are both linked with schools in Bahir Dar. Cathy Hunt, at Woodside School in Amersham, is linking her school with one in Azezo, the town in which her son Matt recently spent three months teaching! (see the Gap Ethiopia news)
Resourcing Project news
The photo below shows one of two new classrooms at the Kilele Rufael elementary school, which is an hour’s walk from Azezo in northern Ethiopia. This was a joint project between Link Ethiopia and the local community to expand the school into Grade 7. The students completing Grade 6 would previously have either walked to the nearest school in Azezo or stopped going to school. Thanks to everyone who donated money – this couldn’t have happened without you!
You can help us support Kilele Rufael and schools just like it – a classroom in a rural school costs about £500 or $1,000 – donate via our website or get in contact to find out more.
Our Gap Ethiopia scheme
This year has seen an extension of our Gap Ethiopia scheme. For the first time volunteers have taught at the secondary school in the village of Azezo, just outside of Gondar. The school was very keen to receive the help of our first Azezo volunteers, Avi Bram from Sir William Borlase School in Marlow, and Matt Hunt from Dr Challoner’s in Amersham. They have had a very successful experience in this pioneering situation, and we are now keen to find new volunteers for the next academic year.
Applicants should be in the present Year 13 (Upper Sixth) in the UK, and be interested in teaching English Communication Skills for a period of three months in northern Ethiopia. The cost of our scheme is about a half that of rival gap schemes in the UK due to the voluntary roles of all those concerned. The scheme has been running successfully for over ten years. If you know of any interested and suitable young people, we would be very pleased to have an initial communication from them by email. We can then give them lots more information to help them to make a decision.
* available now! *
We are very proud to be selling these beautiful greeting cards, in packs of 5, to support our school projects in Ethiopia (see below).
The photos were taken in and around our Gondar schools by Richard Woods last Autumn.
Packs are on sale at £5 for 5 cards with at least £3.50 going towards our school projects.
Email us if you are interested!
Coming up on Television
- A Fork in Africa – Ethiopia
A varied and enlightening programme, suitable for all viewers
April 30th (Travel Channel)
- Around the world in 80 treasures
The search for the Ark of the Covenant, a journey leading to Ethiopia
May 1st (UKTV History)
- Cliffhangers – Girl Power
All about the wonderful and characterful gelada baboons of the Simien Mountains
May 9th (National Geo Wild)
Proverb of the Month
“You think of water when the well is dry”
How you can help!
If you would like to help the work of Link Ethiopia or would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch.
You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.