Monday, December 3, 2012

cleaning day

sunday is cleaning days, shoes and backpacks lined up for washing

We just came back from Awassa, and while we were there we we able to visit an amazing orphanage for 70 kids, and supporting another 45 in the community. They have a large vocational school for 250 kids over 18, teachng welding, wood working, electrical, computers and even solar (and 80% of them are girls!)! They have graduated more than 500 students from the program, bringing more jobs to the local economy. They have an agreement with a local university to bring in some of their students to learn solar, allowing extra income for the orphanage.

The kids there are aged 2.5-14 years. The Director emphasized a quiet place to study, and all the kids are enrolled in a local private school (which costs them about $220 a year per student, a high cost in Ethiopia) - but worth it; they currently have 10 students in university, and 2 girls studying engineering!

one of the water tanks, painted with the Ethiopian flag

The orphanage was started 10 years ago when the AIDS epidemic hit the region hard, leaving many children orphaned. Fortunately for the kids at this site, they receive good education, nutritious meals, and a very comfortable place to live. The site has both a well and a city line for water, though the Director discourages the kids from drinking the well water - Fluoride is a huge problem in the Rift Valley, and is evident with the brown-stained teeth of many children.

The orphanage had a huge garden, growing coffee, papaya, mangoes, avocados, and lettuce, all for consumption at the site. There was a huge field across the road that was also owed by the orphanage, and they transplanted many of the fruit trees to that area. They have plans for expansion, adding buildings to support the kids.

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