22 Dec 2009

Oranges for the 4th World

What a great morning! Really got me in a Christmas mood. Thanks to the generosity of a very nice lady we could this morning pick lots and lots of fruit from her beautiful orchard. There were mainly clementinas and lemons, the oranges were not yet ripe enough.

It was done in no time with a group of seven volunteers. So it's fresh fruit for Christmas for a lot of people. Luckily we can come on a regular basis, like once every three weeks. So when you feel like helping, please let me know.


18 Dec 2009


Thank you so much to all of those people who are already sponsoring 17 boys and girls in Albugida.
We still need four sponsors and are currently investigating seven other cases who will most likely also need sponsorship.

A big thank you again.



Mykias, (a different boy from the one who came to Mallorca last summer) is 12 years old. His family is very poor and he lives in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

He suffers from chronic osteomielitis. This is an inflammation and infection of the radius bone (part of the arm) which oozes constant pus and he has a deformed hand.

Osteomielitis is an illness which isn't very common in our corner of the world. Before the discovery of antibiotics  this illness resulted in a serious health problem in the western world but nowadays modern medicine has it well under control.

Yet again, you are lucky if you are born in the FIRST world because if you are born in the THIRD world you die from a lack of antibiotics.

Living in the third world, the next step for someone suffering from osteomielitis is amputation. In Mykias' case we might just be in time to avoid this usually, inevitable next step.

Mykias has been lucky. A Cuban surgeon, specialist in this area of medicine works in a hospital in Ehtiopia like hundreds of other Cuban doctors. The social conscience of many Cuban doctors living and working in Ehiopia contrasts greatly with the capitalist, class conscious mentality of the majority of the local doctors trained in Ethiopian medical schools.

This Cuban doctor would like Mykias to undergo an operation in order to solve his health problem but the hospital lacks the resources necessary to carry out the procedure. They do not even have disinfectant.

He is now appealing to Mediterranea for a special bone fusing agent for Mykias' forearm. Once the useless part of the arm is removed this will be used to fuse the remaining bone together.
Mykias will have to take antibiotics for a very long time. We can easily provide the antibiotics but the bone fusing agent is much more complicated because it is so expensive. We have no intention of giving up because this material is often used in our society, it is used once and then thrown away, like so many other medical materials that could be put to good use in poorer parts of the world.

In the rich part of the world we use and throw. In the poor part of the world they have no choice, they do without.

17 Dec 2009


Hello, dear members of Mediterranea.
Having just returned from Ethiopia, I would like to tell our story starting with the last day of our visit.

I don't know if you are already aware that Ethiopia is the country with the most international and local non-governmental organisations in the world.
Within these organisations there are all sorts of activities taking place of both a legal and illegal nature. There are those which do a marvellous job, those who use the organisation as a covert, illegal operation, those who turn a blind eye, take advantage, exploit and steal from their employees. Unfortunately, there exists an abundance of the latter. Theft and deceit are very common. When you do not give in and you stand up to them then their revenge is unrelenting, lasting for years because they never forget.
As you know our former representative was caught red-handed and we dismissed him. We also managed to remove the Edir of Yekas' president from his post for theft.
Both of these incidents took place at the beginning of this year 2009.

They swore vengeance and I imagined that their revenge would take the form of some sort of street brawl.
It is a well known saying in Ethiopia: It's easy to suffer "an accident." But their revenge tactic was unexpected.
Adugna Tesfaye Woldekirkos and Tadesse Mengesha (former representative and the Edir's former president) have made an official complaint about our organisation to the Ministery of Justice, accusing us of using our school project as a covert operation in trafficking with children.

Both of our accusers know that this is an issue of great concern to the Ethiopian authorities and is being dealt with conscientiously because the trafficking of children is rife both in and outside of this country.
We work with children.We do our absolute utmost to ensure that our children either stay with their family or if this is impossible that they are never left alone or abandoned to their luck.
We educate, feed them and support the most vulnerable families. We finance their keep with foster parents when there are no living relatives.
These mafia types must feel very happy with themselves. Their revenge plan was set in motion.
I was arrested and accompanied to the Federal prison where I was questioned by the National Security Police.

On the last day of our stay, we made our way to the school to meet the parents and children. There were two secret police officers waiting for me with an order of arrest in my name and stating the reason for the arrest.

The situation was so surreal that I was convinced that I was involved in a Spanish Candid Camera type programme, or "pranked" as they call it in America. Unfortunately, it was NO joke!
When I realised that this was serious stuff, I attempted to call the Spanish Embassy but the secret police would not permit me to make any calls. On the way to the police station, I managed to pass my mobile to my daughter with the telephone number of the Spanish Embassy which luckily I had on me.
On arrival at the prison, they allowed Zerihun (our present representative) to accompany me as I was led to interrogation room number 72.
A long interrogation by three officers about the accusation began.
Zerihun explained to the officers exactly how our organisation functions.
He explained that we support, finance and encourage but make none of the vital decisions relating to the school.
He informed them that we are not officially registered (up to now, it has not been a priority and the Edirs know this), it is legal to work as we do without registering officially as long as you are working directly and under the authority of the Edir.

Zerihun explained everything very clearly.
We provide three meals a day for almost 400 children.
At the moment we provide employment for 44 people. The school is growing and therefore it will soon be necessary to provide paid employment for more Ethiopians.
We provide reading and writing lessons for 130 adults.
We have been helping families in need so that they do not have to give up their children to institutions or worse due to poverty.
We provide phones for the needy so that they can mantain contact with their own Edir.
This stage of the questioning took two hours. The policeman didn't stop for lunch in order to complete the investigation as soon as possible.
Then it was my turn.
I told them that I could imagine who my accusers were, their names and why they had decided to falsely report me to the police.
All of my statement was hand-written by a policeman on carbon copy. Time passed by slowly and I really did not know how long or where all of this procedure was leading.
They asked me for my grandmother's name, my ethnic origin, my religion and where I was born.
When I said I was born in Barcelona, one of them said," OK, let's prove it."
One of the office workers took a picture of Fabregas out of his desk drawer as if it was a photo of a member of his family and asked me "Who is this"?

I am not a football fan, so I hadn't got a clue. I told him I didn't know.
He couldn't believe that I was Spanish, from Barcelona and not know who Fabregas is. He was very disappointed in me.
The policeman kept writing and writing...
Meanwhile, there were constant phone-calls from people asking about me and other "supporters"(pardon the pun) were turning up at the police station.
Ato Tamarit from the Abugida school stormed in from Akaki.
The chief of all of the kebeles of Akaki Kalti called to speak to the police. There were calls from the Birhan school, the accountant, the workers, the present Edir's assistants, the accountant turned up at the police-station, the priest calls.
Much later, I discover that the families and the employees from the Yeka school had intended to gather en masse outside the prison. Fortunately, they were advised not to do so because the repercussions could have been disastrous for them where as I am just a foreigner passing through. I appreciate immensely their solidarity.
After a series of never-ending hours, I was "asked" to sign innumerable papers.
I asked Zerihun to read them all because I didn't want to sign anything without knowing what it was but it became a frantic, impossible task.
The policeman was hungry (I pretended to be faint with hunger too in order to try and speed up the process) but the policeman would listen to no excuses and said "too bad, I'm also hungry and this has to be done."
Zerihun explains that the last part is the important part because it states that I am innocent of all charges.

Zerihun asked who had reported me and the policeman said that I knew fine well who our accusers were. Everything fell into place. Now, the Yeka thieves were not only in trouble with the police for theft but now they were in real, deep, more serious trouble for false testimony.
While we were in the interrogation room, my daughter called the embassy to tell them "my mother has been arrested."
The Spanish consul could not be located but his representatives came immediately to the prison. The police not only refused to allow them to enter but also confiscated their mobile phones.

When we left the Federal prison Zerihun told me that we had been very, very fortunate because every person who enters that prison has to spend at least one night there until their case is clarified.
I suppose that this was my accusers intention. They knew that the accusation wouldn't stick but their revenge plan consisted of me having to spend a night in a cell.
Looks like they are the ones who are going to spend at least one night in jail.
This morning, I received an email from Tadesse Mengesha, the former president of the Edir of Yeka.
This is the message he sent me.
"The whistle is blown and the game has started, many more goals to be scored yet!!!! HAhahahahaha........!"

Football madness...yet again!
The police will, of course, receive a copy of this message.
From this page, I send my most profound thanks to Zerihun without whom there might have been a very different outcome. Thank you so much.

15 Dec 2009

The spirit of goodwill


The spirit of goodwill in Abugida has reached the Birhan school.

To our great joy, we can inform you that the tremendous spirit of goodwill experienced in Abugida has now touched the Birhan school.
The older teachers retired at the beginning of this academic year and have given way to the new, highly motivated young generation of teachers who are excited, active and "raring to go", singing, dancing and playing with the children.

The generation gap has been closed, replacing old-school teaching through bullying and punishment ( not only the children but also the younger staff, a situation we witnessed during our visits, creating an oppressive atmosphere) and has been replaced by the same spirit of happiness felt in Abugida. The older staff now work in the evenings on our adult reading and writing initiatives.
Both parts are benefitting from this change and the older generation of staff are much more content being in charge of the adult education.

We had a wonderful reception, singing, dancing from children and staff. The teachers were beautifully turned out in traditional dress and looked a treat.
This year the children wear the same uniform as the pupils in Albugida.
After the ceremony we had a meeting with the headmistress.
This lady had replaced the former headteacher and at that moment we still did not know why.
We spoke on an individual basis with all of the teachers who informed us that it was a clear case of nepotism. The new headteacher is a member of the Edir's family. They told us that she is a lovely lady but unqualified for the job and lacking the experience recquired.
We decided to call all of the teachers to vote for who they considered to be the best qualified for the position but that it would be a secret ballot.
They were all keen to vote but became frightened of how the Edir would react when the result vote supported Genet, a membr of the teaching staff.
We told them not to worry and that we would deal with everything. We would have a meeting with the Edir.

We organised the meeting with the Edir and at first there was a lot of tension in the air but through clear, honest talking we managed to bring the Edir around to our way of thinking. At the end of the day , our aims are the same and both sides are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the boys and girls who attend the centre and of course the future of the Birhan school.

The Edir is struggling to obtain official accreditation for the school. Bureaucrocy is slow and complicated in this country.

Despite all of these difficulties the school is flourishing and looking beautifully decorated thanks to the teachers and pupils.
Most importantly, the children are very happy.
Personal files are being drawn up about every individual child including their family background and health.
Thanks to these files we are beginning to identify certain health problems which are being addressed.
The same as in Abugida,the teachers in Birhan will be attending a 3 month computer course.

The reading and writing course in Birhan is a great success.

We are financing one of these groups and the Kebele is using our instalations for two other reading and writing groups.

Barry has completed a construction project for when the school finally receives accreditation. The estimate for this buliding works out to 30,000 euros.

Unfortunately, our attempts to have a meeting with the parents of our schoolchildren was frustrated by the intervention of some mafia-type characters who are trying to upset all of our plans and the future of the families and children in our care.

We hope that the authorities will help us with this matter and that the culprits will be dealt with.

Photos:The Romeos and Juliets of the school, some of the staff,children, Genet, the new headteacher, some dancing, our welcome party.

13 Dec 2009



We would like to express our support and distress about the kidnapping by Al Queda of the Spanish volunteers while working for the organisation Accio.
We wish to transmit our support and solidarity to the three kidnapped volunteers, their loved ones  and friends.
We are extremely concerned to hear that they are in the hands of the hardline faction of Al Queda in the Magreb.
We hope and we pray that this situation will be solved pacifically and that they will soon be back home.
They only went there to help those who have so little and need so much help.

Our two year old children


For the first time ever we have two year old children in our school. There are 20 two year olds in our Abugida centre.
Both their psychomotor activity and their physical development are well below their age.

All of the children who are offered a place in the Abugida school have been given a certificate by the Kebele which confirms their poverty status. All of these children started in September at the beginning of the academic year and as yet it is too early to give much information as to their progress.

In Ethiopia thre are practically no nursery schools except for the very few fee-paying centres in Addis.
Since there are next to no schools this also means that there are extremely few trained teachers for this age group.
Therefore the teachers we have already, do their best to work effectively with the two year olds.

Our priorities for the 2 year olds are the following.

Food: We provide them with extra milk and protein.
Health:Vaccinations and healthcare for all.
Communication skills: After food and health, these children will need help to enable them to survive in society.

At the moment the two year olds are sharing space ( separated by a partition) with the three year olds until their classroom (currently being built) is completed.
The new classrooms for the two and three year olds will be spacious, have plenty of natural light and bathrooms.

Photos: Ato Tamirat, president to the Edir and the Abugida's school's administrator. The class of two year olds.

Mata de Jonc School

The Mata de Jonc school in Palma this week organised a campaign to collect food for Mediterranea to distribute amongst those in need in Mallorca. We calculate that they accumulated just over 200kg which will be distributed this coming week.

We hope other schools will join in the program. If we could get 5 schools encouraging students to bring one food unit (any of the following: 1kg of rice, 1L.milk, 1L oil, 1kg of pasta, sugar, flour, couscous, tinned food, biscuits etc) one day a month we could probably double the number of people we feed at no great cost to all those involved. One kg of rice costs as little as 0.75€.

If you have children at school, please feel free to ask your school to collaborate.

At present we are providing food for approximately 750 meals a day. In the last month we have delivered neat to 4 tones of food in Mallorca.

With your help we can do a lot more.

10 Dec 2009

Up until now, Mediterranea have not been involved in any.........

Up until now, Mediterranea have not been involved in any individual fostering initiatives but the precarious situation of some of the families with children attending our schools and the invaluable help being offered by Ana, one of our members, has made our involvement a necessity,(bearing in mind that we are an organisation totally dependent on volunteers).

Our battlefront is one of poverty. A battle, to prevent situations of such extreme poverty, that sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren are wrenched from the arms of families and friends, and condemned them to a life of  abandonment and - for the over fives, a life fighting for survival on the streets.

We want these children to continue living with their biological or adoptive  families wherever possible. Where their entire families have died, we want them to be fostered, to continue to live in the same neighbourhood, to attend the same school, to enjoy the company of their own friends, and to grow up in their own culture. We want them to have a chance in life.

In Addis alone, there are 90,000 children living on the streets. There are only two possibilities for these unfortunate children, and we do not want them to end up in an orphanage or on the streets. Our fostering program has taken off now with the first 8 applications received by Mediterranea. We thank directly from this page our first 8 pioneers in this new humanitarian venture. We need 13 more sponsors for pupils who attend our school in Abugida and more willing sponsors

to help pupils in the Birhan school. Every case has been chosen by the Edir and by the school itself. In both schools it is the Edir ( the neighbourhood association which controls the schools and with whom we have a signed contract, in this case with Akaki and in Yeka) who choose the children and families because, evidently, they see and work with them daily, know them personally and are completely up-to-date with their plight.

All of the children selected in Abugida as part of this program attend or were attending our schools last year. Those pupils who are no longer able to attend our centres now go to public school but come daily to have breakfast and lunch in Abugida. Not all of the children who come to eat take part in the fostering project since we have only been able to accommodate the most desperate cases. All of the children to be chosen are currently attending the Birhan centre. They are all orphans or almost orphans being looked after by single mothers, biological or adoptive grandparents, adoptive mothers, sisters, aunts, or in one of the cases in Abugida, by a foster family - because all of the child's family is dead. All of these families have little or no income. Some of the children are HIV positive. Almost all of them have a terrible story to tell, of tremendous difficulties and misery but they all help each other. We watch them, under these extreme circumstances, attending school, trying to  live a normal, routine life and we hope that they can continue to do so for a long time to come.

During our last trip too we met the families selected by the Edir and the school in Abugida. We witnessed their lives first hand.

The Mediterranea charity would like to make it very clear that we are not involved in the selection of the children. We feel that by "sitting on the fence" in the selection process that we are seen to be totally neutral and cannot be accused, at any time of favouritism or manipulation. We endeavour to  be transparent in all of our work, to be guides and not judges.

We only become directly involved in cases of extreme health problems and in the arrangement, if necessary, of paying for treatment in Ethiopia or organising trips to Spain in cases of dire medical need.

Our prime concerns are food, health care and education. We have over 400 children in our 2 schools and we have 46 employees working in these centres paid by Mediterranea. The children who attend our schools all have access to health care provided and paid for by our charity.

All of those members who come forward to sponsor a child will be put in contact with the children, can visit them if they so wish, and will be able to receive photos and communications from the children. The foster families have given permission for all sponsors to have access to the entire history and information about the background and experiences of the children they are sponsoring.

To sponsor a child, please contact apadrinamediterranea@gmail.com, and/or linda.a.spratt@gmail.com

9 Dec 2009

Calvia Christmas Fair 2009

The Christmas Fair held in Puerto Portals has been a great success this year. The Medettes (Mediterranea volunteers) had worked very hard and the Mediterranea stall was amongst the best. Over 900€ were raised and fun was had by all. Not only was a lot of money raised that will help with our various programs but awareness was created and we hope to reap few new members to our swelling ranks.
If you wish to see the snap shots click---> HERE

100% genuine.

Mediterranea is a direct help NGO. This means that not only does 100% of the money go directly to the projects but we also start working immediately when we discover a problem we can act upon without having to go through long tedious procedures to get a subsidy.

Mediterranea does not receive neither state nor municipal aid. We are a pure, 100% independent Non Governmental Organisation.

All the economical and logistical support we receive is private, which allows us to act as flexibly and promptly as we do. We are also non political and non religious.

In Mallorca we have at present the following programs:

Zaqueo Collective:
The Zaqueo Colective supplies food on a daily base to hundreds of people in need in Palma. We from Mediterranea help out with food, clothes and voluntary work.

Can Gaza and Casa Llarga:
These are two homes which shelter senior men rejected by  society. The good spirit, and the motor of these two homes is the one and only Jaume Santandreu. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of some volunteers, we have helped to improve the infrastructure of the two places (including central heating, hot water, electricity, paint jobs etc), provided them with clothes, TVs  HIFI, electrical appliances, furniture  medical supplies, linen and food.

All this didn’t cost Mediterranea anything because it was all donated and organised by members and friends of the NGO.

Programs sustained by our 4th World charity fund

People from Mali:
The people from Mali  that we attend number around 150 people. We provide them on a weekly base with food in sufficient quantity for them to be able to cover their basic needs for that week. This includes:, pasta, oil, milk, sugar, cocoa, pepper, onions, garlic, flour, salt and clothes. None of them receive institutional support.

The “Son Dameto” neighbours’ association where we have distributed the food in the first two weeks have refused to help us any more. So we had to find another distribution point, which we did. Here we have not had any problems so far. We have already  handed out more than 2 ½ tons of food for them. This project costs us every week between 380 EUR and 440 EUR. The rest of the costs are covered by donations from collaborators.

We are expecting the help of schools from the islands, which have volunteered to donate food to the project. This way we will not have to spend so much money from our funds which are desperately needed for the continuity of our long term projects in Ethopia.

People from Senegal:
In collaboration with Father Eugenio of the Palmanova church, as remarkable a priest as you can find, we have started to hand out food to the Senegalese of Calvia. These are also people without any institutional help. The church attends all sorts of people in need. We are concentrating on the Senegalese as the Subsaharians are the weakest link in the immigration chain. The first contact that we made was while they were looking for food in the rubbish bins of a supermarket in Calvia.

Working with homogeneous groups makes our work easier, because they know each other which helps a lot logistically.

We deal with 100 Senegalese, which makes it 2100 meals a week.

At the Senegalese request Mediterranea will start giving classes in Spanish and English. The classes will be given by volunteers.

We need computer screens, computers, mice and keyboards to start with IT classes.

We will maintain those two programs throughout the winter.

A big thank you from here to all of you who make Mediterranea possible

English lessons for the Senegalese in Magaluf

This week,Heidrun gave her first English lesson to members of the Senegalese population that we are helping in Calvia.

There is a slight problem and that is that quite a few of the members of this community can not read or write. So we are having to start right at the beginning.
Nothing is impossible.

7 Dec 2009

Murphy’s law


It is Murphy’s law. Martha, the little girl with the eternal smile, has to come back to Mallorca in order to have hospital treatment again because of her ESCOLOSIS…

Her dream is to come back. Even if it is in order to got to hospital again

My reasons for sponsoring Sponsorship:

My reasons for sponsoring Sponsorship: why now, what are our motives?
Long ago, someone asked me why Mediterranea did not take on sponsorship of children - something very common in other NGOs. There were many reasons: Firstly, Mediterranea is an organization of volunteers and do not have the numbers of staff necessary to deal with taking pictures, managing correspondence etc. in situations that require individual monitoring many children. For another, we always believed it was not fair to "discriminate" against some children by choosing others. How could we select some and not others? But now we are proposing the sponsorship of African children: 22 in Abugida school and 10 in school Birhan, and in the future, probably more. Why? Because of the life these children suffer, the most vulnerable children in our schools:

Children whose parents are sick, or in the care of a grandmother, or of another family relative, often with income of less than 5 Euros per month.
Children who take over the care of their siblings, although often 17 years of age and younger, and have become involuntarily the head of households where parents have died or have left. Children who are welcomed by a loving, caring woman who loves them with all her heart and soul, but who has already four children of her own and whose own husband does not understand why he has to feed another mouth, when his resources are already stretched to breaking point. Dependent children of a parent with AIDS that has not stopped going to work for a single day and raises his children in an exemplary manner, but knows his days are numbered.
Children raised by mothers with HIV, infected by a husband who passed it and has already died. Children who find themselves in especially difficult circumstances in a situation which is already difficult enough - the children in our schools are already among the most disadvantaged of their country.

These are children who need more help, and yes they are different, they are special and they deserve it, deserve the opportunity to partake of a better life. No child deserves to live in extreme poverty, to be forced to beg in the streets for their very existence. Loving, caring parents who are sick and dying deserve to know that even if something happens to them, their children will be cared for. I am not impartial. I know many of these children. I know many of these parents. And I promised the very sick mother of one of them that I would help. I'm proud of Mediterranea, proud that we really are going to make a difference - not with some magic wand that can cure all ills, but together, people like you and me. I have sponsored for these reasons, please, think about joining me. I am lucky enough that if something happened to me, my daughter would not be left helpless, and I want this for those African parents too.
Stefanie Milla

29 Nov 2009

"Tummyfills" Meals

With the effort of all those that help Mediterranea in our projects in Ethiopia, and at the rhythm we are going at now, the statistics of all those meals we provide to those in need is quite astounding. Thank you all in the name of those that we help.

Children in our schools in Addis
Staff employed by Mediterranea
People helped indirectly


24 Nov 2009

Casa LLarga and Can Gaza

Casa LLarga and Can Gaza  wants to say THANK YOU to everyone that has been donating and collecting clothes, food, televisions, dvd's, stereo's, waterboiler etc .

Special thanks go to Sue Jones and her brother Danny, from Cool Oasis North,  for donating and installing a waterfilter in Casa LLarga. Thank you Sue for all your help collecting clothes and other goods and using your garage as a storeroom!!  Cool Oasis North 646804431

Thank you to Darren Hearne of Darrmar demolition & waste removal  for  donating goods for the new charity shop! www.darrmar.com

Another big thank you is for Phil Robinson who donated a digger for two days and done all the clearing and damp course in Casa LLarga. Phil Robinson Mini Digger Hire  649612099

A VERY BIG thank you is for Tim Bolton who generously gave us two of his workers for a whole week to do the electricity and plumbing on the first floor of the house. As well he has donated all the materials for this work!!!!
build@hht.b.eu  616666924

Mick and I never thought we could get this job on its way so quickly and it's fantastic to see the generousity of the people in our little community!

More work will be coming up soon mainly plastering and painting.

We'll keep you updated.

Thanks again,

Kind Regards,

Mick and Bianca Hadley


22 Nov 2009


On friday we delivered the third load of food for the Mali population which we are helping in Palma.
The initial population was going to be approximately 20 but soon it grew to 52 on the first week, 111 on the second week and this week (we do not have the final figures in yet) it will have been about 120-140.
Fortunately Jill had stockpiled and brought with her some supplies which we added to the food we were distributing, otherwise we would not have had enough.
So far we have delivered over 1400kg and near to 50kg of clothes and toys which are also needed.
We estimate that with the food delivered near to 6000 meals will have been had. Probably more as the Mali people are very generous and share what they have with those less fortunate than themselves.

The main things provided in the food bag are: Rice, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Sugar, Onions, Garlic, Pepper, Milk, Cocoa, Flower, Salt and Soap.  The other things put in to the bag depend on the supplies collaborators have handed in to us and if in there are children in a particular group/apartment or not.

This project is costing 380€/week on food. The rest of the expenses are covered by the volunteers and do not come out of our funds.
We will soon be starting operations in PalmaNova so it might be an idea if we contacted schools, clubs, associations etc asking the members/students to collaborate with those hungry on our island with a bag of rice a week or what ever they wish from the basic list.  The obtaining of supplies and the funding of this project is very important for the continuity and the possible expansion of it.

Our initial plan is to keep this project up over the winter months.

In a short time we have made a big difference to the lives of a number of very unfortunate people who mostly have no access to help in their more difficult moments.

Rebecca and Heidrun need two or three volunteers with them to set up the PalmaNova operation, please get in touch if you are interested in helping.

In PalmaNova we would like to give Spanish lessons to the Senegalese, and we could probably expand that to English and Basic Computer Use.

18 Nov 2009

4th World Mallorca

Taken from a personal account of an early visit to Can Gaza & Can Llarga October 2009 (by Babette Dekker):

Today I visited Can Gaza and the new house Casa Llarga.

 I met Father JAime who is a wonderful person, he couldn´t stop talking about the needy and saying over and over how much he appreciates our help.
 Can Gaza is a very special place.  It is a beautiful finca and there are sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, ducks there, which contribute to feeding the 25 to 30 men who live in the house. The men also grow their own vegetables in the growing season. It was founded more than 30 years ago with the donation of the use of the house to Father Jaime Santandreu (a real Padre) for 3 years, and the agreement has been extended and extended right up to today.

The men who inhabit the house share bedrooms and all the facilities. The house itself is kept impeccably, clean and tidy and they all seem contented and happy in their work.  They live totally on the fruits of their own labours on the farm and charitable donations.  The men are all around 50 years of age or over and are all chronically ill and have nothing - no homes, families or work.  Some suffer from dementia, some are crippled, some have irreparable damage to liver, or heart or other organs.  In summary, they are unable to live and work by or for themselves. They apply to the house and if willing to keep clean, help each other and contribute in some way to the household, then they are invited to join the household and stay there for as long as they need or wish to. Some come and go, others stay and die there.
Every day these men make one hot meal and open their doors to up to 100 more hungry homeless and helpless people who come to their door.  The visitors are registered to ensure they are really in need and not eating there more than once a day - the house aims to spread what they have among as many of the needy as possible - this is where the donated additional food and vegetables go.  They also share donated dry foodstuffs, clothing and blankets they receive with other needy people and families who call at the house.  Their life ethic appears to be ‘to share all that they have with other needy people’. 
 They are also very humble. When I asked them, they did not think they needed anything and could not think of anything to ask for.  After much persuasion from me (“What is it that you miss most?”) little by little they started to talk to me, and said things like “well, ...maybe we could use some bleach...... and maybe some stuff to clean with, fregonas....etc” and after they thought about it a while: “..and maybe a little shampoo or soap would be nice to have sometimes”......

They occasionally get given out of date milk that they boil for drinking if it has not gone off. They do not usually get any fresh fruit or fish, or fresh vegetables after the growing season is finished, as they are too expensive.  Their greatest pleasure is when some yoghurt arrives at the house and they can have a little “dessert” - which causes great excitement.  They are all lovely people, very kind, thoughtful, and they make everybody feel very welcome.  All visitors to the house are invited to stay and share their home, their food, and all that they have.

Their current needs: They currently have a good stock of donated warm clothes for this winter, but they could use:
Sanitary products
Vegetables and fish
cleaning items, like soaps, cloths, sweeping brushes etc.
Personal hygiene stuff like soap, shampoo, razors etc.
If they could get them, would love some magdalenas breakfast items other than maria cookies
Fresh Fruit
Yoghurt !!!
The new house is not far from Can Gaza and is called Casa Llarga, it is a ruin and has again been donated to the Padre for 2 years.  The residents of Can Gaza are renovating the house by themselves with a little help now and then from some builders, but there is no money to pay for help so progress is very slow.  Like everything else, everybody does according to their ability to work - many are old, ill and crippled, but like the tortoise in the fairy tale, they believe will get there.  It would be a dream if the house were ready for the winter as it will house 40-50 men, but without help it is not possible. [NB: Mick & Bianca Hadley now working this project and making great progress - see separate blog posts].

They have a plan to have the house habitable in some areas for some men to live there by next week. Marcelo, a very nice man who was a welder (metal worker) showed me around. The ground floor is ready but due to heavy rain and leakage, it has suffered damages , so now they are fixing the roof.

16 Nov 2009

On the move again.

Well, we're on the move again, the day after tomorrow.
I just want to explain to you a little bit about what these journies are like.
I wouldn't want you to think that these trips are pure protocol and that we are like visiting royalty, type Rania of Jordan greeted with big bunches of flowers, coffee tasting and welcome party.
It's not quite like that. Well, we do accept the flowers, have a quick cuppa and if there's a bit of a welcome traditional dance, we don't complain but basically we roll up our sleeves and get down to work straight away.
The work consists of meetings, meetings and meetings. Dicussions, discussions and discussions.
Meetings which last hours and hours and if there is a bit of luck we just might make a little bit of progess.
Discussions which last hours and hours and with even more luck might come to an end earlier than the last one.


We have encountered some construction problems. After having given us permission to continue with the construction of the dining-room the Kebele changed his mind and told the builders to come to a halt. Everytime there is a difference in opinion as to how to procede the kebele orders that the building be stopped. We have discovered too that the kebele and the Edir are not getting on and agree on very little.
When we are there we will be having a meeting with the Kebele and will try to discover what the problem is that exists between these two entities.
As you already know, we plan to provide a nursery for children between one and two years old. This part of the population is extremely vulnerable since breastfeeding is not enough and the "injera" which is available is inadequate to nourish a baby.

To add to all of this, we discover that many more children have been admitted to the school than anticipated. Not only the new two year olds (20) and the new three year olds (30) but an extra 60. We imagine, that on arrival, we will discover children even hanging from the lights.

We have enough land to house the two nursey classes (previously primary classes), the kebele has decided that it doesn't want primary classes on the same site) but we wonder if we will we have enough room for everyone because we now have 91 four year olds..
But we have good news too. Our good friend Barry is coming on this trip to examine the land and to work out if there will enough space to provide for the swelling number of children under our care. He will also take control of discussing any changes with the local builder check out building suppliers etc..
We happily pass on this task to someone with experience in these matters.

Our project "sponsor a child" is now underway. This program has been designed to help parentless children, others who are under the tutelage of neighbours, friends or relatives and others whose parents are ill. I fear that there are many more children in high- risk situations that we had foreseen. During our trip we will visit the families involved in this scheme.

One of these house visits will be particularly difficult. When we visited this home in June, the mum told us that her husband had HIV and that she, herself was frightened to have the test, We explained that if her test was negative she could live fear- free and even if it was positive, there were certain treatments that she could resort too. Unfortunately, she proved to be HIV positive, her husband died, she is bedridden and terminally ill. She has a baby boy and an eight year old little girl. In this case this illness has been terribly cruel.
Our other high-risk children are experiencing similar dramatic situations.
30 primary children who attend state school have received subsidies (from us) to buy uniforms and school materials. Their books do not have to be bought, they are on loan. These children also eat in the Abugida school.
The school is growing and growing.
We have been thinking that perhaps (if we ever manage to finish it) that our school diningroom could be used as a local soup kitchen to help feed children of all ages living in that area. During our meeting with the kebele we will suggest this possibility but the local authorities always have the last word.

The Birhan school in Yeka.

This school continues to have problems. The Edir failed to pay some of the workers and has delayed paying others. We have no intention of putting up with this injustice. During our trip we will be making our conditions very clear. We will not tolerate this policy of not paying or only paying partially the workers in our schools, including those in the most humblest of jobs. We have discovered that they have been threatened with dimissal if they reveal this information or complain about their lot. I assure you that when we get there, the discussion over this issue will go down in history.

We will also visit the kebele to ask if we can build another school. Barry will yet again present his designs and wealth of knowledge.

We will be taking sports equipment, track shoes and teeshirts provided by the Baleares International School for our older students in the Birhan school so that they can begin to practise sports. Next month it will be the Abugida school's turn.
Bye for now.

15 Nov 2009

Saturday , 14th November 2009

WE could never had imagined that there were so many beautiful svelte-like ladies  living on this island and this morning  they were all knocking on the door of the House of Katmandu in Magaluf  for the opening of our DESIGNER CLOTHES SALE  .  Yes, today’s event was a huge success.  The whole team assembled at 10am to put the finishing touches to the displays,  and the final brief was given by Pat and Linda. It was so exciting…at 11am on the dot the first customers arrived and we were off!.  This really was an exclusive occasion as all the ladies were thrilled to be able to purchase garments by the leading fashion houses , Dior, Valentino, Yves St Laurent, Carolina Herrera, Galiano, Versace etc at a fraction of the original price . The WOW factor arrived at the end of the day when the final count came and over  €5.400 was raised !!!!(final amount will be published in local press and on our website www.mediterranea.org.es  ) We would like to thank everybody for all the support we were given , the children that put their pennies from their pocket money into the collection tins ,  the new members and volunteers that have joined MEDITERRANEA  today, and a big round of applause and THANK YOU to the lovely Spanish lady who donated the clothes…..we promise you that every cent will be used to help those in need.
 X Jackie for Mediterranea

12 Nov 2009


Well we are all ready for the BIG DAY ...The 14th November  is the date set for the DESIGNER CLOTHES SALE in the House of Katmandu , Magalluf.  The lead up to this event has been great fun and thanks to an incredible team effort all the clothes have been sorted  and are now ready for display.  In the photo Pat, Linda and Zara are

just adding the finishing touches ... This is not a jumble sale but a sale of very special garments better known as "Haute Couture" from the top designer houses . The sale will be held in the Marquee at the House of Katmandu.  Preview hour will be from 11am to 12noon where visitors will pay a small entrance fee of €5 with the  chance to buy  a "pick of the best" .  12 noon onwards entrance is FREE .  Expect the WOW Factor !!!   ..Valentino, Gucci, Carolina Herrera, Versace,  Lacroix, Dior, Armani to name just a few.  Suits, jackets, dresses, blouses, trousers in cashmere, fine silks, wool, organza.  The lady who has donated these garments wishes to remain anonymous but we would like to send you Señora   A  BIG HUG and THANK YOU  because thanks to you all proceeds will go to MEDITERRANEA to HELP THOSE IN NEED 

9 Nov 2009

The Hadley Factory

A letter that just has to be read :

Hi Michael and Jill,

I will get involved in the Mali project as soon as I can.

At the moment we are spending a lot of time in Can Gaza and Casa LLarga.
As soon as that project is up and running we will come and help you with the Mali project.

Can Gaza - New water filter system will be installed this week.
This will be donated and installed for free by Sue and Hugh Jones who own
Cool Oasis North. Sue Jones has been doing very well collecting lots of clothes and blankets.
She is as well a new member of Med.

               - Every Thursday we still collect the food of Illona from B29(the boys really love this treat)
and Carlos from the French Coffee shop gives us bags of bread and croissants.

A friend of Jackie donated a television which will be picked up tomorrow.(casa LLarga)
A stereo was donated by Carlos and repaired for free in Nice Price.(Can Gaza)

Casa LLarga - Phil Robinson has donated a digger for 2 days this week to clear out a path at the back of the house
and to dig around the house so we can lay a damp course.

He also will give us 2 tons of sand, 5 bags of cement to rebuild the wall at the back of the house.
Mick has managed to get a 80 litre boiler for the second level of the house.

As well Mick has managed with the help of Ian Hool of Real Homes to get his brother in law, Tim Bolton,
to donate all of the electrical equipment and plumbing equipment needed to make all electricity and plumbing done on the second floor of the house. This level will house another 8 people.
He will also supply the workers to do the installation.

Michael, We´ll send you the names and NIF numbers when they go in.

It´s important to know that the men living in the house are all involved in the renovation work and work very hard.

Ok, we´ll keep you updated.

The Hadley´s
Wow! That is production!

8 Nov 2009

Food bags

On Friday at  14.30 we delivered food bags to the group of unemployed
illegal sub-Saharan immigrants we had selected to help during this
time of hardship and crisis.
52 people will be fed with these supplies for a week. About 7 are
children. We handed out over 340kg of food.
These people are very generous with the little they have so probably a
lot more people are going to be fed than we think.

It is thanks to the help we get from  Mady, the secretary of the Mali
association, who knows his people well and the situation of each and
every one, that we can get to help only those really in need. He makes
sure that those that are lucky enough to get a job are not included in
the list of beneficiaries and that those that lose their work
specially those with children to feed, are included as soon as

Today we will hold a meeting with four families with children that
have slipped in to a precarious situation.

Ideally the kind of help we need in this program is for a given entity
(school, business,(2), club, organization) to take on the responsibility
of providing a singe type of food on a weekly or monthly basis.  This
week we had a meeting with the Mata de Jonc school in Plama who has
agreed to help us one Friday of every month. There are over 400
children there, so it will be pennies to the parents and a great help
to the poor.

A kilo of rice can be found for 0.7€, for the donor it is 0.7€, for
the hungry it gives them a ration of rice a day for a week.

We need:
Rice, spaghetti, macaroni,
Flower, sugar, vegetable oil
Canned tomatoes
Onions, potatoes, garlic
Red pepper, pepper, etc
Soap, razor blades
Sheets, towels, sleeping bags, blankets.

Thank you all for your kind help, without your efforts this would not
be possible.

7 Nov 2009

04/11/09 Our child support programme in Abugida.

As you already know, we have set up a child support programme for children living in high-risk situations. This project has been organised for children who attend, or used to attend our schools.
Our initial scheme has been started in Abugida with the use of funds raised to finance school materials.
In order to spend all funds collected exclusively for our centres we are appealing to our members to consider sponsoring the keep of a child.

This project consists of finding families in Spain(or elsewhere)  willing to commit to the maintenance ( 22 euros a month) and well being of a child which , obviously would affect positively  all members of the foster family and especially any brothers or sisters the child may have.
It would be very important for a child in these circumstances to know that someone in Spain cares for them.
The family or person who decides to support one of our pupils will receive photos and information about the child after every visit that we make to the schools and if they wish can also visit the child themselves if they wish to do so.

The Abugida school will take charge of administering the money for the family involved under our strict control.

The children and families chosen are those in most need due to illness, parentless and extreme poverty.

If you are interested in supporting a child, please contact apadrinamediterranea@gmail.com and you will receive the pertinent form and all the information that you will need.
Thank you.
PS we initially turned down the idea of individual child sponsoring as it is very labour intensive and would bring us a lot of work and expenses and so take from the actual programs. This project will only cater for children in great need and will be run by one of our members in the north of Spain.

Adults in our schools in Addis Ababa

03/11/09  Information about our senior students

Our adult ( including some men) reading and writing classes are working well in both schools.

A few days ago we received some feedback about the progress of some of our former students who attended the first course in Abugida.
The first in the class, a very able and clever, elderly grandmother who achieved excellent results is delighted with her progress and now enjoys reading everything and anything that she can get her hands on.
We are overjoyed to inform you that many of the women who passed the course have moved on to other centres in order to complete their education.
Those who did not manage to pass the course last year are repeating.

1 Nov 2009

Providing food for those in need.


The recession in Spain is affecting ruthlessly many immigrants who due to the complete stand-still in the construction industry are now unemployed. They came to Mallorca looking for a better standard of living and now find themselves out of work, in a situation of complete poverty. They live in overcrowded flats, waiting for the winter to arrive and sharing the little food they have with each other.

In Calvia,  which just a few years ago held the title of the richest municipality in Europe, we now find groups of people waiting for the shops to close so that they can rake through the bins to find food so that they can survive.

To have food on the table is a basic necessity/right for every human being. We must remember, we are living in Mallorca, a paradise for some where the most absurd extravagance and wealth exists side by side with cases of extreme poverty.

We in Mediterranea, intend to do something about it. Help us.

On our own doorstep.

In our endeavour to help the poor and vulnerable in this world we discover that we do not have to go very far from our own beautiful island of Mallorca, from our very own dear Calvia, a paradise for part of the population. We discover though that there is a less fortunate part of the population, an "invisible" part. "Invisible" because nobody wants to see it.

There is a part of the population which lives in overcrowded flats. The jobs they had in construction companies or in hotels has come to an end due to the recession. They have no income, no means of returning to their country of origin (there is the possibility for some to return home voluntarily and they may even be better off  and have a better quality of life than they have found here) but many do not have that option because their families or villages are in debt for money which paid to send them here in the first place and then there are the mafias threatening others who brought them to this country.

These people have no help from social services, only certain organisations help them as much as they can.
They are not eligible for a social security doctor's services and when in need must go directly to the emergency unit in the local hospital, and when they are given a prescription often they do not have the money to buy the medicines with. We are gradually beginning to identify these groups of people living in such precarious circumstances and are trying to help them as much as possible. It's hard to believe that this is happening on our own doorstep, such poverty alongside such wealth.
On the 27/10/09 we had a meeting with Father Eugenio, an intelligent priest with a good sense of humour who is very active working to fight  all types of social problems. Together we will be setting up a "Solidarity Chemist",  in order to make available medicines and medical supplies for those immigrants who have no National Health coverage, for his church projects in Peru and for our own Mediterranea programs.
We will also be collaborating with Father Eugenio in his feeding of those in need in Calvia project.
So far one restaurant has offered us frozen food  packages for those in need in the area.

Prize given to Mediterranea

Fatima of "African Hearts" has presented us, in appreciation, the" We Are The Mothers" prize.

Although many of our Mediterranea members are mothers, we dedicate this honour to all of the mothers in the third world. These courageous mothers who raise their children in situations of great adversity. We have to understand that many of these 5 or 6 year old " mothers" are already taking on the responsibility and the care of younger brothers and sisters of, very often, a few months old. This situation prevents these "mini" mothers from having their own childhood thus cutting short their personal development and education.

Many others become mothers far too early in life due to the tradition of child brides in Subsaharian Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
We can change this situation through education.
Through education these young girls will marry later, will learn about the different types of medical attention available to them, and will discover how to care for both themselves and any babies that they may have in the future. With all of this knowledge the percentage of  child brides could drop.
Many young girls die due to child birth, premature birthing in inadequate conditions and quite simply because their body is not developed or nourished sufficiently to be childbearing. The problem is immense and for this reason Dr Hamlin (awarded the alternative nobel prize) who does tremendous work in the Addis hospital has dedicated 50 years treating obstetrics fistula.

Wherever we are working, Mediterranea always tries to lend a helping hand to all mothers in cases of need.
We try to help in Ghana collaborating with the Dangme East hospital where we have built a residence so that the mothers with hospitalised children, and the rest of their children can sleep safely. Previously, the whole family would sleep outside by the river and would be victims to crocodiles, malaria carrying mosquitoes, snakes and the local rapists.

Between our two schools in Ethiopia we have 400 children. The majority of these children just live with their mother.
In the Birhan school many of the pupils mother's  earn their living by collecting firewood. This is a very arduous job because they have to carry great quantities of wood on their back but even worse it is extremely dangerous because rape is rife while these women are working. Men lie in wait for their wood-collecting victims. Many of the children who attend our schools are children born to these raped wood-collecting mothers.

Our fervent aim is to support and fight to ensure that these children do not abandon their studies due to poverty and miserable living conditions.

In both schools we have reading and writing course for adults. We have also set up courses to teach women (many of whom suffer domestic abuse) trades and a profession in order to make them self-sufficient so that they can build a better life for themselves and their children.
We are under no false illusions and are well aware that our contribution is a tiny grain of sand in a gigantic desert of need but we will not give up, we intend to keep on supporting the Third World.


I would like to talk a little bit more about Dr Hamlin, but this time about the kind humanitarian with a good sense of humour.
During one of our trips to Ethiopia we went to the Fistula hospital in Addis Ababa with the intention of offering help. This incredible hospital provides care for women with fístula obstétrica, a term that perhaps doesn't mean anything to most of us but which in fact is the cause of terrible daily distress and leads to the social exclusion of many women in Africa. These women, many of whom are still just children with malnourished bodies, are giving birth to babies which are often too large for their already debilitated frames. After days of difficult birthing

(aggravated by female genital mutilation) a stillborn child is the result. After such a difficult birth the mother experiences a vaginal tear which can extend to the bladder and in many cases to the anus.
This tear can result in fecal and urinary  incontinence. These women are then rejected by husbands and neighbours and are classed as pestilent outcasts.
When we arrived ( without an appointment to speak to Dr Hamlin) a guard appeared and when we told him we wanted to make an appointment he asked us to follow him.
He led us along one of the pretty paths within the hospital gardens . We felt a bit dubious wondering where he was taking us until we reached a little house in the middle of the garden. He knocked on the door and to our great surprise Dr Hamlin herself opened the door.
We couldn't believe our luck. She very kindly welcomed us and invited us into her house.
She led us into her living room and told us to take a seat on her sofa.
By our feet lay her two faithful companions, her dogs.
She apologised for being unable to invite us to a drink since she had just returned from a long journey and had no provisions in the house but she was very happy to meet us, to chat to us and to answer any questions.

There we were sitting on the sofa of a legend, of a woman who has survived three different political regimes in Ethiopia, who had dedicated her life to the welfare of thousands and thousands of poor, repudiated women, who had inaugurated a special hospital, a refuge, a home, a new life , a model hospital for socially excluded women, hope. Personally, I was floating on cloud nine.

Dr Hamlin is a caring woman. She asked us where we were staying. When we told her the price and how noisy it was she said " My dears ,you are living in a brothel". (We had just realised that the night before).
The conversation continued and continued with us just listening totally dazzled by this incredible human being.

We asked her if she minded if we took some photos ( like love-sick teenagers in presence of their pop-idol) and she said " it's my pleasure".
But, just as we were taking the photograph, the door crashed open and a whirlwind rushed in. It was Dr Hamlin's personal secretary, an Australian woman called Ruth.
Ruth began to scream at us "Out! Out!" like a woman possessed. We got such a fright we dropped the camera.
At first we thought that she was shouting at the dogs but then we realised that she was shouting at us. And she tried to throw us out! Poor Dr Hamlin could only murmur a soft "So sorry".

Ruth told us that she was Dr Hamlin's"Mother Hen" and I retorted that she was more like a rottweiler and because I angrily defended our group , explaining that we had been accompanied to the house unaware of where we were going and that Dr Hamlin had greeted us exquisitely then she calmed down.
She invited us to an informal chat and a guided tour of the hospital on the following day.

The next day, we entered the hospital ( which was immaculately clean and totally odourless considering the medical problem being treated), and in the distance we could see Dr Hamlin who was already on the job, as usual, just the same as for the last 50 years.

She stopped what she was doing came up to us and asked "How are you today?" Always taking time to think of others.
We hope that the Fistula hospital's work will continue to function for as long as necessary.
Most of its help comes from Australia, the United States ( Oprah Winfrey, the famous American TV host is greatly involved in this project) and other places in the world.
I recently read Dr Hamlin's autobiography. She talks about her childhood, when she was a student, how she met her husband, of how she arrived in Ethiopia with her young son, her life in the hospital etc...
It's the first book in the English language that I have read that I just could not put down and it just confirmed what I already believed. What a great humble woman she is.
Victoria Baldo