11 Dec 2010

Remembering Part 2

We are going to register ourselves as an NGO (non government organisation) in Ethiopia…and so start a new stage for Mediterranea in that country, one that we hope will go very well.

Here we continue our recollections of our first steps in the land of the Queen of Sheba…

We first discovered Abugida School in 2007.  At this time we had chosen a lady as our first representative in the country.  We decided on her, thinking that a woman would be best suited for the position, perhaps having more social sensitivity in dealing with women and children…

Well in the case of this woman none of this turned out to be true.  The best that could be said for her was that she must have been a direct descendent of Elizabeth Bathory, the bloodthirsty countess of Transylvania.

The lady in question had lived many years in the US and told us that she had returned to her country to help her people and that she had founded a small NGO.  Our second ‘marvellous’ experience at the hands of local NGO’s…

Abugida was at that time a small and ruined school that was not able to pay its teachers.  It had 40 children but no way of supporting itself.  It had been constructed by a Dutch NGO that had subsequently left the country and had abandoned the school to its own luck.

Here our intrepid representative had founded her own fiefdom: dedicating herself to threatening and blackmailing all who didn’t comply with her aims and demands.  From us she stole some money, which luckily was less than it could have been as we discovered it quickly.  Meanwhile she was bringing people from the US (who she attracted through her contacts) to Abugida to see the school and the children and of course to relieve them of their money, money that she kept, naturally.

Since then only members who contribute directly to the school are allowed to visit Abugida.

When we sacked her she didn’t take it very well and we experienced scenes like the smashing of the windows of our car by a woman sent by her.  Her intent over the years was to sink Abugida and with her started the threats such as “it doesn’t matter how long it takes but I will send someone who will cause you a lot of harm, in Ethiopia it is very easy to have an accident” etc etc. It only remained for her to say, “You are an easy white target”.

This dearly loved tradition of threats continued with our next representative.
But that’s another story… 

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