25 Aug 2011

The August Group of Volunteers

Abugida is a happy place, rather damp and full of “chica” (mud). There is no time to stop, there is so much to do.  Zerihun had already told us that Akaki is the city where everyone says “hello”. But it was incredible to hear the “hellos” at 7.30 on Monday morning from the mothers who were already waiting at the door. We felt at home.
The little ones are having their milk and they have had a change of clothes (thanks to Carolina and Alejandra). They are born impersonators and the silly antics of little Addaé are enough to make them all go crazy.  The “melons” also have a change of clothes, nice and warm, which they have gone home in today.
The kitchen has now got more ventilation and light with a new window and the place is starting to get bigger. What’s more the cooks are provided with constant amusement and can’t stop laughing at Tacho without his shirt on.  
Dagem is enjoying himself, he laughs, moves his head and responds to stimulation as much as he is able to. Laura thinks he has possibilities and his carer is totally committed.  The big children are doing workshops and their teachers are learning new techniques.
In addition, almost all of the sponsored children have called in today to collect their monthly allowance and we have taken their photos. It’s amazing to see how nice they look, how well behaved they are as they arrive and the wonderful smiles on their faces. They are all darlings. The smallest ones hide behind their mums but they love seeing the photos of themselves and this brings out a smile.
We are also making an inventory of the sickbay, organisings and updating things.  Hugs and kisses are frequently exchanged and we see lots of teeth throughout the day! There is a feeling of love and gratitude within the whole educational environment.
Volunteers: Laura, Ivana, Tacho, Elena and Carolina.

Some of the “melons”, the former babies who have progressed to the “melons” class with their new fleece tops
Super Tacho making the new window

We will not get tired of saying how delighted we are with the progress of Dagem, our little boy from Abugida who has cerebral palsy, who seems to be making good progress and has a wonderful carer who loves and understands him, stimulates him and is very keen to learn. She is learning from Laura, a child psychomotor development specialist and one of the August volunteers at Abugida.  The fact that Dagem is the most “spoilt” child at Abugida and receives so much attention is not only beneficial for him but it’s a big step forward towards fighting for the rights of disabled people who sadly are scorned and rejected by society and the people close to them, not only in Ethiopia but in many other places.
Because of all our hard work and determination the poorest families in Akaki are now the envy of other people as their children attend Abugida; a woman who was raped and badly treated in her neighbourhood and labelled “crazy” has made a miraculous recovery since her son started at the nursery school and now has a job in Abugida and holds her head up high... and children with HIV are no longer looked upon as being abnormal and form part of the “normal daily life” of Abugida, etc etc...We are very happy. Thanks for helping us to achieve so many good things. 

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