1 Aug 2011

Diary of Ale, Abugida 5, 14 July

We got down to work and then Zeri arrived with another suggestion. He had to go and give the money to the elderly people Mediterranea look after and wanted us to accompany him. So we took the gari (the horse and cart) which we have rented out at the school until 4pm (new this year) so we can use it whenever necessary.  
When we got there they were all gathered in the edir premises (the neighbourhood association). We went through the list and distributed the money to each elderly person in turn (between 200 and 400 birrs a month) which they receive to make up for their miserable pensions – those who have them (50, 100 birr). If it wasn’t for this they wouldn’t have enough money to survive. Since they are all illiterate they all had to “sign” with a fingerprint. And, as always, they went out of their way to show us their gratitude and were full of kind words for us (we were acting as representatives of the ONG).
When we finished, the representatives of the edir asked us to go and see some other elderly people (more cases of extreme poverty) who were also in need of help, so that we could inform the ONG about them.
The photo of the house is where one of the women who needs our help lives. She is a widow of around 70 years old, without children, with a pension of 100 birrs, from which she has to pay 1,50 to the state for this “house”.
The other photo was this lady of 75 who showed us her home, very small, without ventilation…except for the corrugated iron roof, which is full of holes that let the water in when it rains. She pays 7,50 birrs to the state for this house (from her pension of 150). When I ask her why she doesn’t ask them to repair the roof, I am told that if she complains then she will be out on the street as they will give the house to somebody else. She lives with a 16 year old girl whom she adopted as a child when she became an orphan.
These two cases have been approved by Mediterránea so their situation will soon be changing and they will be able to live with dignity. I loved this project supporting elderly people (very uncommon in most charities) and having seen them all this year, I like it even more. Furthermore, Mediterránea is considering starting up a day centre where these people can have breakfast, chat, play board games, get washed etc… let’s hope it goes ahead.   
We got back to the school, where our older children were standing in a ring and singing happily. Having seen what is going on in the outside world, it’s lovely to see what is going on inside the school.   
In the afternoon there was further training for the carers. The theme of the day was: Hygiene (Part 2). We talked about the bathroom, runny noses, headlice and bowel/bladder control. 


After the sleepless night we all had due to my gastroenteritis we all woke up shattered. I didn’t just feel weak, I felt dreadfully weak. I didn’t dare eat anything for fear of the tummy bug coming back.  
I went to see the littles ones but didn’t get too close as I was scared of passing on my germs. A quick “good morning”. All was under control, the carers are following the guidelines we have given them and all is going well. The smallest ones still cry at times (especially when they arrive) but they are getting better each time.
 I stayed in the storeroom (our current centre of operations) and got to work organising things. However, as usual, the older children arrived, they are taking part in leisure activities at the moment (so that they still get a roof over their heads and food) because it’s the school holidays now. So there were kisses and hugs and they were curious to know what I was doing… so I decided to relax with them for once and I showed them the photos and videos we had made during our time in Abugida. They really enjoyed it! We couldn’t stop laughing! They really seem to be so happy, even more so than last summer! I have to say, they are such rascals and comedians! Always in a good mood, always joking around, always singing and giving hugs. I am wishing that “my” little ones (who started last summer) were that age!
There were two new pupils on the training course today. Kalid and Kerim, the small twins who stayed a bit longer at Abugida today because their family was running a bit late. Today the course was on FIRST AID.  
You can picture Carol getting all excited explaining how to treat a wound with Betadine, using Zeri as a demonstration or telling about the dangers of suffocation with a bag. She was born to be on the stage! She’s incredible!  I’m so delighted to be collaborating with the school as I’m getting so much out of it!

I’m falling asleep... SWEET KISSES!!

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