8 Mar 2011

Dignipacks Received with Surprise and Delight!

Yesterday a team of Mediterranea volunteers distributed the first Dignipacks.    Here is the feedback firsthand. 

“It was such a great success and the project was greeted with loads of enthusiasm.  Angel, the angel of Zaqueo, helped us out, which was very valuable.   He was able to advise us as to how to co-ordinate the hand out.  On the whole it was a very rewarding and interesting experience.  The people themselves were very grateful and many just wanted to have a chat.  I spoke to a young Nigerian man who told me his story at length.  He said that he is married to a Russian woman and they have a small boy.   In Russia he had a job and a home, he came to Spain on the promise of work but can’t get his papers so he is reduced to coming to the soup kitchen.  He talked about how he couldn’t believe what life had now dealt him but he came over as a very positive person.  He is hoping the future will be brighter here in Mallorca for himself and his family.  I hope that the small help we have given them today will be a start.”
 “My son was with us tonight and did a great job of helping out.  At one point he came to me and said ´Mum that guy that I just gave a Dignipack to said to me ‘God bless you’....WOW`.  This was said a lot.  On the whole all the roofless people were a little surprised at the Dignipacks, but nevertheless really, really happy for them.  One man was so chuffed when I told him that there was a toothbrush and toothpaste in the pack.  He held his finger up to his teeth and said ´I really need to brush my teeth´ a happy look, a thank you and he was gone.  Another lady asked if the pack had knickers, and to be able to say yes, three pairs, was a great thing.” 

Our volunteers were quick to use their initiative when faced with many more men than women.  They improvised, taking out knickers and pads from the female packs they converted them into nearly complete male packs.  Noticing some children in the queue and discovering a bag of hand knitted children’s jumpers in the car they offered them to some of the mothers, who were delighted and very happy to receive them.

“The sad thing was that the Angel’s soup kitchen ran out of food and in the end we were about 50 Dignipacks short.  Anyway the long and short of it was that it was a great success.  We started at 5.30 and had run out of packs by 7.00pm, unfortunately.“

Photos:  Angel (striped shirt) runs Zaqueo, Fiona, Stella, Soren and Tom. 

6 Mar 2011

We Will Not Give In

Hello followers of Mediterranea

You already know that last summer we experienced some difficulties at Abugida, due to a corrupt group that formed part of the administration: the Edgedet Behibret. 

We managed to get rid of these heartless, cruel people from the school (although they continue intriguing as much as they can).  As a temporary solution the sub city proposed a committee formed of three people who would administer the new account for the school.

This second group were not good either; they never fulfilled their commitments in an ethical manner.  For this reason we have refused to send them any more money.  Since last month we have been sending money to support the school through our own channels.

Today we received some good news.  They have dismissed this committee and confirmed to us in writing, signed by the highest authority of the Akaki sub city, that we can continue with their full support all of our work in Akaki.  Behind this action we can see the hands of the head of education from the sub city, the head of our kebele, the directors, sub-directors, and teachers of the Biru Tesfa and Fitawrari schools and the mothers and families of Abugida who are always on our side. 

We know that it is not easy for them to confront their fellow countrymen on behalf of us foreigners but in the end reason and truth prevailed.  We continue with the struggle, with our eyes fixed on the new classroom for the 1 to 3 year olds and the possible construction of a classroom for blind children aged 4 to 7 both at Abugida; the four additional classrooms for the blind at Biru Tesa (because the costs came out too high in Akaki Mengist due to the steep terrain). Hopefully these projects will very quickly become reality.  There are no places for blind and partially blind children in Akaki and the problem is a big one.

In the end, another obstacle overcome for the umpteenth time.  But our motivation has not waned; our batteries are stronger than those of the Duracel bunny!