21 May 2011

Come to Pirates Party at BIC and Support Mikias' Ethiopian Education

Mikias, an Ethiopian child, who had chronic osteomyelitis in his right forearm, was brought to Mallorca for treatment. This is the third child we have bought over to date. Mikias was taken in to Son Dureta right away and after several days with intravenous antibiotics; he was taken to the operating theatre to clean up the damage to his arm.  It was found that there was very severe bone destruction, created by the infection, so a long and complicated procedure to simulate the growth of pretty well the whole bone was implemented. This has lead to various operations and hospitalizations.

 Mikias began with his osteomyelitis (infection in the bone) 4 years ago. He suffered a fracture that could have been cured without any problem had there been the means and the antibiotics available in Ethiopia. But he ended spending a lot of time going to and fro from hospitals in Addis Ababa and slowly becoming worse.

He spent a year in a hospital without specific treatment, only traction.  In another hospital they wanted to cut his arm off and in another one they put him a plaster cast for three months. Fortunately a Cuban traumatologist, who belongs to the Cuban medical brigades and works in the St. Paulo’s Hospital in Addis came across Mikias.  He removed the plaster cast and found the wound swarming with worms. He gave him, over several months, antibiotics that he miraculously managed to get (in Ethiopia all medicines have to be paid for), and this has allowed Mikias to survive. We heard about  Mikias, through this Cuban Doctor and decided to bring him over to Mallorca for treatment.

Mikias has a 7 years-old brother and his mother has recently given birth to another child, a little girl. When we were in Addis last year, we visited his mother. They live in an extremely humble house and she was being helped by the support of her neighbours. Her husband who had to come with Mikias to Spain was the only bread winner. Mediterranean took care of the Mikias’ mother and brother while the father was unable to work and support his family.  We have learnt that when we take on a responsibility like this we have to see if in helping the child we might be creating a problem or worsening a need in the family. Nothing is as simple as it seems, all angles have to be studied and evaluated.

Mikias has kindly been allowed to attend school at the Baleares International College during this past year, as a guest student.  During their first few months Mikias and his father were staying in a house belonging to Mediterranea members.  When Mikias's mother was about to give birth his father had to return to Ethiopia as he is the sole breadwinner in the house and had to be with his wife should there be a problem. Mikias remained with us for further treatment and stayed in various homes of kind and generous people who will have left the mark of their kindness and love in his heart for the rest of his days.

It is now over a year since Mikias came to us and he has been housed and looked after by several families who are volunteers and members of Mediterranea.  Caroline Bennett has coordinated beautifully Mikias's stay in Mallorca. We would particularly like to thank the Paediatric orthopaedic teams under Dr.Sanpera (Hospital Son Dureta and Son Espasas) for their kindness, great professionalism and dedication. We would like to thank the hospital administration for their generosity and solidarity. All the treatments and hospitalization have been done free of charge, and we are pleased to report that Mikias is well on the way to recovery  and will be returning to his family within the next few weeks. We also wish to give very big thanks you to Mrs Glynnis Mitchell and the staff of the BALEARES INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE in Magalluf for taking Mikias into their fold, “family” and providing him with an excellent education, free of charge, throughout his stay.  In the beginning, Mikias was a very shy little boy who understood only a few words of English.  He has transformed into a bright, smiling, outgoing young lad who is fluent in both English and Spanish which will put him in very good stead and his future will be secure upon his return to Ethiopia as he will be able to work as an interpreter/guide and put his language skills to good use.

The School would now like to raise funds in order to ensure that his education is continued upon his return.  Two events have been organised. The first one will be A PIRATE´S PARTY on the 28th May at the school opposite the Western Water Park, Magalluf.  The party starts at 11am and everyone is welcome!  There will be raffles, Tombola, Bric a brac stalls, home baking, Paella and dancing and singing.  All proceeds will be donated to Mediterranea.  For the second event the pupils will be staging the musical “WIZARD OF OZ” at the Bendinat Auditorium, Salon de Actos in Bendinat, (the same building as the Bendinat Swimming Pool).  Entrance will be €5 per person. Shows will be on Wednesday, 8th June at 14.00 hours and Thursday, 9th June at 19.00hrs.  Tickets available from Mrs Beckett, at the Baleares International College Tel 971 133167

19 May 2011

TV Coverage for Med's 4th World Programme in Palma

Dear Followers of Mediterranea

Here is a link to a report made and broadcasted by a local TV channel about the delivery of food that we make every week in Palma.  Entrega de alimentos en Palma de Mallorca   

The local Association of Malians (people of Mali) allows us to use their office for the distribution.  People of many different nationalities including Spaniards from the mainland and Mallorquins impacted by the crisis gratefully receive the food.

Speaking on the video is Fernanda from Mediterranea who is in charge of our Fourth World Programme in Palma and Omar who is president of the Association of Malians.

The distribution of this food is made possible by the funds and effort of Mediterrnaea and the unselfish donations of shops and individuals.  We have already entered our third year of operation for this programme

Opportunities for Members to Become Involved

Communication Team

We’d like to know if there are any Med members who would like to form a small team of ‘Med journalists‘ to report on our work. We are missing some opportunities to tell the stories of the people we help here and abroad.  We feel that by recruiting Med talent into a small team we will be able to deliver a wider range of varying articles on our blogs.  This is an essential part of what we do as the people who support us with monthly financial contributions want to hear how their money is spent and how we are positively impacting people’s lives all over the world.  If you are interested please don’t be shy in coming forward.  Previous experience not required just a passion for what Med is doing.  Please contact: Michael Stoma at 

Member Recruitment Team

As you no doubt read we recently surpassed 300 members for the first time.  This has come about through a gradual and natural growth, through word of mouth.  Of course this is the very best and most
appropriate way to build our following.  However, the reputation that Mediterranea has built for delivering on promises here and in the third world means more pleas for help from those in need…and it can be very difficult to turn away some of these pleas for want of members to support the work.  To address this we wanted to form a small team from amongst our members to see if there are any opportunities for speeding up our growth.  If you are
interested please contact: Michael Stoma at 

Golf Tournament Team

We’ve decided to run our first Mediterranea golf tournament, provisionally planned for this coming winter.  We see it as a good way to raise funds, show case our work and recruit new members.  If you would like to get involved in the organisation of this event, you don’t need to be a golfer, then please contact: Michael Stoma at  mediterranea.ong@gmail.com

16 May 2011

Mediterranea and the Crisis

 The effects of the crisis have been felt at Mediterranea but surprisingly this has been a good thing.

To begin with we noticed a slight decline in the number of members and a decrease in the quantity of new members but as time has gone by the amount of people who have joined Mediterranea has increased and we haven’t had any drop in numbers lately. Likewise we have noticed that new members show a clear interest in taking part in our projects which has enabled us to expand our activities and the quality of our programmes.

We find it very touching that some people join without even knowing us personally. I think it would be interesting to carry out a small survey to find out why people decide to become members. I think it would also be interesting for members to give us ideas on how we can increase our membership database.
For Mediterranea, the most important thing is the number of members rather than how much they give. The combination of this gives us the strength to carry on.

There are people who collaborate who are not actually members. We are grateful for their help but their presence in the membership ranks would provide us with more stability and in this way they would gain recognition in the ONG and for their work. Mediterranea exists because we carry out our work and because we give a few euros each month so that we can pay everything that needs to be paid in order to keep this great charity working.

15 May 2011

We are Starting our Latest Adventure in Ethiopia

Today Debora leaves for Ethiopia, she’s travelling out to join Virginia in Addis Ababa.  As you know, both are teachers of the blind and are going to Sebeta School in the village of Sebeta (Oromia), some 20 km from Addis on the road to Jimma.  Once they have settled in they will be instructing the other teachers in how to best teach Braille to the children.  They’ll be teaching techniques for orientation and mobility using walking sticks for the blind and demonstrating some creative ways to teach the blind.

To assist with this (together with what other volunteers have already taken over) they will be taking a lot of Braille learning material.  These children like all children in the world love to play and this material is designed to help them learn through play.

The school has a classroom for music but has practically no instruments, so they will be bringing recorders, harmonicas and tambourines.  Virginia took out 40 walking sticks and Debora will take pointers.  Once there they will search out a local craftsman who can hopefully make them locally.  They are also taking footballs that make a noise and board games like chess, ludo, connect four and packs of cards, all of which were obtained from ONCE.  We want to build up a small library of learning materials that can be expanded with subsequent visits.  In total we will be delivering more than 140 kg of material especially for the blind boys, girls and children of this school.

Virginia and Debora will be the pioneers in this our first initiative with a blind school.  It is our intention to continue supporting this school with human and material resources during future visits.

Nearly 50% of the cases of blindness are unknown but of the 50% that are know the majority come from vitamin A deficiency, measles or infection during pregnancy, all of which are preventable.  Other causes are congenital or traumatic cataracts and damage to the optic nerve.

Sebeta School was founded in 1959 and was the first school for the blind in Ethiopia.  There are 143 children attending the school between primary grades 1 to 6.

Thank You Mara

Yesterday we received a parcel of glasses from Mara, an Alicante optician.  They not only sent a detailed list of what they had sent but also labelled each pair of glasses by group and graduation.  This must have taken a lot of work.

Most of these glasses will go to Sebeta.  The glasses with high graduation for myopia will hopefully help some of the children who are considered nearly blind to see a lot better.  Similarly there are glasses to help those children with severe long sightedness, which act as magnifying glasses and will help them to read.

Debora, who is leaving today for Ethiopia will take them with her. 

Thank you so much Mara!