We are about to take a giant step forward, of the kind that fills you with joy and hope. Because we are now certain we shall have an ophthalmologist for Sebeta, in fact a children’s ophthalmologist. And not just an eye doctor but also an eye nurse who will be going out with him at the end of October. They will examine the 340 children at Sebeta to see how some of them can be helped by surgery, glasses or poor-vision aids.
The three Messi room monitors will thus be able to teach reading and writing in Oromiya to those children, who aided in this way will be able to see, so that they will not have to go out into the world at the age of 17 knowing only Braille.
Apart from this giant step and with a view to improving the very difficult living conditions of the Sebeta children we are taking a number of smaller steps: we are buying sheets (at the moment they sleep directly on filthy mattresses) and we are thinking about hiring laundresses (if they let us) to wash these sheets and the children’s clothes. We have already improved things by mending the toilets and replacing the broken windows.
We have a huge task on our hands turning round this school which has been virtually abandoned by God and man for the last 30 years. The carers don’t look after them, the cleaners don’t clean, the Head master doesn’t seem to be in charge and there’s a statutory nurse who’s never been to the huts where the children live. A bleak picture, but we’re not put off by the challenges, quite the opposite.
Photos: the daily life of the children in their huts
At Mediterranea we are in favour of showing happy photographs, photographs of our achievements, but sometimes we have to show you the other side of things. If we were not helping them we would never show you this darker side, since we are totally opposed to showing the harsh reality just to raise money in situations where we are not helping directly.