18 Oct 2011

Sebeta on the Rise

Hello Mediterránea supporters:

We gave our backing to the Sebeta school and we made the right decision: things were not looking at all good, however, things changed and the situation for the blind children at Sebeta continues to improve greatly.

The Messi room, repaired bathrooms, new windows….. and we have now got a builder in fixing the cracks in the buildings. The enthusiasm also appears to have rubbed off on this gentleman because he’s even repairing cracks that are not included in the budget! That must be a first!

They are going to let us use half of the classroom adjoining the Messi room to make the playroom bigger, which is also good news. We will make a doorway to link the two classrooms. This extension will allow the children to have more space which is very important as the Messi room is in great demand and even opens on Saturdays.

The ophthalmologist and nurse will be taking out one of our computers, which has programmes for the blind and visually impaired and stacks of games which we’re sure they will enjoy.
 We have sent money to buy 55 new mattresses each costing 300 birrs: 16500 birrs: 699 euros
 And also for 150 bed sheets each costing 180 birrs= 27000 birrs:  1154 euros:
 We’re sending out 100 bed sheets from Mallorca with the ophthalmologist and the nurse. Many thanks to all of you who have donated new sheets.

We know that all of this will greatly improve their well-being but here’s the really big news, straight from Ethiopia:  "there has been a huge change in the cleanliness of the bathrooms thanks to the efforts of our charity, of the teachers, the committee which inspects the bedrooms twice a day, together with the management team which supervises the staff who work in the children’s bedrooms. If only you could see it, the current bathrooms are nothing like the ones we saw a short while back so we just hope that they can keep up the good work to keep the bathrooms clean along with the children’s sleeping areas which are so clean and tidy…. Olga (one of Mediterranea’s volunteers in Abugida) was pleasantly surprised when we went round the rooms and she couldn’t believe the changes!!"

All of this just goes to show that improving the standard of living and dignity of these people by taking a “hands on” approach is much more productive than 100000 discussions and 1000000000 complaints and grumbles about the real situation out there or justifying them “because this is Africa”…

We need committed people who are keen to carry out voluntary work in this special place. People who feel they have something to give to the children of Sebeta. They will come back with so much more than they left with.

One of our next objectives is for the children to use the gym, which they are unable to access at the moment due to lack of equipment and professionals to teach them psychomotor development. This gym belongs to the school (we presume it was built at the time by the same charity that built the rest of the school) although it is only used by local sportsmen and women for training.   
We will keep fighting. The children of Sebeta deserve it.

Photo: visually impaired boy in the Messi room making an effort to write his name. They will now be able to make use of special aids for the visually impaired (on our last trip we left them some but the forthcoming arrival of the ophthalmologist and the nurse will greatly contribute to an improvement of the situation).

17 Oct 2011

Very Good News!

Martha is returning home.  Her back is now wonderful, the extreme lateral bend in her spine and hump in her back have disappeared.  Her last, very complicated, operation has been a success.

Martha has been in the very best hands, the medical team of the Children’s Trauma Clinic at Son Espases Hospital, the children’s neurosurgeon and the many other professionals from other medical specialties.  Many have given everything for her, without ever looking back, until this young girl could have the possibility for a normal life, a future.

Martha wants to be a doctor and has experienced some excellent examples during her stay.  We want to give our thanks to this medical team, to the untiring and very professional Dr Sanpera who led the team (we certainly bring him nearly impossible cases), to the nurses and auxiliary staff who have treated Martha like a queen during her stay in hospital.

To bring children over to be operated is not complicated from a legal perspective but for us it almost becomes a life long commitment as we continue to follow their progress when they return to their own countries.   And lucky that we do, as for Martha this is the third time that we have brought her over to be operated and we very much hope it will be the last time that it is necessary.  Martha will have to wear her corset during the day for the next three months in order to avoid complications.  Today is a happy day.

We don’t want to forget to thank our magnificent group of volunteers who visited Martha in hospital and accompanied her and her brother Mesfin, and to the wonderful family who welcomed them into their home and looked after them the times they were out of hospital.

The Old People's Social Centre is on the Go

The April group of volunteers has managed to raise the 2000 Euros necessary to renovate the building that will become the old peoples social centre in the neighbourhood of the train station in Akaki, Ethiopia.   When the repairs are finished and the social centre opens we expect some 100 old people will use the facility.  They will be able to enjoy educational and recreational activities and those that want will be able to work on ‘miniprojects’ (the majority of these people have pensions of 3,4 or 5 Euros a month, some get nothing and have to look after their grandchildren, for them the only solution is begging).  If anyone has ideas for such miniprojects please let us know, all ideas are welcome.  See this link for an example of a miniproject that we think could work in Akaki:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14967535#blq-search
It is easy, cheap, new and something that the old could manage.  Are there any other such ideas that people know of?

16 Oct 2011

4th World, Zaqueo & Dignipacs

Today we want to give focus to the 4th world, which lives with us and unfortunately is growing by the day.  Due to the crisis, due to abuse from those in power, due to dreams not materialising, due to personal bad luck, due to any number of reasons.  It exists, it’s real and we must not turn our backs on it.  What’s more, nearly no one can be certain that they will not be in a similar position one day.

We want to dedicate this post to Zaqueo, an organisation with no government support, only the support of individuals, that gives it’s time and efforts to the homeless who sleep only metres from the tourist shops of Palma, to those with no financial means and very little government support.  At Zaqueo they can get breakfast and dinner, and at various times during the week can shower.  Some also are able to sleep in this small space. 

Mediterranea has been supporting Zaqueo for many years by providing food and volunteer help.  It is in front of Zaqueo that Mediterranea volunteers distribute 200 – 300 ‘Dignipacs’ once a month.  Bags that contain basic toiletries.  The objective of these Dignipacs is to ensure that whoever has lost their job and has no or very little income, does not also have to loose their dignity and are able to maintain their personal hygiene and health.

Last week numerous reports came out on IB3 TV, in various newspapers and radio stations giving information and details of Mediterranea’s distribution of the Dignipacs, a couple are shown here.

We describe here the people that Zaqueo looks to support, and who the untiring Angel, who runs Zaqueo, works with every day.  He’s an example to us all.

Who they help.
You’ve seen them in the streets: those who help with parking, clean windscreens, sell handkerchiefs, beg, search through the rubbish bins, prostitutes or delinquents.  They are men and women none of whom have work, a house, or the support of their family.  No home, or roof to cover them, abandoned and rejected by society, in absolute loneliness with nowhere to live but the streets.  They are men and women, many of whom are irrecoverably drug dependent, alcoholics, immigrants who have fled poverty and fallen into misery: Spanish, Africans, Rumanians, Bulgarians and Northern Europeans all united by one characteristic, that they have all been very unlucky and are alone and abandoned:  they don’t show up in the statistics so as not to ‘produce’ problems, they are a nuisance, they are trapped but none of them ever imagined that they’d be where they are now.  You can’t believe that they are where they are only by their own hand; somehow society has failed them and let them fall into the gutter.

Zaqueo doesn’t judge them, simply welcomes them, attends them, gives them food and a bed but also understanding, caring and love.