17 Dec 2011

Dagem...The Richness of Abugida

The disabled who live in poor countries count for very little and yet there are so many of them.  The poor have a much greater chance to suffer disability as mothers rarely receive appropriate prenatal care or suffer difficult births without help, or for other reasons such as malnutrition, poliomyelitis or accidents.  It’s difficult enough to live in a poor country but very much more so if you have a disability.

Cerebral paralysis is common in Ethiopia due to lack of prenatal care and infections.  As if the disability alone is not enough and due to the general lack of education, this disability carries the stigma that people believe it is a sign of bad luck, that it is the hand of god acting against the family.

Through Dagem we are managing to break these taboos, he is accepted at the school and has enriched the lives of those in the nursery and the whole school.  In these photos you can see him meeting Laura again, our wonderful Occupational Therapist volunteer who facilitated Dagem’s incorporation into the school by teaching Nuria, his daily Ethiopia care, and his mother how to care for him.  Dagem recognised her, lifting his head and giving her a big smile.

In the last photo we see Jonas, the little boy with the eternal smile, who suffers from the same condition but in a much milder form.  Laura is applying a thermoplastic support to his hand.  

Hopefully, as we continue to fight the taboos, we’ll see more such children in Abugida in the future.

The Rich Sun of Abugida

 This year the rainy season in Ethiopia seemed as if it would never stop.  Our summer and autumn in Mallorca, Spain, Europe is the coldest, wettest season in Ethiopia.  But now, eventually, the Ethiopian summer has arrived and as you can see from the photos everyone is enjoying the Rich Sun of Abugida.

12 Dec 2011

Times are Changing in Sebeta


We are late in making contact, it’s been difficult to get a connection and in addition we’ve had very little time.  The children of Sebeta now have a psychometric room and three fantastic monitors who will accompany them in the process of their personal evolution.

We’ve managed to arrange that not only the adults of the school but also people from the village, the seamstress, the carpenter, the iron maker, the pillow salesman etc are involved in the project.  It is becoming an enriching experience for everyone.  The director of the school is aware of all that is going on and has so far accepted all the proposals that we’ve made and there are many, as we are working quickly in order to get as much started as possible in the few days that we have left.  At least Dr Zerihun, who performs so many roles for Mediterranea and with such a big heart, always accompanies us.

The children, following their first sessions, have communicated through drawings and words that they feel content, fortunate and confident.  Following the first day’s sessions we’ve had a further 35 children sign up for the second day.  The biggest success so far has been the Ethiopian monitors who have been very motivated, making big efforts during the teaching and practical sessions, with the creation of materials and even out of their working hours, dedicating time to meet with us to discuss the events of the day, to ask questions, share their thoughts on changes, situations that they’ve noticed and to share their emotions.  They are very motivated, engaged and continually asking good questions.

The work with the children is very intense and productive and we are learning as much from them as they are from us.  To see the children move no one could tell that they were severely visually impaired and to share in their joy no one could ever say that we speak different languages because it is plain to see that when it comes down to it we all speak the same language.

Regards and a hug from Sebeta

NB The psychometrics are working with the children who have the poorest vision, the blind and the virtually blind, those who due to their disability have the least stimulation.

The Spirit of Christmas at the Portals Christmas Fair

For those of you who were looking for the Spirit of Christmas last Sunday I can tell you without doubt that it was to be found down at Puerto Portals at the annual Winter Fair on December 4th.  The crowds arrived and mingled with each other:  they ambled through the assortment of pretty Christmas stalls, many of which were decorated with magical fairy lights.  Santa Claus hats were everywhere and the angels from the local school sang traditional Christmas carols.  People relaxed listening to the music and enjoying the wonderful food that was on sale everywhere.  The smell of the mulled wine and the mince pies told us Christmas was just around the corner.

Right in the middle of all this activity was Mediterranea’s very own Father Christmas with all his little helpers!  They worked their magic turning anything and everything into liquid gold.  They asked people to guess the weight of the Christmas Cake, they sold draw tickets for one of the biggest and best Christmas draws with over thirty prizes to be won, they shook their collection tins and the crowds queued for a chance to take part in the fun and play the game of Tombola.  Father Christmas sat the children on his knee while they told him of the things they hoped he would bring them on Christmas Day.  The spirit of Christmas was everywhere.

At the end of a long and very enjoyable day we counted the money, hoping we had raised a significant amount for the charity that is so close to all our hearts.  It was humbling to realise the generosity of the crowds that had passed by our stall that day.  We had raised a phenomenal amount  -just over 3,000euros.    The changes that will be made to people’s lives with the work that  the volunteers of Mediterranea  will now be able to carry out will be incredible.

The stars will shine brighter in Ethiopia, in Ghana, and in Mallorca not only because of Mediterranea but also because of the Spirit of Christmas that was down at Puerto Portals at the Winter Fair

Contributed by Med Member Diane Oatley