18 May 2012

The Mediterranea Akaki Park

Click on the link to see the location of the plot of land the Akaki authorities have given us permission to use for the creation of a recreation and sports ground for local children and young people. The land is so much better than we thought it would be!!


The authorities of Akaki consider this to be an extremely important project and they are being very obliging, making it as easy as possible for us to create the park since nothing else like it exists in the local area.
Akaki is the poorest sub-city of Addis, so much so that it is situated in one of the areas of the country which receives help from other areas.
If you are interested in finding out more you can visit the website of Marc who is developing his ideas here which he will then put into practice over there. The more ideas we have the better!

Mediterranea's Social Centre : Inauguration


During our visit we managed to open the new social centre for the elderly people in the part of town near the railway in Akaki, Ethiopia. It is hoped that around 100 elderly people from the local area will attend this centre on a daily basis. They will be able to watch television, listen to music, play board games, drink tea and chat to other people and escape from their otherwise lonely existence.
Around fifty pensioners were invited to the inauguration where we provided soft drinks, coffee and popcorn and a good time was had by all.

The centre was decorated in traditional Ethiopian style with grass strewn over the floor and they seated themselves at various tables, with the men sitting separately from the women.

Three of them officially opened the centre with a prayer and they thanked us for setting it up.

Phil will make sure the centre runs smoothly and will be filming it (they have never seen anything like that before) and the elderly people will give their own ideas as to improving the running of the centre.

Laura and Cristina will be travelling out in July so we hope that they will also be able to contribute some dynamic ideas.

16 May 2012

The Pumply Nut Children

Amongst the babies who were selected to attend the nursery school there were two "Plumpy Nut" children.
I had never seen a "Plumpy Nut" child before. And I certainly wont forget it. They look like little buddhas, almost square shaped with unnatural rolls of fat and they are so overweight that when it comes to receiving food handouts, their mothers are told to go away because their children are too fat and dont need any more. They have to manage on their own and feed them what they can. This was the case with these two children, little buddhas, who are no longer eating Plumpy Nut and are undergoing thedisinflationprocess.
An international organisation is giving out Plumpy Nut in the Akaki area.
Akaki does have shops. There are local products available. They sell milk, meat, cereals and vegetables to those who are able to buy them. The children do not need therapeutic food, they need a normal, healthy and varied diet.
Plumpy Nut is more expensive and far less natural. It has no long term benefits for the childrenit is just bread for today and hunger for tomorrow. It does not help local businesses and just provides wealth for the multinational French company which created and distributes the product.
Plumpy Nut is basically made up of peanuts with a few added vitamins and minerals.
International financial organisations such as the IMF and World Bank put pressure on African countries to designate extensive amounts of land for the cultivation of peanuts with Europe being the main importer. Instead of being put to good nutritional use in its own country, the African peanut is bought by European companies at giveaway prices, turned into the ¨plump peanut¨ and patented by companies like NutriSet and sold to charities and international organisations who work in areas suffering from famine for one euro per ration.
Everyone can draw their own conclusions from this but hunger seems to be a profit-making industry.