Wednesday 14 November 2012

Memorable moments from Ethiopia #ONEMums

I wrote this post on 13th October as I sat at the airport waiting for my return flight.  I have just found it in my drafts and thought it was high time it got published!

I am sat at the airport waiting for the flight to board and I’m just trying to process everything I have seen, heard and learnt.  My travel partner Jen is poorly and has been for a few days so she is having a snooze whilst I work.
I am trying to sort out in my head what the key times have been from this journey but I keep coming to the same conclusion that practically every moment in Ethiopia has been memorable; all for different reasons.  This country will defiantly stay with me and now has a special place in my heart.
In no particular order here are some of my really special times –
*   Connecting with a little girl on the first day at the Mary-Joy centre, all those stolen glances, coy smiles and hand holding really set the tone for my stay in Ethiopia.

*   Being told by 2 Ethiopians that my accent is so good that they thought I could speak Amharic,  oh yes, how I chuckled at that one, I think I am up to about 10 words now! But for someone who has always struggled with languages it was welcome words to hear.

*   Seeing just how beautiful this country is, there is so much land and it is all so lush at the time of the year.

*   Experiencing first hand that the Ethiopians are a beautiful people.  So warm and friendly, they go out of their way for you and there is always a smile.  In a country where so many have so little there was no danger of pick-pocketing or violence, isn't that wonderful?

*   Finding out about the women being rescued by Women at Risk and meeting some of them at FashionABLE. To take them out of the sex trade and to pay them a good living wage is a marvellous thing.

*   Overhearing at Bahir-Dar airport two women talking in American accents, ‘they all have those #ONEMoms tags, I’ve read about them’.  Yay, the message is out there.
*   Shaking hands, doing high 5’ and hugging a million and one stunning children. One little girl in the slums project kissed my hand, it was so touching. I am in awe of Gabrielle’s natural manner with all children, they love her as much as she loves them.

*   Getting to know Jen Howze and spending time with the most eclectic group of women, I truly feel I have firm friends over the pond now. I have such admiration for the work these women are doing and whereas I started by feeling like the poor relation in blogger terms, all they did was affirm me and build me up.  Thank you ladies. X

*   Having so much loving support from home, despite a bit of unrest, people rallied together and I’m proud to be a UK parenting blogger. I can’t even begin to name all of you that helped, but you know who you are and I love what you have done.
*   Our farewell dinner as we each sat and shared how we had been impacted during our 8 days in Ethiopia, we all agreed over tears and laughter that this was just the start. We are a force to be reckoned with and we will fight for justice for all people.

*   The finally, finding God’s grace in just about everything.  Perfect.

Thank you Lord, thank you friends, thank you ONE.

I would love for you to read more about ONE and to sign up to offer your voice. There is a very simple widget in my sidebar.

Disclosure: I travelled with the ONE campaign to Ethiopia on an expense paid trip in October. Our trip was about success – Living Proof -- of what is working and why it is important that we continue to support projects that are making a huge, measurable difference for less than one percent of the entire US budget. It is about letting more people know what a tremendous difference the US and UK are making in the lives of millions around the world. And it is about adding thousands more voices to those already letting their elected officials know they support these life-saving programs.
The good Images need to be Credited to the wonderful Karen Walrond
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