My Journey to Project Ethiopia
By Niesha Fort, Board Member
Bags packed? Check! Passport in hand? Check! It was finally time to leave for the airport.
I’ll admit, I was feeling anxious as I boarded the plane for my first trip to Ethiopia. I knew that two weeks was not going to be enough and in my head I was already planning my second trip. But wait — I had not even left Seattle yet! “Stay present,” I had to tell myself. “Enjoy every single moment on this trip.” Finally, after 18 hours of travel, we landed at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa!
I have served on the Project Ethiopia Board of Directors since May 2017 and when the opportunity became available to visit our projects in person, I jumped at the chance. Traveling with our Executive Director and her daughter, I met up with our Project Leaders, Awoke Genetu and Workineh Genetu to witness the work of Project Ethiopia during a week in October 2018.
During my time in the Dangla region I was able to understand the scope and impact of Project Ethiopia’s contributions in the most real way possible: by visiting the communities and meeting the families and students impacted by Project Ethiopia. In just a few days, I witnessed and participated in construction efforts to help build and maintain elementary schools, a University Transition awards ceremony so that students can continue their secondary education, a community gathering of elderly and widowed women who recently received iron roofing, and a dedication ceremony for another completed school building for children in grades 1 – 3.
A highlight of my time in Dangla was visiting Gult Abishcan Primary School. Encircled by curious children eight deep in all directions, I witnessed the creation of a new building made from eucalyptus wood, mud, straw and water. Project Ethiopia provided the metal roofing and concrete floors, while the community volunteered their time and services to build the school so that youth in the area can access education through 8th grade and be ready to transition to high school in Dangla town. It was one of the many moments during my quick, but memorable trip when I was struck by how valuable Project Ethiopia is to the Dangla community and the positive impact it will continue to make for future generations to come. Now I can officially start planning my second trip to Ethiopia!