Spring 2018 Dangla Site Visit

By Sue Wilkes, Executive Director

This past May, I was fortunate to take my second trip to Dangla since joining Project Ethiopia. It was the very beginning of the rainy season – sunny mornings followed by thunderstorms and torrential rain in the afternoons. Many things were familiar upon my return; the roads to certain villages, the stores and restaurants around my hotel; and, of course, the dedicated Project Ethiopia staff. I was excited to visit our new project sites and meet the families and community members with whom we are working this year.

With only five nights to spend in Dangla, we got right to work visiting projects. Add in plenty of time to meet and plan with Awoke and Workineh for the remainder of 2018 and beyond, and we stayed busy from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every day!

I’m pleased to report the following:

  • Abadra Primary School – New 4 classroom building: Construction is on schedule to be completed and ready for school this fall. When I visited, the concrete floors were curing and the community had made significant progress on applying the mud plaster inside and out.
  • Gult Abischan Primary School – New 4 classroom building: Construction is also on schedule to be completed by the school year. This school was a bit farther behind in applying the mud plaster due to challenges accessing water, but the flooring and roofing were complete.
  • Dengeshta Primary School – New water well: At the time of my visit, the school community volunteers had dug down 12 meters with an additional 5 meters to go to reach water. When completed, the well will serve not only the 720 students at the school, but the surrounding families as well.
  • Zagray Village – Iron roofing: A few weeks earlier, iron roofing for 57 of the poorest households in this village, 34 of whom are headed by single/widowed women, had been completed. The community invited us to a ceremony at their gathering hall, sharing stories, food and drink to celebrate our partnership.
  • Tara Village – Interior painting: Having received solar lanterns last fall, efforts were in full swing to provide interior painting for all 330 households in Tara Village.

I would like to share one more thing from my trip, unrelated to Dangla, but amazing all the same. When I return home to Seattle, my flight leaves at 10:45 pm. With such a late departure, Awoke and his family have welcomed me both times to their home in Addis to eat and spend time together before going to the airport.

This last trip, I also had the opportunity to walk around the garden that Awoke is planting and nurturing in the courtyard of his condo complex. For the past few years, Awoke has single-handedly converted an empty courtyard into a welcoming, community space that everyone in the housing complex can share and enjoy. He has even installed a large clothesline where families can hang their laundry to dry. And he has done this for the greater benefit of his community and his neighbors, not for his exclusive use and enjoyment. It was very moving to see and listen to him talk about his lovely garden; a potent reminder of how a simple act of kindness and generosity, can uplift an entire community. Pictures of Awoke’s community garden are included in the following slide show from my trip.

I will be visiting Dangla again in October, this time with my daughter and a board member of Project Ethiopia. We look forward to reporting back to all of you what we learn and experience.

Click image below to view larger slideshow

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