Sunday, July 8, 2012

Project Prepare in Ethiopia!

It’s hard to believe that we are finishing up our first week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! After a quick recovery from jetlag, we have been able to explore the city, travel to Mt. Entoto, the highest part of Addis at 3,000 meters above sea level, and the former palace of King Menelik and Queen Taitu, and see the Merkato – the largest outdoor market in Africa! We have even managed to pick up some Amharic and are working on our negotiating and bargaining skills. The people in Addis have been incredibly hospitable and kind, and we are enjoying learning all about their culture and history. It is also rainy season here, and Shelby joined us just in time to get caught in one of our heaviest rains yet – it’s a good thing it is only two birr for a shoe shine!

On Thursday, we had a very successful first meeting with our Project Prepare pilot team. Staff members and youth ally’s from all three pilot organizations – AHOPE, Children’s Heaven, and Worldwide Orphans Foundation, as well as members of other orphanages and organizations interested in implementing Project Prepare came together to learn about the next steps of this exciting program. Everyone agreed that such a Transitions Initiative was necessary for the adolescents in their programs who are soon to be aging out of care, and were eager to be a part of this innovative curriculum. We also received very positive feedback about a coordinated service referral network for adolescent youth aging out of care, and perhaps even a drop-in center for youth that have already aged out of care. We are thrilled to have the participation of these three wonderful pilot organizations, and are looking forward to all working together to create an effective, long-lasting, and successful Project Prepare!

AHOPE was generous enough to host this meeting, and afterwards, we all enjoyed a wonderful home cooked traditional Ethiopian meal. I think it was the best meal we’ve had yet! We were also given a tour of one of AHOPE’s facilities, met some of their youngest children, and even saw their tae-kwan-do class.

After such an exciting and eventful first week, we are looking forward to meeting all of the youth participants and beginning Project Prepare, and expanding IOFA’s work and impact!

Amharic Word of the Week: Ameseginalehu (ame-segi-na-lew) – Thank you

View of Addis Ababa from Mt. Entoto

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