A new Ethiopian adventure begins…..

November 14th 

So, after much anticipation and planning, my friends, Caroline Field (photographer) and Tutu Melaku (owner of Tutu’s Ethiopian Table in Reading) and I have embarked on another Ethiopian adventure. We arrived here at 6am this morning,  feeling sleep-deprived but happy. It was quite a logistical feat  bringing all our luggage across to Ethiopia on the plane as we had lots of gifts, letters and pencils from the children at Holy Trinity School, more than 70 t-shirts and a very heavy wheelchair and some crutches, but we made it with thanks to our friends at Ethiopian Airlines. Hoorah!

I am writing this to you from an internet cafe in the country’s dusty, vibrant capital, Addis Ababa. It is a haven of tranquility here, but outside there is lots of hustle and bustle and the crowds have gathered for a goat market. I had planned to promote our trip on Facebook and Twitter, but it has been banned because of the State of Emergency. The internet also keeps crashing, so this might be quite a short blog entry!

We have come on a special mission – to run the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa on Sunday (a lifelong dream!) and to raise awareness and funds for an amazing charity called PFC Ethiopia: http://www.pfcethiopia.org. Here is our fundraising page:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=tutusforchange

With 40,000 participants, the Great Ethiopian Run is the biggest road race in Africa. Just to add to the adventure – Addis Ababa is also 2500m above sea level and the third highest capital in the world, so it will be the highest ever 10km we have run! Who knows, if we are lucky, we might get to catch up with Haile Gebrselassie….

Today we have been to Debre Zeit to see the school well which Tutu Melaku has funded – the locals have dug a 30 metre hole and they think that they will need to keep digging for another 3-4 metres before they find water. This will save a lot of time and effort and mean that the school children won’t have to carry water such a long way. A fantastic project.

We have also visited the pioneering PFC Ethiopia training centre in Debre Zeit. The revenue generated from courses and projects there helps support people in disadvantaged children and families across Ethiopia. Mulugeta Gebru, who is Executive Director of JeCCDo, PFC Ethiopia’s sister organisation, explained to us that one of the charity’s main goals is to empower local communities and bring about sustainable development. If you are travelling to Ethiopia and would like to stay at the Debre Zeit centre, do get in touch with JeCCDo: jeccdo@gmail.com.

I am going to have to finish here. It has taken me 3 hours to write this because the internet keeps crashing and it is getting late. Good night…..

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