I helped Agazh author a project proposal outlining its current progress, and its plans for the next three years. We followed the proposal structure required by HelpAge International, with the hope it may soon help fund Agazh. The project proposal will have to be adjusted and restructured for submission to different agencies and organizations, based on their requirements, to compete for funding.
We also prepared and signed an agreement with the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Authority to solidify plans for working together in Woreda 11 in the coming three years. And we returned to Eneredada Elder Peoples’ Association to schedule and plan for joint skilled jobs training for both organizations’ able-bodied elderly.
Below are photos of the elderly women who are going to participate in the first training on cotton spinning and merchant strategies. They were selected based on their physical capacities to work, training preferences, and skill backgrounds. They will be given raw materials and a joint working space in Eneredada's office to begin a collaborative income generating business. In descending order from left to right, these women are: ወ/ሮ አሰገደች ባንጃው (w/o Asegedech Banjawe), ወ/ሮ ሀርገወይን መለሰ (w/o Haregowain Meleseh), and ወ/ሮ አበዙ መንግሰቱ (w/o Abezu Mengistu) from Agazh & Woreda 11, and ወ/ሮ እሸቴ ዳዳ (w/o Ehshetay Dada) from Eneredada & Woreda 4.
Unfortunately, the trainings are going to begin just after I return to the U.S. But I expect they will be successful, as Eneredada has experienced trainers, and has been active in Woreda 4 & 5 for the last 14 years. And in the last 4 years, it has helped its elderly launch new income-generating projects every year.
Preparing to Leave Addis Ababa
Overall, being in Addis the last 6 months has taught me to be more patient and conscious of the many things that are out of my control when making plans. For examples, I’ve adjusted to regular power outages, slow internet connections, long lunch hours where all businesses and government offices are closed, and delays caused by bureaucracy and language barriers. And I’ve also discovered many things I cherish that I didn’t even realize I was missing. For examples, in Addis Ababa I am the only person who mispronounces my name, and everyone around me also eats injera, wot, and berbere, and so on cooking days everyone else's clothing also smell of the spices.
In my last month here, I celebrated my birthday. March 3, 2013 or (Yekatit) የካቲት 24, 2005 (Ethiopian Calendar) was my 24th birthday. My birthday has always been one of my favorite holidays of the year and after looking through old photos of my second, third, and fourth birthdays, celebrated here in Addis, and seeing all the birthday festivities, I see why: my family has always done an amazing job at making me feel especially loved on my birthday.
This year, before I even got out of my pajamas, my cousins and their children came over for the ceremonial cake cutting, photo taking, and over-eating. It was really special to spend my “golden” (by the Ethiopian Calendar) birthday with my extended family, with whom I normally don’t spend any holidays.