Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I have a number of different follow-up projects going on right now.  And by "going on" I mostly mean swirling around in my head.

Sponsorships for Eloloam.  Kim and Wendy and I are hoping to move forward and it is  But answers we need and so...  we wait.

Adoption support.  I am looking into the legalities of creating a fundraising portal.  I like portals.

Also, I am rolling around efficiency and highest ROI and application of mental calories and resources and what it comes down to is that the scope of the issues is sometimes paralyzing.  But then I know.  One at a time.  My projects will to impact one at a time.

But how do I support the muscle?  Water.  Education.  Hunger.  Sex Trafficking.  Disease.  Abuse.  Shelter.  All of these underlie the orphan crisis.

Small is imperative.  But big is crucial, too.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

1st World Strep


Interesting observation (for me anyway).  Lucy (6) is home from school today with strep.  She complained of a sore throat yesterday morning and by the afternoon she had a high fever, a headache,  and was vomiting.  This is what strep looks like for 2 of my 3 kids.  I called the pediatrician at about 4:50 pm yesterday.  At 9:45 am she was sitting in the waiting room.

We had to sit around for about 15 minutes before we were able to be seen.  It was a hassle seeing as she was very uncomfortable and the chairs in the waiting room weren't conducive to snuggling.  Poor us.

We left the office at 10:30 and by 11:30 Lucy had gotten her 1st of 20 doses of amoxicillin.  By this time tomorrow she will be virtually symptom free.  In the mean time she is laying on the couch with a warm blanket,  sucking on a ring pop, watching her favorite tv show,  with her mom rubbing her feet/legs.

Near as I can tell,  people all over the world get strep throat.  If it goes untreated there can be serious complications. says:

What are the potential complications of untreated strep throat infection?

Possible complications of untreated or partially treated strep throat infection are:
  • rheumatic fever
  • glomerulonephritis
  • otitis media
  • meningitis
  • pneumonia
  • toxic shock syndrome (a rare but severe complication of strep pharyngitis, causing severe widespread infection and organ failure); and/or
  • abscess formation around the tonsils and behind the throat (peri-tonsillar abscess and retro-pharyngeal abscess).
Formation of an abscess behind the throat (retro-pharyngeal abscess) due to untreated or under-treated strep throat infection can lead to severe illness causing pain in throat and neck, difficulty swallowing, and potential respiratory compromise. These abscesses may need to be drained by an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist urgently, and hospitalization may be required.
This is not a call to arms about treating strep throat in developing countries.  On the list of "needs,"  it isn't in the top ten.  However,  it is another illustration of how big this world is,  and how all of our grumbling about common childhood illnesses is silly.
My house isn't going to get cleaned today.  Dinner will involve a shortcut.  I'll get a little frustrated by feeling like I should be doing something else.  But today I'll sit and comfort and tend to my girl.  
And tomorrow she will be fine.  How convenient is that?  I am so thankful!
I love healthcare.

I still wonder about this tyke...  and I wonder if her needs would have been met/treated quickly if she'd been born elsewhere.

Monday, November 01, 2010


Being home seems like a very long series of adjustments.

Sometimes,  like now,  I just miss it so much.

I miss the camaraderie of our group.
I miss the excitement and anticipation of the morning.  Wondering what we would see and who we might meet.
I miss the laughter.
I miss crying.  I cry here but it carries a different weight.

I miss the strength of the hugs.  The unimaginable force of each hug.
I miss the spectacular smiles.  I miss the privilege of witnessing that joy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Endless Smiles

I am still editing photos from the trip.  Photo after photo of these beautiful smiling faces.  My breath catches when I try to imagine the lives these kids lead.  The wanting.  My kids want toys and trips,  so blessed are we.

These kids, I imagine, want warm arms around them, and protection from the bad things that sometimes happen to children. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Week Past

People say I should be writing.

I'm trying to figure out what it is that I see now,  and how it's different from what I saw then.

I am not writing here.  But I am thinking.  I'm developing.  I'm planning.  I'm hoping.  I am remembering and I am forgetting.

Some of it makes sense and some doesn't.

That's ok, because I know plenty of people who struggle to answer the question, "What's next?"

Monday, October 11, 2010

a few notes

I haven't written too much about the trip.  One reason is that we have been bizz-ay.  The other reason is because it's all a mess of emotional goo in my brain.  Another reason is because I brought 2 donation computers and am grateful for the times I get to mooch off of my roommate, Kim.

And then there is the big reason.  I don't know what to say.  For the purpose of general information here are some things I have noted:

-Driving is crazy.  Wherever, whenever, the bigger car wins.  There is more horn honking than in any city I've been in.  There are no emmission standards so this is where cars seem to come to die.

-There are goats and donkeys and cows and bulls everywhere-  city country, it makes no matter.  They tie up one leg of the donkey so that it can't wander far.  We saw a small pack of donkeys carrying so many cinderblocks it hurt to watch.

- Eye contact matters.  Asking adults to take photos matters.  and when you show them,  and look at them and tell them they are beautiful...  they know it's true.

-Coming here from the doesn't make someone amazing. Adventurous maybe... not amazing.

-Coming here for 10 days is not enough.  Not to make all of the stops and visits and do the work we want to do.  Its rushed.  I wasn to emerse myself here and learn more of the stories.  But I want to be everywhere and learn everything and that's not possible.

-I like meeting good people and I like laughing and I like smiling at strangers.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Notes From Ethiopia

I had an entry written and ready to go last night. It described the journey and a bit about our time in London and a bit about a fairly irritating baggage issue. I am not going to recount more than that because, frankly…it doesn’t matter. It didn’t get posted today because I learned that my friend Dereje was leaving for university early and I gave him the computer without bothering to clear off the post.

For that matter it doesn’t mean much that the 3 story guest house that we are staying in is perfect for our needs. The beds are comfy, the place is clean and the young women who help us with everything we need are kind and accommodating. Though I am certain that they think we are odd. Think? Know, thankyouverymuch.

I can’t even go into what does matter in great detail right now. It’s a bit after 1 am on…Sunday morning I suppose. I am sitting in an empty guest room because my roommate is sleeping, as I should be.

I will, for now, tell you that I looked (stared even) into the eyes of countless people today. Babies, men, women… and saw deeper than I ever have before. If I suspected that I new what compassion was before these couple of days, I was mistaken. If I thought that love at first sight was a myth, I was mistaken. Oh these children….these boys and these girls. These babies, these women and these men. The people I have met are so very- so very easy to love.

And I held a sobbing (10 year old?) girl today, saying goodbye and I thought I might break. And she held me, squeezing so tightly around my waist and in a broken voice said, “I love you. I love you and I will pray for you..”

And I knew, in fact,  that I would never be the same person again.

Monday, October 04, 2010


It's the eve of the eve of our departure.  The past few days have brought me from worry to panic to sadness to anger to... here.

I sat in church yesterday and tears washed my face.  I can't tell you why-  not because its a secret,  but because it was everything and nothing at once.

4 bags of hope are packed to the gills.  Hope that the contents will be received by people who need them.  Hope that I've brought the right things and left the right things.  Hope that the connections will matter more than the things.  Hope that I will come home with a clearer mission/goal/understanding.  Hope.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One week out

This time next week I will be en-route to Logan Airport.  I've got my passport and my shots.  I've taken my typhoid medicine and picked up my Cipro and my malaria prescriptions from the pharmacy.  I've got 2 bags of donations packed and 2 more ready to pack. 

I haven't thought too much about what I am bringing for myself-  clothes or personal stuff.  But I'm ok with that.  I can be fine with the bare minimum.

There is a woman who has been very generous and helpful in preparing for this trip, and she's asked me to bring a laptop for her.  I feel it's the least I can do.  With great thanks to a stranger (who would like to be anonymous),  I have a laptop for Dereje.  And I have my own laptop which I would like to bring so that I can dump photos and blog occasionally.  How will I bring 3 laptops with me?

And then,  of course,  there is the difference between ready and "ready."

Monday, September 20, 2010


There is a young man at Kolfe orphanage (our 1st stop on our trip),  well,  in fact there are 150 young men there,  but this post is about 1 of them.

Here is what I know about Dereje:

I know he uses crutches, but I don't know why.  I know he is respected and considered a leader among the boys.  I know he aspires to become a doctor.  He dreams of becoming a doctor.

He's made connections with a doctor from Texas who is establishing a fund for his schooling.

And,  I know he wants a computer.

If you have a used laptop (in good working order) that you would be willing to donate,  would you please let me know?

I know Dereje will appreciate it!  As will I.


I can't believe I get to be a part of this.

A Month From Now

I can't believe I get to know these people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


One thing I have learned is that there are people who want to know about this trip,  and there are people who simply do not.  It's like food.  You either like rhubarb, or you don't.  I am pretty good, I think, about determining within the 1st few moments in a conversation, which camp the other person falls into.

Camp Tellmeallaboutit is a really fun place for me to visit.  As my last post proves, I have a lot to process...  and that's all pre-trip processing.  I'll be a stinky mess when I come home,  I am sure.  But for now talking this stuff out is fun and helpful and energizing.

I'm wondering a bit about how the folks arrived at Camp Surewhateverwhatsforlunch.  And I do mean wondering.  I like talking about this stuff and I tend to get a little obsessive about my passions,  but I don't think I broadcast the "All Megin all of the time" channel.  I like thinking about and talking about traveling and getting to meet new people and bare witness to an alternate reality and I want to know what a trip to Africa makes you wonder about.

Oh and by the way...  Diane's still making necklaces and you forgot about buying one for your friend's kid.  Great gift.  Everyone who has ordered one loves it!  Quick,  email me before you forget again!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Articulation Attempt

Let me begin by saying this:  I just finished writing this....  long, rambling, tangenty, unclear, verbose mass.  I am torn between deleting it and sharing it.  I decided to share it because it shows just how hard it is for me to talk about the "whys" in a way that makes any sense at all.  I am hoping that by writing this I am getting a bit closer to figuring out how to talk about it.

On Tuesday morning I sat in Tim Horton's with a reporter from our small weekly paper.  It was less and interview and more a conversation.  We started talking and hopped from topic to tangent to story for about an hour and a half.

Throughout our conversation I kept hearing myself talk about "possibility."  In this space I have mostly made pleas for money and shared fundraising progress.  I have not talked too much about the whys and the emotional component of preparing for this trip.  I haven't talked about possibility.  I want to...  but I haven't because it's not easy.

I am not going to Africa to eliminate poverty, solve the orphan epidemic, or end world hunger.  There you go.  It's not so hard to talk about the "nots."

People toss about the word "community" easily.  I do it.  Community used to mean the people you knew in your town.  It still means that,  but not only that.  You're here, reading this, you likely know what I mean.  There is my "real life" community of family and friends and neighbors,  the school communities, the church communities, but now there are also the twitter communities, the facebook communities, the flickr communities, the communities on Yahoo, on and on and on.  If not all then at least most communities have a "return on investment."  If you are never there,  never commenting and sharing and helping and asking then there is no return.  You aren't actually a part of the community.  It's like the facebook that my nephew set up for my mom.

___ ___ ___ ___

Some of the t-shirts Erin and Wendy are selling have a graphic of the world.  Its a hazy kind of watercolory world.  It's different from a map which outlines all of the boundaries and differences.  The continents are different shapes,  sure.  But there are more similarities than differences.  It just looks like the earth.

Cue music:  We are the world.... we are the children...

___ ___ ___ ___

But why...  why am I doing this?  I could send money.  I could sent the money I have raised and the money I have spent on travel and accommodations and make a significant impact in an Ethiopian orphanage.

I could donate to one of the many honorable and worthy causes here in Maine.

Those possibilities for impact exist.

But here's the thing.  I am going to Africa for me.  I'm selfish like that.

___ ___ ___ ___

I should delete this post and start over.  Writing about this is hard.

___ ___ ___ ___

I have read the accounts of other folks who take humanitarian trips.  I cry when I read the posts Erin and Wendy wrote about their 1st trip to Ethiopia.  I cry when I read about Korah.  I am a blubbery baby.  I cry easily-  especially about the hard stuff.

What does this have to do with possibility?  with community?

I will never know what it's like to live in Ethiopia.  I don't know anyone who has grown up in an impoverished country.  I've never known anyone who went without clean water.  I've never gotten dinner at the city dump.  I've never NOT had access to medical care...  not even for one single minute.  I have never made choices about which child to feed.

It's possible when I meet people who do I will appreciate our similarities. 

Therein lies all of the possibility. 

The possibility of making my community bigger and smaller at the same time.  Of being a member of The Community instead of all of the communities.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Final Push!

I am making one more fund raising push in an effort to raise an additional $2,000 in the next 30 days.  It is an aggressive goal,  but it can be done!  This trip to Ethiopia is a very unique opportunity and I want to make the most of it.  For me, this means bringing as many supplies as possible.  It also means bringing funds to purchase items needed by the orphanages and communities we will be staying in. 

Lots of you have already donated to our Ethiopia trip.  THANK YOU.  It might seem like I have been asking often.  I have.  But there are non financial ways to help, too.  Perhaps others will be interested in buying prints, necklaces, or pouches as birthday or holiday gifts!  This helps us to meet our fundraising goals AND increases the number of pretty things in the world.  Win-win.

Here is what your donations can do:
  • $250 a year supports one child for 3 hot meals a week, vitamins, and an education
  • $300 pays for one teacher for one year ($30 per month)
  • $25 buys 2 hens and one rooster- picked up and delivered to a families
  • .24 cents feeds one child a hot meal
  • $10 will buy several pairs of shoes for the shoeless
  • $100 transports 50 lbs of supplies
Here is how you can help:
I am so thankful for your support.  Thank you so very much.

Megin Hatch

30 days and Prints for Sale!

I leave in 30 days!

I am selling prints to continue fundraising for Ethiopia.  Right now I am raising money specifically to pay for transporting the supplies that I have, and buying supplies and food when we are in Ethiopia.  

Available prints:

These are for raw prints-  unframed and unmatted.  The borders around these examples are just to simulate framing.  If you would like a custom order please email me at  I would be happy to send you a quote for a larger print and/or matted or framed photograph.

All proceeds go directly to helping orphans.

How to order: 

Email me.  Please include the print you're ordering and the size.  I will reply with an invoice.  You can pay by Paypal or send me a check.  When payment is received, I will ship your order.

Shipping will be calculated on an individual basis.  Orders will be shipped via the USPS.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fundraising Update


In the last week we (my family, some insane friends, and I) have pulled off 2 fund raising parties.

I get a little emotional when I think of the outpouring of support I've received. The estimated total raised during the 2 parties is... (are you ready?)....$1.991.00

One thousand nine hundred and ninety one dollars.

True Story.

I am so thankful to everyone who helped to accomplish this feat. My neighbors opened up their home for the silent auction and Fair Trade party, Karen Burnell of Karma Fair Trade is donating 25% of her sales from the 2 parties to the trip, and my friends Emily and arc who graciously hosted a 2nd Fair Trade party in their home. And so many others who helped by donating their time and talent in helping to make these events successful.

Thank YOU.

This, combined with some earlier donations, means that I am half way to meeting my fundraising goals.

Moving forward, I am thankful and am confidently hopeful that the continued efforts of Diane Brogan of Brogan Arts and Lisa Bruce of Sunshine Walks will help boost that number and help me reach my goal. Diane and Lisa are each donating their time, materials, and talent to make necklaces and pouches in support of our trip. These women are awesome!

Some friends are putting together another fundraiser at Brian Boru in Portland. It will be the complete Elvis experience and is bound to be a hoot! Mark your calendar for September 11th, 2010!

Also... I am considering rolling with the recent photo print sales that began with the 2 parties this past week. Stay tuned for more information!

Will she raise another $2,000...? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pouches for Ethiopia

I haven't told you about the fundraiser the kind and talented Lisa is doing for our trip!

She and Emily conspired to create these pouches made with gorgeous Africa inspired fabric.

These would be great for purse organization-  receipts/repair supplies/money/gift cards/medicine etc.

I love them!  Don't you?

Click HERE to visit Lisa's Etsy shop.

Thanks Lisa, and thanks to you for checking it out!

Monday, August 02, 2010


There are 2 parties coming right up!

On Thursday my neighbor is hosting a Silent Auction/ Night of Africa party.  I have gotten some incredibly generous donations for the auction.  Things ranging from hand crafted jewelry to a half cord of wood to life coaching sessions to a Starbucks basket to Bob Marley (the comedian,  not the dead musician...) tickets.

And people are helping!  Giving their time and their talents.

I am astounded at the generosity showering down.

Next Tuesday, August 10 my good friends are hosting a Fair Trade party up in Waterville.  It's going to be cool... really cool.

Wanna come?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


If your kids play soccer,  how about donating their team jerseys?  How about collecting a teams worth?  Lots of the kids we will be meeting love soccer.  They often play with rolled up balls of trash.  I'd like to bring them soccer balls and team jerseys.  

Would you like to help?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Donation Suggestions:

When we ask what we should bring the response is most often:  everything.

That's pretty broad.  I am compiling a list of suggested donations, but really,  anything goes!

Motrin kids and adults
vitamins kids and adults
bandages (all sizes, the bigger the better) 
first aid tape
gauze bandages (large, with medical tape)  
lice shampoo
Anti- fungal creams (Tinactin works on ringworm)
educational materials to address hygiene and disease prevention (graphics are best due to language barrier)
colored pencils
soccer balls
deflatable playground balls
bouncy balls
card games
hair do-dads
origami paper
sports bras
feminine hygiene items

(Hey team:  please add to the list!)

Now listen:  Erin and Wendy are selling awesome t-shirts-  go buy one.  I can tell you the quality is awesome!  For every t sold a t will be brought to an orphan.  


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Name Jewelry

I am so super excited that Diane Brogran is donating her time and talent to my fundraising efforts.  Diane gave Lucy a sweet name necklace for her 6th birthday.  She LOVES it!

Look how adorable:

She also makes earrings!

If you would like to order, email me at meginhatch at gmail dot com. $10 if I can deliver it by hand, $13 to have it shipped directly to you.  I need to know:  the exact spelling of the name,  the wire color, and the cord color.

Wire Color: Pink Purple Blue Teal Green Black Silver 
Cord Color: Pink Purple Blue Teal Green Black

Take it from me these make a fantastic gift! Diane also made me silver earrings and they are unique and really pretty. EVERYONE misspells my name, so having a personalized gift that is inexpensive and pretty? ROCKS!

Diane makes lovely jewelry, and you should absolutely check out her stuff at:

Thank you so much for your support, Diane!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm back from vacation.  I was mostly awash in relaxing camaraderie and thankful contentment.  Damn, I am so lucky to have the privilege of spending time with people who are kind and generous and welcoming and interested and interesting and smart and so unbearably funny.  Seriously.

Now it's time to get moving in the fundraisers. 

I got a voicemail while I was gone and Mexicali Blues is donating a gift card for the silent auction.  I am waiting to hear back a few other local places. 

My friend Kat is going to make a origami crane mobile for the auction.

I am actively seeking donations for the auction.  If you have donations of time, service, product, food etc.  I would be so happy to talk with you about it!

I am trying to select a few of my photos to auction, too.

In addition to the Night of Africa party (fun night out with other women from the trip and silent auction), I am also going to be throwing a Fair Trade party...  well, I'm not,  but my friend Emily is... :-)

Thanks for your interest in and your support of our trip! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The day I decided I was going to go to Ethiopia I was having a Facebook chat with a friend.  I told her,  and her response was "YOU can be our fund-raiser!!"  I figured I had enough funds to raise,  but then she explained that she and her husband were throwing themselves a birthday party and wanted to raise money for a cause in lieu of gifts.

So,  I am officially a charity case.

Yesterday, I walked into the home of a fb friend to take some photos.  He had asked if we could barter my photography for his products (he makes soap and lotion).  The very 1st thing I saw was a scent called "African Rain."  A moment later he had agreed to donate some products to sell at upcoming fund-raisers.

Yesterday afternoon,  I was chatting with a friend on our porch who had been thinking about ways to fund-raise.  She's a Mary-Kay lady who doesn't really sell any products.  She offered to sell Mary-Kay as a fundraiser with all of the proceeds going towards the trip.

These are some creative ideas!  What would YOU do to raise money?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Can I Help?

A few people have asked how they can support the trip to Ethiopia. Thank You!

If you weren't wondering and didn't even know I was going...

I will be part of a small group of people traveling to Ethiopia in October of 2010. We will be there for 6 days, during which time we will be visiting a few different orphanages and working to build a library/resource center for the Dahley community. We will also be delivering as many medical supplies as we can transport (thanks to the kindness and good work of Partners for World Health here in Portland, Maine).

Some things you might've heard me say before:

-Ethiopia is one of the 5 poorest countries in our world.

-4.8 MILLION children in Ethiopia are orphans. This is 3.7 times the population of the state of Maine. Read that again. 3.7 times the population of Maine.

-There is 1 doctor for every 100,000 people (In the United States there is 1 doctor for every 390 people.)

-1 in 10 children die before they turn 5. Half of these children die from diarrhea.

And this is directly from Wendy and Erin's blog:

Just 1 in 3 people have access to clean water. Most women in rural Ethiopia spend hours a day collecting water from distant and polluted sources. Many girls never get an opportunity to go to school because the responsibility of collecting enough water to keep their families alive takes precedence.
I honestly appreciate your interest in helping. There are a few different ways to do that:

1. Make a tax deductible donation through Elim. Donations made here will directly support the Dahley community! The bonus is that Erin's company will match dollar for dollar up to $4,000. Elim does NOT take an administrative fee! Go here:

2. Make a donation (literally, every penny will help) through my paypal account. My goal is to raise $4000 to help defer the cost of the trip and the shipment of supplies, to provide financial assistance to the library project, as well as purchase livestock and health and safety materials for the orphanages. See my fancy DONATE button below!

3. Buy stuff. Erin and Wendy are the women behind the trip and behind www.lobstersintherough.wor They are committed to improving the lives of orphans. Read their blog- subscribe to it. Buy their cool t-shirts and notecards and jewelry. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the orphans and the library.

4. Please help to spread the word. Ask 5 people to donate $5 each. Post this on facebook or tweet about it! Our team is @EthiopiAteam.

5. Be the change. Local friends, please consider emptying your change jars or donating your Clynk cards. I am happy to drive around retrieving donations. The pennies that pile up on all of our dressers really will add up. (Get it, "Be the change," clever right?)

6. Consider hosting an Africa Party. If you are interested please let me know! Lots of opportunities for a girl's night... or co-ed night or a family night. Any excuse to par-tay!

7. If you're an artist or crafter would you consider a project to help raise money? Lets talk!

8. Donate "stuff." We ARE helping to build a library, but books are extremely difficult to transport. Some things we are collecting are: blankets, fleece jackets, shoes (think light weight and avoid the Doc Martins), boxes of crayons and colored pencils, notebooks and coloring books, small toys like bouncy balls, soccer balls, beach balls, and lollipops. You get the idea. They need everything, and if we bring things that are easy to transport we can bring more of it. The toys and fun things for the kids are the "frosting."

Other opportunities will be coming as they develop... but in the mean time... THANK YOU!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Initiating Fund Raising

So today I worked on communicating with people around fund raising.
  • I sent a letter to a sports store (with a soccer focus) and requested soccer balls.
  • I drafted a letter offering opportunities for people who are interested to support our trip.
  • I communicated with the schools about donations (a few of the teachers are very excited!).
  • I researched fund raising "parties."
  • I got my code so people could donate through Paypal: 

Sunday, June 13, 2010


4 friends sat around our table after dinner-  or was it before?  In the last year we've sat in these seats (sometimes our seats, sometimes theirs) often.  Sharing, listening, learning and leaning on one another.  Oh,  and laughing.  A lot.

(I was just trying to remember some hokey quote about friendship,  and I used the Google machine to help me.  It spit this out:

Which is not at all the quote I was going for,  but hey!)

In any case, we started talking about the trip-  my trip to Ethiopia.  I talked about the leper colony and my fears-  some of which I wrote about last night.  I (not surprisingly) got blubbery as I tried to describe the scene I read about as I was researching Korah.  I can't find the exact article now,  but it went something like this:

When the leper colony was established it was far away from the town.  It was built near the dump.  No one wants to live near lepers or trash.  75 years later, Korah is home to about 80,000 of the 3-4 million people who live in the country's capitol, Addis.

I described to Rob and to our friends how I'd read that it became common for the folks in the colony to go to the dump for their necessities.  I described the story I read and the pictures I saw.  Large groups of people chasing the garbage trucks into the dump,  anxious to be among the first to filter through the waste to find other people's discarded, rotten, diseased food with which to feed their families.

Blubbering, I tell you.

And then my friends described their experience of visiting the lepers in India.  And I can not do this story justice and I am hoping that they will be blogging it soon and I'll share.  It's a story of being the first westerners to sit beside these people.  The first to hold their babies and beat their drums and be-  not just in their presence-  but *with them*.  It was the Gift that they did not know that they were giving.

And I blubbered some more.  And I sit now,  reflecting in wonderment,  at the people I get to know.

My t-shirt is right, Life is Good.


When I heard we were spending a day in a leper colony things froze.

What's that now?

You can't be near leprosy! I am bagging this deal,  these people are nuts.  Wait,  leprosy still exists?  Wait,  what IS leprosy?  Isn't leprosy uber contagious?  Do people get leprosy in the US?

And here's what really mattered.  I know-  or I should say I can imagine being in orphanages.  Playing with the kids and meeting the caregivers and offering love and compassion and affection.


Korah,  the leper colony, is the darkest most hidden corner of poverty. Abject poverty.  What will I do here?  Will I feel safe?  Will I have courage to reach out?

I spoke with a nurse the other day,  who just returned from Ethiopia.  I'm reading.  I'm trying to open my heart, here.

Things aren't frozen now.  I AM going.  I do think these people-  the A team- are completely nuts,  but that's more from the conversations we've had than the Korah visit.  That... is a joke.  Kinda.

There is information about Korah here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

But Why?

I'm not going to Ethiopia to change the world.  I am under no delusion that I will be fixing anything.

I am going because when I read the truths about Ethiopia they were unfathomable to me.   
I'm going because I want an adventure.
I'm going because I do not know poverty.
Because my family's needs are met  yet I grumble about not having enough.
I'm going because one basic need that people have is affection.
I'm going because I live in a fairytale world.
Because my troubles are inconsequential, yet the weight I give them makes them matter.
I'm going because except for the Caribbean I have never been outside the United States.
I'm going because I see the same things every day.
Because I want my children to know that acceptance matters.
I'm going because I want them to know that trying to help matters.

I am going because 4.8 million kids live in orphanages.  4.8.  Million.  That is one million MORE than the entire population of LosAngeles.

I am going because I believe that one of those children will someday be part of my family.

Those are some of the reasons that I am going.