Changing the View of EthiopiaKelly Wickham
I have something to say about Ethiopia. In fact, I have a lot to say now that I’ve returned home. Too many things in my life have gone to the wayside because of it, but I was glad to make the space in my life to accept this gift. Three of my fellow Babble Voices bloggers were along on the trip as well and you can read about Asha’s account by visiting her blog. I have had some recurring conversations with people, some friends and some strangers with whom I encountered on my travels to and from Africa, that have made me wonder about the branding of Ethiopia. Now, be honest: What do you think of when you hear the name “Ethiopia”?
The most common answers I get from people are these three: hunger, the famine of 1984, and disease (AIDS). It’s the trifecta of words that also remind me how many jokes people told during the late 80s about Ethiopia and her people. I am grateful that I’m unable to remember jokes long enough to retell them, but for some reason a few of them about Ethiopia come to mind.
Upon my return to the United States, I am struck by my own ignorance of Ethiopia prior to my visit and how much that country is nothing like I expected. Instead of the trio of things that normally came to mind, I now think of it as women-centered, holistic health care, and hospitality.
On our visits we went to Hamlin Fistula Hospital and the Sene Mariam Women’s Beekeeping Group as well as the Madera Woreda Health Office. We met with health extension workers who try to encourage new mothers to vaccinate their babies and saw the progress made there. Ethiopia has cut their infant mortality rate by 39%. THIRTY-NINE PERCENT. Staying in that range, I also learned that 30% of all deaths of women are in the pregnancy ages of 15-49 due to preventable pregnancy-related deaths. It made the realization of having just One Mom make a difference in that I had the distinct pleasure of being able to come back to the U.S. and make this information known. Sometimes when we look at the problems of the world they seem so big that we can’t do anything. But going to Ethiopia changed how I view that. This One Mom, me, is able to say, “Look. Here is a problem we can FIX.” I got to see firsthand what our foreign aid was doing and how that was working in Ethiopia.
Won’t you lend your voice to this as well?
Between October 6-13, 2012, the ONEMoms posted daily dispatches from Ethiopia and, upon our return, have continued to lend our voices to the causes that ONE.org helps. Visit theONEMoms website to read posts from all the bloggers, follow the #ONEMoms hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, and like the ONEMoms Facebook page.
By joining ONE, you add your voice to millions who want to make a difference in the fight against poverty. ONE will never ask for donations and will keep your contact details confidential. The only thing they ask for is your voice.
Read more from Kelly at her personal blog, Mocha Momma, about her trip to Ethiopia with ONE Moms.
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