Games at Kirkos

At the Kirkos center we had two days of fun! The first day we did North American dancing and  Ethiopian dancing – the second day we had a carnival which included an UNO tournament, face painting ( although some wanted it on their arms), a craft table, a puzzle table… The kids LOVED this! 2015.03.kirkos1 2015.03.kirkos5 2015.03.kirkos4 2015.03.kirkos2 2015.03.kirkos3 -Deborah Northcott, Expedition Team Leader

A Kitchen for Kality

At the Kality project- the guys built a structure to give shade to the children, replaced many of the taps on the water center, and helped construct a smokeless oven in their new outdoor kitchen! Lots of fun! 2015.03.kitchen1 2015.03.kitchen2 This now captures the smoke and takes it out a chimney so the women can cook the hot meals for the children without being faced with a smoke filled room. AWESOME job! 2015.03.kitchen4 -Deborah Northcott, Expedition Team Leader

Puppets in the Theatre!

One of our expedition volunteers traveled on this trip with her daughter.  Together, they led a program at each center that the kids loved! Each center got a puppet theatre, and puppets to make up stories with. 2015.03.puppets1 2015.03.puppets2 They each built their own out of socks as well This was a LOT of fun too! 2015.03.puppets3 -Deborah Northcott, Expedition Team Leader

Construction Project in Addis: A New Roof

Close to the beginning of our trip, our group took on a real construction challenge- replacing a corrugated metal roof! The home was that of one of our students and his mother. The roof was no longer sheltering their little one room of 4Ft X 6 Ft Looked like this! 2015.03.firstroof1 We had two graduated wood working students from our SSCM Vocational Training Center along to help us with this task. The home was in the middle of a set of 4 one room homes… so they all shared a roof.  The crew began the slow process of tearing everything down BUT not disturbing the others. 2015.03.firstroof2 There was lots of dust in the air from soot and from the construction. 2015.03.firstroof3 Once the roof was off, the crew had to replace the rotten frame boards, so that the new roof has a solid foundation to be nailed to. The only thing that could hold them up were the walls… so this was a precarious position to cross over! 2015.03.firstroof4 Slowly the new metal roofing was put under the neighbours, and extended to cover our family’s home! 2015.03.firstroof5 This was the job all done – the look from the inside!  The open edge was very important, as they had their open fire cooking area within the room,.. so the smoke can ventilate out this edge. 2015.03.firstroof6 When we were finished, we all came together for a small farewell. We introduced the whole team from Canada, and the family had a chance to thank the group for their help. A really special moment! 2015.03.firstroof7   -Deborah Northcott, Expedition Team Leader

Guest Post – Shelly VanBinsbergen, Saskatoon

Over Their Heads

There are so many stories that are floating around my mind and heart upon returning from Ethiopia. I wish I could bring back something tangible to show you and have you feel and experience and smell and touch what we felt while we were there. Alas, luggage allowances aren’t what they used to be and  even if they were, they wouldn’t suffice so I’ll have to rely on words to bring you as much as they will for now.
 

I’ll start with a photo I shared on Instagram that seems to have touched a lot of people pretty deeply. It’s a young boy, named Teddy, who shyly gathered 7 adults together to thank them for putting a roof on his home.

Teddy lives with his mother, behind a corrugated fence that hides about 6 or 7 families living in small mud and stick constructed shanties. Stepping over the small ditch with sewage and water running freely, into the small compound, I immediately felt claustrophobic. It was a tight little space with piles of tires and bags and plastic on one side of the wall, allowing only about 2-3 feet to walk through to get to the back of the compound where Teddy lives. In the corner, last doorway on the left…a dark little 9×9 shanty where his mother and he share a bed, cook their meals on an open fire with no chimney, the smoke filling their home until it dissipates through the door or the holes in the roof. The mud walls are covered with blackened soot and the floor is covered in ash, though you can tell it’s been swept just recently.

Teddy and his mother live alone, and are only able to live here because their home is owned by a relative who has agreed to let them stay here. The roof is corrugated tin and it has falling into such disrepair that it actually allows the only light into the room that Teddy and his mother share. Sunlight streams through, illuminating the dust in the air, and while beautiful in a photo, imagine it in the rainy season when daily downpours rain virtually unhindered onto the heads of those trying to sleep or eat or cook below. We tear off the roof and there is an indescribable amount of dust, debris and rat droppings that we are inhaling as we go. There is no health and welfare department here to ensure the safety of children in their own homes. The roof comes off, the cross beams are dismantled, nearly dust themselves after years of heat and rain and smoke have had their way with them.
Sunlight through the holes in the roof
 
They’ve lived with this roof through too many rainy seasons
 
In the confined space, the guys tackle taking off the existing roof
Frank and Murray and Pete – and a shower of rat feces, dirt and debris that has accumulated over the years

The guys on our team, Frank, Murray, Pete, Keith and Henry work alongside two graduating students from the vocational program, to come up with a plan to support and rebuild the roof, despite the crumbling walls and cramped workspace. We were worried that the guys being on the support beams may in fact cause the walls of not only Teddy’s house to crumble, but also that of the other child headed household on the other side of the wall. We had to move cautiously and constantly reassess the situation. There are no building codes in these slums. Most of the time that the guys were working, I sat outside the pit latrine, on the only free real estate I could find, with my feet up on bricks, hovering above the stream of sewage flowing through the yard. As I sat, I tried to imagine dark nights and rainy days turning the dusty yard to mud. I tried to think of how a mother would keep her son safe and fed and dry when everything around them seemed unstable and unsafe, the very home they shared showering them and the mud walls crumbling into the already cramped space. I tried to think of how I would keep my wits about me if these were the circumstances I was handed, my life to be lived out in this cluttered alley shared by other families, no privacy even in the suffering. I watched Teddy’s mother as she watched the guys rebuild her roof. She was a solemn and serious woman and yet, her hands would touch Teddy’s back when he walked by, she would stand next to him and watch alongside him, her love for him evident in her mannerisms and body language, though her face remained stoic. Apparently there’s no room for emotions in this crowded alley. Maybe they’re a luxury that can’t be afforded to those trying to survive. I know as I watched her and Teddy, my eyes filled with tears several times but I hid them in an effort not to embarrass them or myself. 
Cross beams are cut from local hardwood poles
 
Keith and Frank spacing out the cross beams for adequate support
 
Hilo, a recent carpentry graduate is happy to be working and gaining experience. As a result of his work on this site,  we are able to write a credible reference for him to aid in his job search.
 
Frank learned quickly that you need to oil the nails to allow them to penetrate the hard wood poles.
 
 
Teddy pitched in to clear away some of the fallen roof from his home
 
With the room cleaned out and the roof off, it was still just a 9×9 mud shanty shared by Teddy and his mother.
 
Teddy’s mother looks on while demolition of the original roof takes place. 

In the end, the guys were able to secure the roof and also to make a place for the smoke from the cooking fire to be vented, without allowing water into the home. Teddy and his mother were incredibly grateful and she shared their gratitude with us after the construction was completed. 
A few days later, when we visited Teddy at the centre where he receives a daily meal and help with school work, he asked the program coordinator, Tillahan, to ask if he could speak to us. Standing there, with Tillahan as his translator, this small boy spoke with such eloquence and gratitude, he moved us all to tears. He told us that in the rainy season, he felt he could never sleep and that he cried each night as it rained. No one should have to live in the kind of conditions that Teddy and his mother live in. Even with the roof fixed, I asked myself if I would feel confident enough to sleep there with one of my boys and I know that I wouldn’t. Although Teddy and his mom have to live in difficult circumstances, I know that when the rains come in the next few months, they’ll know that they will think of a group of new friends who came halfway around the world to do what we could to provide them with a dry place to sleep and the knowledge that they are loved and missed and prayed for by us. 
Teddy and his mother outside their home.

Congratulations Rachel!

  We’re very excited to have Rachel chosen for the Top 30 Under 30 Magazine from the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. She has provided essential leadership, problem solving skills, creativity and initiative to ensure the success of Canadian Humanitarian and our programs in Africa. We’re glad she’s such an integral part of the team!
 

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Documentary Now Available to view Online


Recently a documentary was done about the work that Kids Hope Ethiopia and Canadian Humanitarian are doing in Africa. Originally released on Canadian Television, this documentary is now available to view online.

We hope you enjoy this documentary as much as we did!

Mobile device users please click here if the video screen does not show up below.



Canadian Humanitarian from Rick Castiglione on Vimeo.

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If you have any questions about the work we do, please contact:

Lyndon (Executive Director)
Heather (Program Coordinator)
Rachel (Sponsorship Coordinator)
Deb (Expedition Coordinator)