by Janet Lee (Emdeber 74–76)
Water. It is something that we Americans often take for granted, even in the drought-stricken West. As I turn on the local news and hear yet another story of wildfires in my home state of Colorado, in nearby New Mexico and Arizona, or not so distant California, due in large part to lack of moisture, I cannot help but be grateful for the natural resources and wise planning of those who came before me. Undoubtedly, each of us RPCVs can recall an experience related to water: the water woman who brought us a jug of spring water each week, drawing water from a well in our compounds, boiling and filtering water until it was crystal clear, a weekly sponge bath or shower. Our lead story, by Bob Gausman, (Bodditti, Sidamo Province 70–72) is about a water project in Ethiopia initiated by members of Ethiopia XIII. Bob’s sense of humor comes through as he tackles a serious problem.
Many displaced Eritreans have found themselves in difficult circumstances having fled their homeland. The America Team for Displaced Eritreans founded by John Stauffer (Adi Kayeh, Akele Gazai state, Eritrea 1966-68) has come to their aid providing financial and logistical assistance both in the U.S. and abroad. The Herald includes in this issue a much condensed version of a recent interview by Stauffer concerning the formation, challenges, and successes of the America Team for Displaced Eritreans.
On a lighter note, Gloria Gieseke Curtis (Asmara 63–65) describes the fun and camaraderie when members of Eth II reunite and celebrate their 50th anniversary. I am envious of their long-term commitment to each other.
The Herald has been fortunate to have talented writers among the range of current Volunteers in Ethiopia. Many of their experiences are similar to ours: fighting diseases, teaching in schools or teacher education programs, and traveling around the country. The difference is they blog about these experiences whereas we relied on those little blue aerogrammes. Chuck Adams (Bonga 2011–) describes an African-wide anti-malaria project called Stomping Out Malaria in Africa. One component of this project is BAMM (Blog About Malaria Month) in which many of the current Volunteers blog about their individual malaria projects or experiences. Malaria is still the leading cause of preventable deaths and who better than PCVs to demonstrate anti-malaria measures through the use of art, parades, and distribution of bed nets. Check out Chuck’s article and the links to this blogging effort.
Ethiopia and Eritrea Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and The Herald are pleased to celebrate one of our own as the recipient of the 2013 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service: Phil Lilienthal (Addis Ababa, 1965-67). Phil is the founder and president of Global Camps Africa, currently in South Africa. The concluding article highlights the efforts of this most worthy recipient and fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Ethiopia.
Social media plays an important part in our daily lives, including keeping in contact with our fellow Volunteers. Please consider joining the E&E RPCV Facebook page. Using Facebook is ideal for spreading the word about time-sensitive information or news tidbits.
Speaking of social media, here is a link to a Youtube video produced by current Ethiopia Country Director Greg Engle. It is beautiful and touching!