On the last day of the trip I had tears when we were sharing our experiences, oh how I know myself (someone who cries easily). It wasn’t so much to do with sympathy or the poverty here, it had more to do with the touching stories we encountered by the people we met.
The premise I will take away from this trip is this: although Ethiopians don’t have much, they are still willing to share!
In the Oromia area there is no electricity after 6pm, and local people have to travel everywhere on foot. They walk in the mountains from daytime to twilight to the dark night (under the starry sky). Our first dinner was with the local Zonal Education Office, and I was anxiously trying to tell Wossen (from UNICEF to convince them to keep the money for children’s education; we could pay for our meal. But Wossen told me, “it’s their way to show their hospitality, you can’t say no.”
At Tutis Primary School there are more than 100 students in every class, and there is no desk and chairs in the classrooms. Their rain-collecting facility provided by UNICEF was empty because of the lack of rain, yet they used bottles of mineral water to carefully make coffee for us—in the most traditional manner. They roasted the coffee beans, made cups of strong coffee served with popcorn, and welcomed us with local coffee beans and traditional costumes.
A mother of 10 children tells us that now with solar lamps, their children can read and do homework at night, even children in the neighborhood can come and share the light together.
In the village where houses are mostly built with thin twigs and mud, the little girl not only shared nuts in her hand with us, but even went back home to bring watermelon to us.
Every time when I talk about the watermelon the girl gave me, I can’t help but choking. It’s certain that the little girl doesn’t come from a wealthy family, but she was willing to share what she and her family have with strangers like us. As people who live on the prosperous island of Taiwan, what more can we do? From November 8, 2015 to January 2, 2016, when you buy a soft toy or children’s book at IKEA, IKEA Foundation will donate 1 euro to children’s education through the fantastic work of Save the Children and UNICEF to help children around the world receive education and create a better future for themselves.
It’s time for us to do more！