Wish You All the Best, Ethiopia!!

Back in Taiwan, I was playing with my niece and nephew in our comfy sofa this afternoon, the image of an Ethiopian little boy came to my mind. On the way back to our hotel we were having our lunch among beautiful valleys and as always, we attracted a group of onlookers. To one side I saw a little boy looking at us quietly, so I decided to share the fruit and biscuits in my bag with him. When I walked over to him and took a closer look I realised that he had a runny nose and his clothes were black and dirty. There were also several flies on his body. After taking fruit from me he just quietly walked back to his mother, as if those flies were just a pattern on his clothes; they didn’t bother him.

Wearing clean clothes, going to convenience store with grandpa to buy some candies after nap, washing hands with clean water before every meal. These daily life experiences are so natural and taken for granted for most children in Taiwan.

Pic 1: Onlookers attracted during our lunchtime. Photo credit: Peggy Chou
Pic 1: Onlookers attracted during our lunchtime. Photo credit: Peggy Chou

On the way to Ethiopia I had this big doubt in my mind: can children born and raised in rural areas really get a better life through education? After all, the time they spend on traveling between school and home can be as long as 2 hours a day, and then they have to help with house chores or farm work after they get home. Not to mention that most students cannot afford stationery—sometimes one pencil is shared by three students.

Getachew Solomon (Education Officer UNICEF) gave me a positive answer that yes absolutely it can, because he himself grew up in the countryside, and this is exactly how he grew up and received education.

Pic 2: Textbook and stationery (textbook cover is made of plastic bag of a machinery company) Photo credit: Peggy Chou
Pic 2: Textbook and stationery (textbook cover is made of plastic bag of a machinery company) Photo credit: Peggy Chou
Pic 3: Little girls see soft toy for the first time. In the beginning they are scared and do not dare to get close. Photo credit: Peggy Chou
Pic 3: Little girls see soft toy for the first time. In the beginning they are scared and do not dare to get close. Photo credit: Peggy Chou

On this journey we saw poverty but also positive change and that brought us great joy. After experiencing this tiny part of Ethiopia, I hope all the local people will remember the moments we shared together, and that they can face all the challenges in the future fearlessly with courage on that scorching land.

Pic 4: Fluttering Ethiopian flag in a school. Photo credit: Peggy Chou
Pic 4: Fluttering Ethiopian flag in a school. Photo credit: Peggy Chou

 

 

 

 

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    Peggy Chou