CEF Goes to Africa - Dan Rogers Shares his Thoughts of Being in Africa
by Rey Buenaventura, CEF Social Media Manager
Dan Rogers, our CEF Board Chair, shares some of his thoughts during his amazing journey through the African continent. We all know that Dan has been excitedly telling everyone he knows about this trip and about all of the great things he and his fellow board members hope to achieve. Below is an excerpt from some of his emails he has sent to the CEF community.
"I'm sitting in the Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa and listening to the booming thunder and lightning storm outside. I feel thankful that we just beat the storm. It was just starting to rain when we were about five blocks and now ... the Gods are roaring! We are all exhausted but feel well ... We also realize that we are almost as far as one can get from our home (Vancouver, Canada) without getting any closer.
Addis is a teaming city full of hard scrabble survival and beautiful people. We are staying in a moderate hotel, which is certainly first world but not upscale. It's great nonetheless. Our hosts met us at the airport and we've had two coffee ceremonies so far, which in Ethiopia is a ritual not to be refused! Unfortunately this has been a bit of a struggle for our tea drinkers.
Our project partners, Partners in the Horn of Africa, has many successful projects in this vast and fascinating country. Ethiopia was never a colony and thus Addis is seen as the 'Centre of Africa' in many ways. UNESCO is located here and so is the African Union. We visited House of Hope which used to be a hospice set up to ease the passing of the dying, but is now a recovery center for women with AIDS with a 90+% recovery rate. Being there was moving and humbling beyond words and tears. A humble abode that is a place of a refuge for the five grateful people we met. I will never forget them kissing my hand as we left ... me ... I've done nothing for these people but we represented those that help provide some hope in that house. Exhausted, we were overwhelmed by this visit.
Even in Addis very few people speak English. When we visited Laura's Place (named after a lawyer in Vancouver who sadly died a few years ago and whose firm sponsors the house ) we met six beautiful young women who were AIDS orphans that had been chosen by their communities to go first to primary school, then to secondary school and then, being the brightest, to nursing school. They are now working on their admissions exams so we didn't linger but Partners in the Horn of Africa had followed these amazing women for about ten years and soon they were going to be on their own but with skills to support their life and society.
We are needing sleep .. but decided to have a quick local beer .. very good .. and then tomorrow we have more trips planned. John and Yehalem (from Partners in the Horn of Africa) are the best of guides. We are also very inspired by the work that they have done and continue to do. More soon."