CEF Goes to Africa - Dan Rogers Reflects on Zambia and Ethiopia Part II

by Rey Buenaventura, CEF Social Media Manager  

Part II of Dan Rogers' reflections on his trip through Africa.  Here he shares his thoughts about what CEF has been able to accomplish to this point,what he hopes we will accomplish in the future and how undertaking this journey has forever changed him.



"There are a  few images that will remain with me for some time. I have written before about the people walking everywhere in Ethiopia. Almost always carrying something. It is hard to describe going kilometer after kilometer and constantly having people on the side of the road and often in the road.

Visiting House of Hope and Laura's Place in Ethiopia was very moving because we had been told what the life for these girls would have been if they weren't there. They were safe and thus were able to grow up with hopes for a better life.

Also, we were moved by the plight of the farmers in Ethiopia. One difference between Ethiopia and Zambia is that the government owns all the land in Ethiopia. People effectively lease it and most of it is small farms or communal grazing lands.  In Zambia, there are large privately held farms that employ Zambians. This is a concept that is unknown in the areas of Ethiopia we visited.  But, I understand  that there are some large coffee plantations further south of the country that might work this way. We saw one tractor in all the days we travelled through Ethiopia and we were told that it was likely from a government centre. The ox and plow are very what the typical farmers really on and if you don't have an ox, you borrow one.  The plows are handmade with wooden blades. We saw literally hundreds of men carrying their plows walking down the roads.

The incredible beauty of Ethiopia was a true revelation for me. I had no idea how hilly, lush, and beautiful it is.  The other thing we didn't see in Ethiopia  (that we saw a lot in Zambia) was walls and fences.  

Of course the children and particularly their smiles are indelibly etched in our minds, eyes, and hearts. Welcoming, open, trusting, smiling, and all beautiful... some were shy, some bold. Its a wonderful gift to be surrounded by that energy. We have literally hundreds of images of the kids and many stories. Most of the stories are of challenges our children in Canada will never face but are also of hope and individual aspirations. More kids go to school and are safe because of the work our partners do and they are able to do that work because of  what CEF does.  And CEF can only do this kind of work because (and only because) of our community ... our contributors and donators.

While I have 2 more weeks in Africa, I already know I am coming back. I have been deeply impressed and moved by what I have seen and experienced.  I know I have only had a glimpse. We all know of the strife and conflict that is rampant here and other parts of the world .... but the great majority of folks just want some peace and a better life for themselves and their neighbours. Community to community .... that can happen. Every school, bridge, water project, medical clinic, safe house makes a diffence.  It matters."