March 2007


Hello from the Link Ethiopia team!

Here is our second monthly news update, and we hope you will welcome this email into your Inbox. You can always hit Delete if not!

Six of us are, at this very moment, preparing for our Easter visit to Gondar, and we are very much looking forward to meeting up with our new full-time Country Manager there. Ato Belayneh Shewaye was appointed in the last few days of our November visit and he has bowled us over with his enthusiasm, his organisational skills, and his reliable contact with us. We are very optimistic that, with our ever expanding team, Link Ethiopia will continue to go from strength to strength.

As always, get in contact with us if you have any comments or would like to help us in our work. Contact details are below. Now, read on…

News from Ethiopia

  • Ethiopia is full of friendly and welcoming people, so it is disconcerting when there is negative news such as the recent kidnappings in the remote Afar country, near the Eritrean border. We were very pleased to hear of the safe return of the Europeans involved and hope that the Ethiopians involved will also be on their way home to their families as soon as possible.
  • Coffee is one of the mainstays of Ethiopia’s economy. Thanks to the wonderful new film from Marc and Nick Francis called “Black Gold” (look out for it in the cinemas soon!), there have been important challenges to Starbucks and other coffee shops in order to try to improve and spread the Fairtrade concept. An obvious way to support the coffee farmers in Ethiopia and other countries is to make a point of buying Fairtrade ourselves.

The Coffee Ceremony

A mark of friendship and hospitality and not to be rushed! It happens after a meal, with the host seated on a stool in front of a tiny charcoal stove amid freshly cut grass to bring in the freshness of nature and with an incense burner spreading perfume. As the coffee beans roast in a pan, the guest inhales the aroma and politely says betam tiru no (lovely!). The beans are then ground with pestle and mortar, brewed up in boiling water and the coffee is served with at least 3 spoons of sugar, as the third spoonful bestows a berekha (blessing). Never refuse a cup, even if you only have a sip!

School Link news

All of our UK schools – from Cornwall, Bristol and Bath in the south-west, to the Chilterns and Greater London in the south-east, to Derbyshire in the Midlands and Manchester in the north – are just taking on their new projects for 2007 to support their Ethiopian link schools.

Some are trying to help with classroom resources, providing furniture, fittings, and much needed simple but colourful teaching resources. Others are working towards the constant need for clean water and decent toilet provision, while still others are concentrating on computers and computer skills. Their fundraising activities will teach them much about their friends in Ethiopia and their varying lifestyles.

Thankfully, both in the UK and in Ethiopia, each of our school links is coordinated by enthusiastic teachers with lots of varied and positive ideas to engender interest and keenness in their pupils. For young people in both our countries these linking partnerships are something very special indeed. They are a real and personal way of encouraging pupils to widen their scope and realise the diversity of the world they live in.

Resourcing Project news

Thanks to the help of Robertswood School in Chalfont St Peter in the UK, the Hibret School in Gondar has been able to upgrade its water facility in a big way! Their previous drinking water supply was totally inadequate for the 1900 thirsty pupils at the school. They have now been able to install a brand new drinking water unit with bright new taps and this has been received with great enthusiasm – as you can see!

Our Gap Ethiopia scheme

We are very keen to fill our four remaining places in our gap scheme for students at present in Year 13. We have vacancies for two boys and two girls, and if you would like to know more, get in touch with Rupert on [email protected].

Meanwhile, in the north of Ethiopia, one pair of volunteers, Avi Bram and Matt Hunt are getting towards the end of their three-month stay, teaching in the Azezo Secondary School. A new pair of young teachers has just arrived in Gondar to teach at the Fasiledes Secondary School. James Gough and Yves Thomas are settling positively and well into their new Gondar lives.

Coming up on Television

  • Tribe – Suri
    The very primitive and amazing Suri tribe
    March 27th, 28th, 31st (UKTV Documentary)
  • Cliffhangers – Girl Power
    The gelada baboons of the Simien Mountains
    April 9th (Adventure One)
  • The Nile – The Great Flood
    A wonderful programme showing life in the Ethiopian Highlands
    April 14th (UKTV Documentary)

Proverb of the Month

“When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion”

Website Link of the Month

How’s your basic knowledge of Ethiopia?

and of course our own colourful website at

Link Ethiopia funding

We are, with the committed help of two new recruits to our team, looking into the basic provision of regular funding for our work here at Link Ethiopia.

James Love and Rose Bradbury both have experience in the area of applying to funding bodies, and they themselves have plans to go out to the Gondar area to live and work on our behalf for several months towards the end of this year.

How you can help!

If anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help in this matter or would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch.

You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

Together We Learn - Ethiopia