June 2009

Welcome to our June 2009 news update

Another UK summer and the fast approaching end of another school year. Link Ethiopia has spent many months developing the content and quality of its school links and we are now beginning to see the expansion of the scheme as it was planned a long time ago. We hope soon to be able to say that the school linking service that we provide, in the UK, in Ethiopia, and now just starting in the US, is of a quality second to none in its support and in the thoroughness of it provision.

So this issue of our News Update is all about school linking – read on! And best wishes to you all!

Focus on… School Linking

Here we want to share some news from two clusters of links that are emerging in the Leicester and East Sussex areas of the UK.

Do get in contact if your school would be interested in starting a link with Ethiopia – or pass this news email on to any friends who may be interested. Contact our Director for more information ([email protected]).

School linking in the Leicester area

We have known for some time that the Leicester Royal Infirmary in the UK has a well established link with the teaching hospital in Gondar, Ethiopia – the town where we have our Head Office. We had not been quite so aware however that Leicester University had extended this linking idea by joining with the relatively recently established new university in Gondar.

This has given us all the idea of trying to form a real cluster of links in the Leicester area to join with schools in the Gondar region. One of our most active and resourceful school links already exists between Queniborough Primary School in Leicestershire and the Yekatit 23 Elementary School in Bahir Dar, in the southern part of the Gondar region.

We recently visited Queniborough School and were thoroughly impressed by what we saw there. Ethiopian displays exist in almost every corner of the school and there is no doubt that the children are very aware and knowledgeable about their link. Photos shown here were taken around the school – a thoroughly colourful and stimulating experience.

On the back of a meeting held during this visit, we immediately have Church Hill Junior School and Wreake Valley Community College coming on board with new school links in Ethiopia. The next phase of the plan is to encourage a number of other local schools to join the cluster.

School linking in East Sussex

Meanwhile, thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of Susan Kent in East Sussex, we have a large group of new schools joining Link Ethiopia to initiate links in an area of Ethiopia just south of Addis Ababa.

Susan is about to say goodbye to her school, Hailsham Community College, and to take a sabbatical year during which she will spend several months in the Asella – Nazaret – Debre Zeit area, helping these links get up and running. She has considerable experience in teaching and coaching sports and has been connected with the British Council’s “Dreams and Teams” initiative. This has introduced Hailsham Community College to Ethiopia and now around ten schools in the local area are starting to engen

der a real level of commitment and enthusiasm for that country.

Susan recently co-led a group trip to this region with students from her and other schools and we thought we would like to share the following comments with you, quoted from the young people who were experiencing Ethiopia for the first time…

“There was an amazing contrast of culture – and the warmth of hospitality was by far the thing that stood out for me.”

“Everyone has such a positive attitude and appreciates everything they have, so unlike our own culture!”

“I loved going to the different schools and showing them how to use the sports equipment in different ways. Everyone is so lovely, helpful and appreciative.”

How to get involved

We think that an active and involving school link with a country such as Ethiopia can be a truly memorable and even life-changing experience. Perhaps you can help us find other schools that would like to share this experience. Get in touch!

News from Ethiopia

  • There is news that Ethiopia is about to start a major project to restore and possibly expand its 100 year old and largely disfunctional railway. French built in the early 1900s, the railway used to run smoothly from Addis to Dire Dawa and through to Djibouti. Now the condition of the track is so bad in places that derailments happen on a regular basis. The new project will see significant track replacement and bridge strengthening to enable this route to once again help with imports and exports via the Djibouti sea port. There are also initial plans for a much wider country rail network.
  • Meanwhile the ‘flourishing’ new industry in cut flowers is developing strongly in Ethiopia. The second largest flower farm in the country has just been inaugurated and is already exporting its products. It is owned by an Indian parent company, Surya Blossoms, and will be responsible for a large number of new jobs in the area. Sending 17 varieties of flowers to the Middle East, Europe, USA and Holland, the firm at present already exports 40,000 flowers a day.


The Ark of the Covenant

Tradition has it that the Ark, the sacred container that was built by the Israelites to house the tablets of the Ten Commandments, disappeared from its place in Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem and was taken to Ethiopia in the first millennium BC. It was supposed to have been stored in a monastery on a remote island in Lake Tana for many centuries and guarded by the few monks who lived there before being moved to the Church of St Mary of Zion in Axum, right in the north of the Ethiopia.

Every Ethiopian church has a replica of the tablets, known as a ‘tabot’, which is closely guarded in its inner sanctuary and the tabot is the most important single religious symbol in the Ethiopian church. There are many writings that try to track the story of the Ark of the Covenant once it left Jerusalem, with Graham Hancock’s “The Sign and the Seal” being one of the most readable and fascinating.

Coming up on UK Television

  • $100 Taxi Ride
    Interesting goings-on around Ethiopia
    Thursday July 2nd (Travel Channel)
  • Tribe – Suri
    The primitive and amazing Suri tribe
    Saturday July 18th (Eden)
  • Tribal wives – EthiopiaA Scottish airhostess amid the Afar tribewomen!
    Wednesday July 22nd (Eden)

Ethiopian proverb

It is not for one man to dispense justice or for one piece of wood to strike fire

English proverb

He that fears every bush must never go a-birding

Website link

Learn a lot more about the Ark of the Covenant on Wikipedia… http://tinyurl.com/qhxnkw

And remember to visit our website from time to time… www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you 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