Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tilling the Soil (or sand)

This is an exercise in contrasts.

In the first case, I met this young man a few weeks ago while walking in an area just west of Hadero. He was hand tilling this plot of land. It was hot. The soil had just had a good soaking with rain. His tools are all that you see. No shoes. Nothing else. Hard labor. And the rewards of his labor are barely enough to get by – – the season of hunger lingers during this time before harvest.

This next image is what’s happening today at our house. Our home backs up to a park. We have a sand volley ball court in our backyard – we call it our private sandbox and hope the cat isn’t pooping in it.   Mr. SillyPants has taken the initiative and is rotatilling  the plot so that the sand is nice and fresh for summer fun and especially for long hours of sandbox fun for Blueberry. The tiller belongs to our neighbor. The choice to maintain the sand lot is ours; the city doesn’t have maintenance in the budget and Mr. SillyPants is happy to donate time and a bit of labor to public park upkeep (oh there is a lot of garlic mustard that gets picked too in the wooded area behind us). Otherwise, the sand is packed and the weeds creep into the space. Recreational choice. Ours. We had lunch before the tilling commenced – and breakfast. And the fridge is stocked. Oh, plus no shortness of fresh, clean water.

This is a study in contrasts. You are witnessing where my mind is these days. (And yes, Blue is wearing ear plugs, as is SillyPants – – the musician/physician never works without them, and neither does his little side kick).

Shinshecho Grain Crew 2011

This photo is from one of the nutritional relief efforts in Shinshecho in 2011. These families gathered in the church courtyard for supplies – life sustaining food.

Grain Crew 2012 under way. Donate here – using the Grain Crew-Ethiopia tab. We will leave this open through June 1. Thank you.

Hunger (not a game!)

I’m home from Ethiopia with a little side trip to visit Twinkletoes in South Africa. I had an amazing journey – lots of work, some play, and totally got to hug up and spoil my amazing daughter.

But I’m home and thinking about hunger. I wrote this to the friends with whom I am exercising, “I traveled for many days in Ethiopia – to places where people don’t have enough to eat. I’m talking about hunger that kills people. I can’t imagine that for me it will ever again be OK to be fat and out of shape. Period. I’m glad to be back at the gym to make this a reality – with Ryan’s help and the support of my team and all of you. And, I’m not going to be silent about other people’s hunger …”

As I traveled the area known as Kembata Tembaro, doing some evaluations for an Ethiopian program I am supporting, I asked the same question in each place, “What is your number one need right now?” The answer was the same in every place. “HUNGER. Our people are hungry. People are dying because they do not have enough to eat. Babies are dying. People are sick, they are not strong enough to stay healthy.” The rains have arrived, but they are 2 months late. The harvest is expected in August. Now is the time of hunger. It is time to go public with nutritional relief.

GRAIN CREW 2012 is here NOW! You can go right to our fiscal donor, Save One Starfish and donate to the effort using the Grain Crew-Ethiopia tab. It’s easy. Save One Starfish is a registered non-profit. Your donation is tax deductible. We will leave the donation tab up until June 1. Go there now.

Last year I privately fundraised a bit over $3000 to feed 136 families from three feeding stations; Hadero, Tunto, and Shinshecho. This year we’ll do the same. Except, this year I’m not being quiet. The program is run through Meseret Kristos Church. Like last year, they will reach out to non-members of the church and focus on women headed households and households that rent/have no land.

Families like this one in Hadero, receiving grain last year from Grain Crew 2011.

The distribution will occur in several locations and will include grain/oil/fruits. Just as last year, there will be a full report distributed that includes details about the use of donations – – including photographs of locations, numbers fed, items distributed, and so forth.

Here is one more image from the distribution in 2011 in Tunto.

Let’s fill our local food pantries and then reach out to places that don’t have social services like food pantries and rely on the community support of spaces like local churches in Ethiopia. It’s good work. Please join me.

*Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions*