Category Archives: Mudula Water

Wordless Wednesday

Mudula Tree, 2011


An Itinerary to Change a Life

I’ve been home from Ethiopia for a week. I’ve been sick. I started feeling ‘worried’ about a persistent cough about 10 days  into Ethiopia, while in Hosanna. I made a panicked call to my husband asking him to cancel Thanksgiving. An annoying but harmless cough was slowly hinting that there was more to come…and by re-entry in Dulles I was in full possession of a pretty nasty illness. I’ll spare you the details. I haven’t yet recovered, but I’m feeling a bit better every day.

It’s been hard to be home, holding all that I’m holding, not feeling well enough to tell a bazillion stories and share over 1000 pictures. And, Thanksgiving came and went – – the first holiday in 20 years in which I didn’t host/cook/set/direct/manage/order around/eat too much/do dishes/play games/throw a football/ and so on… It was hard. Very. I missed the fun. The biggies and Mr. SillyPants were awesome. I’m lucky.

But I have to start writing. And so I picked an easy beginning.

The Itinerary

Monday morning: Arrive at Bole and meet dear Solomon. Solo days commence. Drive to Lake Awassa. Rest and relax at the Haile Resort. (Pay the weekday rate for 2 nights at Haile Resort – love!)

Tuesday: Visit the Fish Market in the morning with Tsegaye. Drive to Wondo Genet and trek the countryside with Dereje.

Wednesday: Move to Yirgalem – overnight at the Aregash Lodge. Walk the countryside with Addisu. Meet an amazing crew at dinner – the fabulous magician Lisa Menna, her film maker, and a really lovely Ethiopian family from Addis.

Thursday: Arrive in Addis and join the Mudula Mamas at the Addis Flower Guest House.

Friday: Mudula Mamas visit Entoto Mountain. Shop at Shiromadeh.  I then visit my friends at Black Lion Hospital in the good company of Dr. Scott — including a surprise hometown meeting with Nurse K. Get super excited about the new Pedes ICU. Learn about ‘kangarooing’ and shed some tears for tiny babies. See my dear friends Dr. Mulu and Dr. Aklilu. Mudula Mamas gather again and share Shabbat Dinner with Dr. Rick Hodes in his home. Get totally blown away by Dr. Rick.

Saturday: Mudula Mamas and an AHOPE for Children art extravaganza – 100 kids, 100 art projects, 100 wrist watches. Love! Post Office Road shopping for the Mudula Mamas. Off to dinner with Dr. Mulu and her beautiful family in her home accompanied by Rogue Mama T.

Sunday: Mudula Mamas visit Selamta and meet some amazing young people. Have Kaldi’s coffee with Habtamu and congratulate him on his graduation from nursing school. Mudula Mamas meet up with Dana and TESFA and learn all about the TESFA mission in the comfort of the guest house.

Monday: Mudula Mamas see TESFA programs; The TESFA Teen House, The Merkato School, and then lunch with Dana and his staff. A few of us (me!) go to AHOPE for Children’s Community Development program while a few others meet with CHSFS about the water project. Ms. B and I have coffee with Sidesse, the director of AHOPE Ethiopia.

Tuesday: UP and out EARLY – – long awaited journey to Hosanna! GPS revved up! Check in at the Lemma International Hotel and then head to Mudula. See the Mudula Tree in the town center and then head by vehicle to Durgi (and plot on GPS!).  Back to Mudula and an official meeting with Ato Abebe about Mudula Water. (First ever sight of Hadero, special town for my family. Also, passing through Doyogena, Tunto and other mapped towns along the way — GPS in full swing).

Wednesday: GPS working overtime. Visit Kololo and the Kololo School build. Move on to Mudula where the Mamas split up; some of us trek to the spring and some of us trek to Bohe. I take the Bohe route, walking a good part of it.

Thursday: Mudula Mamas continue on with some tours in Hosanna and then head back to Addis. Rogue Mama and I take our leave and head out to meet up with some local contacts to see some regional church development/family care programs. Most of the day spent in Hadero at the Hadero church – – meeting amazing women and their families. Seeing things I never thought I’d see. Holding the hands of those who changed my life.

Friday: More Hosanna area work. GPS’ing the routes. Waypoint by waypoint. At the end of the day, spaghetti with garlic overload and a St. George (or two) – – konjo.

Saturday: Morning drive to Hosanna. Quick relax and clear lungs of awful diesel poisoning/inhalation…and then dinner solo with dear Solomon and his family where I find his wife has procured 50 sefed for Clinic At A Time sales. Yeah!



Mudula Water and the Mudula Mamas went for the win – AND WON!  


$9,000 in charity purse award money. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU  – each and every one of you who shared our story, promoted our challenge, and came to our donation page to help our grassroots fundraising with your family dollars.

On behalf of Mudula Water, we are grateful and humbled by your support.


Please stay tuned….

Mudula Water – What it’s about and why we need you

“Mudula Mamas”, three mothers of children born in Mudula, Ethiopia, have come together from different states to compete as one relay team in the Toyota US Open Triathlon and Janus Charity Challenge. These 3 friends are fundraising for “Mudula Water,” a large water project that will bring potable water to over 10,000 people in this rural village of southern Ethiopia. While they are training hard for their event, ever present is the knowledge that women and girls are carrying over 40lb jugs of dirty water for hours each and every day in the drought stricken area of Mudula. Not only does this water make them sick, time spent collecting the water keeps girls from going to school and women from attending to children, managing the farm and running small businesses.

The Mudula Water project will deliver clean, accessible water by a
gravity flow water system with over 10 miles of hand-laid piping to feed 8
separate public water taps. The project ensures individuals will be healthier,
girls will be able to stay in school, and women will have time to invest in
their families and communities. This project represents life.

The “Mudula Mamas” are racing the clock – their competition in the
Janus Charity Challenge ends on Saturday morning, October 1. The triathlon where my friends will swim, bike, and run is on Sunday, October 2. The mamas will race hard AND will be racing other charity competitors for the win for the people of Mudula.  The competition is tough for the first place $8000 charity award.  The Mudula Mamas need to earn that award for the families surrounding Mudula.

Please give them your financial support before time runs out!

Help these women race for water. Help these women race for life.

To learn more about Mudula Water: .

I am personally donating $1 for every person who ‘like’s the Mudula Water page on Facebook. The donation runs through Friday, September 30. You can do something right now – find that page. If you want to double your dollar donation without getting out of your chair or opening your wallet, like Hope by twelve  page Facebook. The founder of Hope by twelve has announced the same challenge.

My wise husband always tells me, ‘you get to make the offer – you don’t get to choose who takes you up on it.’

Take me up on it. Please.


Tri-ing times 3, that is. It’s the season of triathlons and I am HARD at work. NO! I’m not doing 3 triathlons, but I am advocating for 3 important charities through the Janus Charity Challenge. As the weeks advance, there are days I wonder if I might switch places and trade the fundraising for the physical task of a Tri. No. Scratch that.I’m still in the thick of training for my little bitty 5K through the couch to 5K program. My legs ache as I type this from week 7 day 2! Yeah, NO tri for me.

The first Tri has come and gone – and we have results. Fairy Godmother and I organized our 4th annual Team Plumpy’Nut for Doctors Without Borders Fundraiser (see here, here, and here for 1, 2, and 3). The Janus Charity Challenge  ‘switched teams’ and relocated their resources with the Lifetime/Toyota Triathlon series. Thus, our favorite local venue, the Wisconsin Ironman, was replaced by our neighboring state’s Lifetime Chicago Triathlon. Not intimidated, Fairy Godmother  and I recruited a lovely local man who was using the Chicago Triathlon as his ‘taper’ for the fabulous Wisconsin Ironman. His TAPER! We raised over $14,000 for Doctors Without Borders – feeding over 466 kids in the Horn of Africa. We are THRILLED with our result of FOURTH PLACE and a $500 additional cash award for Doctors Without Borders.  We were beat by competitors who had triple digit fundraising totals – we could not be prouder of our grassroots effort to bring compassionate care and nourishment to our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa. It was a WIN for our Team Plumpy’Nut. I celebrated with Mr. SillyPants and Blueberry by camping out in Lot 60 during the Ironman WI event. Fairy Godmother worked “officially” for the Ironman – supporting athletes as they ran through our beloved Camp Randall on the last 8 mile leg of the entire venue. Our fabulous athlete wore his MSF jersey during the bike and ran past me in his bright yellow running shirt. We held hands, exchanged smiles, and our family cheered for his big heart and a strong finish. That run is grueling. The whole dang Ironman is grueling.

During training Philip asked me about rules for finishing the Tri in Chicago. He said, “if mother’s in East Africa are carrying their dying children for months in search of food and help, I can crawl on my hands and knees to the finish line.” I was moved by his spirit and his determination for solidarity with the families stricken by one of the worst famines of our time. Thank you to Philip for his courage and determination. YOU are a WINNER.

Just for kicks, here is an image of Blueberry’s FIRST Ironbaby campaign. It’s fair to say, you’ve come a LONG WAY BABY! We are looking forward to our 5th annual campaign next year!

Of course, I never argue with a good idea, and I’ve been working on bringing some other stellar nonprofits to the Janus Charity Challenge at other venues. Enter Mudula Water Project and the Mudula Mamas. 3 amazing women are traveling to Dallas from across the US to join together for one cause – WATER. I am so excited about this Tri team and their dedication to bring water to over 10,000 people in Ethiopia. Each woman will do one leg of the race – my small part is simply that I’ve joined their effort by bringing them into the Janus Charity Challenge. This is an event WE NEED to dominate (please help!).  2 weeks until the race – so don’t delay!

The piece that makes me wildly giddy is that shortly after this event I’ll be heading to ETHIOPIA with the Mudula Water Team. How cool would it be to have fundraised nearly all of our funds? Hmmmm? No amount of donation is too small. And, for those of you who can make a larger donation, please do. I promise the BEST PICTURES EVER of Mudula Ethiopia and nearby communities that will have access to the water from this gravity well. Plus, I really want to see THIS TREE and know I’ve had a small part in changing the lives of these kids. The Janus Charity Challenge in Dallas is a deal maker for me. I brought this team together with the hope that we’ll rock the charity win  – we need your help to do this.

Last, but by no means least, Los Angeles is hosting an AHOPE for Children athlete at the LA Triathlon on September 25th. Y’all know how much I LOVE AHOPE for Children. Nick is bringin’ that love to the water, bike, and pavement when he Tri’s for AHOPE.  I blogged about all the reasons I love this non-profit and THEN I went ahead and accepted a seat on their Board. Yep. I did. I’m helping connect families with AHOPE and AHOPE with families. Be my connecting families, ok? Help us put the programs in place that AHOPE knows bring kids into better health and bigger hope. And remember how I said I’m traveling to Mudula? Well, I’ll be visiting AHOPE Ethiopia too. I am SO EXCITED to be there, back in the orphanage that received a donation that Waffles so carefully prepared when we traveled to Ethiopia to become Blue’s family. We had 5 travelers, which meant 5 personal bags and 5 bags full of donations.   This photo is circa 2008 —-> Blast from the past – it’s funny how the past becomes my present in my ‘becoming.’

Whew! 3 athletes and 3 venues. There are 2 remaining in which you can make a difference and help us win charity purse $!!!!! Mr. Sillypants, who is wise, has said to me, “Ms. Plum, it’s your job to make the offer, but you don’t get to decide who takes you up on the offer.” I know he’s right, but I WANT YOU TO TAKE ME UP ON THIS OFFER!  I do. It’s personal. I’m petty like that.

Make sure you get it done before the deadlines:  AHOPE before September 24th. Mudula Water before Oct 1.               Amaseganalou.