After having been in Ethiopia in the spring of 2010 with Laura Kangur returning to Estonia I felt as if Estonians would have so much to share in Ethiopia that one lifetime wouldn’t be enough. I could only speak to two people about my thoughts. I thought the only ones who would understand are people who have experienced the same in Ethiopia. While being there I already knew I would return the first chance I get. To be the voice of those who don’t have a voice…I guess it is in the heart of all of us. I discussed my plans and thoughts with god daily.
Time in Estonia was filled with writing projects, starting NGO Damota and planning the new trip. After the summer I was back in the same town, Soddo, with Annika Heimvell.
Two months in Ethiopia passed full of visits to Government offices to get a permission to build a school. Behind each door I would find an official who needed financial aid themselves or who had better ideas where to invest the money. Thanks to experience from the soviet times it didn’t knock me off track and it seemed that the time spent bargaining and fighting for our rights, was to better understand this society and to use this knowledge at the right moment to start building the schoolhouse.
We were there to prepare accommodation and provision for eight volunteers coming in January of 2011 and to find ways to support the education of the children whose parents didn’t have enough to send their kids to school.
One of these kids was Tamiru. He would come to school on crutches which took a considerable amount of time. When in Ethiopia we had no idea how to help him. Discussing it amongst ourselves it seemed unfair to help one family more than the others. In December while in Estonia I found out that Tamiru couldn’t attend school any longer since the only leg he had left needed operating on. Due to congenital rickets it was impossible for him to lean on the leg any longer and the leg needed to be operated on because of an infection he got from walking on it. We would tell our friends and closest ones about the life and toil of the people there and thus began the collection for Tamiru by Emilie, Jesper, Aurora and Frode.
“LOVE IS ALL WE NEED – help us save the children!”
This is the slogan Emilie (12), Jesper (12), Aurora (11) and Frode (7) presented to people in Norway who they wanted to help Tamiru who was born in a country where education is not available for every kid and medical aid isn’t for free either.
Why did you want to help Tamiru?
Because he needed prostheses to go to school. Grandmother told us about it and we wanted to make a collection because it is so nice to help someone who doesn’t have it as good as we do.
What did you know about him?
That he is ten years old and needs prostheses.
How did you decide to help?
We decided to make a sale and to sell handmade carpets and pillows which grandmother crochets. We also wanted to sell raffle tickets (very common in Norway). We wanted to make a small flea market as well. Frode sold his big firetruck, toy cars and tractors. Some other kids grandma bought these.
Why did you sell those cars Frode?
Because I wasn’t using them anymore. Emilie sold the raffle and wrote on cards. Frode also had an idea to do the „fishpond“ game where people would fish out envelopes from a box where Emilie had written something nice. Aurora and Frode were handling the „fishpond“. Aurora put chocolate candy in a jar and people would have to guess how many were there and the one who would guess correctly would win a prize. Jesper held a quiz for different ages. He memorized the answers and people could test their knowledge. Jesper was also telling people what we were collecting the money for.
What did you think of the donors?
Many were friendly and interested, but some would ask that who would want to help a negro. Some asked if the prize of the raffle was a negro. One woman wanted to buy raffle tickets for 10 krona, but gave a 50 and wouldn’t accept change. That was very nice.
Would you like to continue with the collection?
Next time Tivoli is in our town we thought about going there and talking to people so they would know who we are. We think it is very cool to do something like this. It was unfortunate that many people would frown at us already from a distance but that’s all-right we still want to keep the collection going.
What would you like to wish to Tamiru?
Good luck in learning to walk and that he would be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. And if we grow up we would like to go and visit him in Ethiopia.