On June 4, I landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to begin an exciting project with the NGO “AMIGOS DE SILVA”. For two months, I lived in Assayita, a small village in Afar region, near the border with Djibouti. The heat in those months of the year exceeds 50 degrees Celsius. While the heat is difficult to endure, it was made possible by drinking lots of water and doing a very rewarding job.
Every morning we woke up at 6am, had a shower (with water jugs) and coffee and toast with olive oil and tomato (enough to start the day). Less than one hour after breakfast, we were ready to start our various tasks. At 11.30 we ate lunch – typical Ethiopian for less than a euro. We continued working in the afternoon. Some days we combined work with playing sport with the children who came to see the “Farangis” (“whites” in the Amharic language).
AMIGOS DE SILVA is focused in three different areas:
1- Rehabilitation and Expansion of Assayita Hospital
The NGO wants to complete the extension of the general hospital by performing the following rehabilitation and expansion projects:
a) Building Rehabilitation Pediatric Care Unit
b) Rehabilitation of the X-ray Unit
c) Rehabilitation and expansion of the perimeter and general systems.
d) Building a new operating theatre
e) Construction of the new Maternity Unit
2- Nutrition Program in Assyita (Ethiopia)
Food and nutrition supplements for children under five, pregnant women, and elderly people
3- Drinking Water
Building water wells scattered at strategic points to cover the urgent need for water in the Afar Region and other where “AMIGOS DE SILVA” has been established, areas which suffer from a critical lack of drinking water which seriously threatens the lives of its population, causes frequent deaths, severe dehydration and disease in the population and their livestock
After the period in Addis Ababa, I met the Missionaries of Charity (the congregation founded by Mother Teresa), and decided that for the month of August, as I missed the spiritual part that for many like me is so important.
In early August, two friends arrived, Lourdes and Luis. After a long trip to the south of the country, we arrived in a small town called Kebre Menguis. In the local school, we supported the English teachers, and at the hospital we helped out with any task we could. We played football and other sports with the children. Sometimes it was only necessary to spend some time with people who are alone – people who introduced us to their culture, with whom we prayed and gave thanks.
August was a time of great joy for me, spent with old friends and new. The end of August marked the end of this experience, an experience so amazing that I have decided to dedicate my life to helping others.
You can find more information about “AMIGOS DE SILVA”, what they do, voluntary work, etc. on: http://www.amigosdesilva.org/Beltrán Navarro González-Chaves External collaborator of The Worldfolio