Travel Report 2023
A visit at the end of the school year
In July the time had come: together with two friends I traveled again to our OMO Child family in Jinka. I was curious to see what had happened since my last visit in spring 2022. To our great joy, we were already welcomed at the airport by Lale Labuko, his deputy Buche Solomon and two children. We immediately went to OMO Child because the other children and employees were already waiting for us. It was nice to see that the children remembered me, so the welcome was very warm. My godchild Metsenenat jumped straight into my arms.
First, Lale showed us how the area had been further developed. A library and a playground were built for the school, which certainly further supports the school’s good reputation. Various fruit trees had been planted to harvest own fruit in the long future. But the greatest fun for the children was the new sports field with soccer goals and basketball hoops.
A calf walking on the premise caused me to smile. OMO Child had recently received this as a gift from the Ethiopian President, Abiy Ahmed, during a visit to Jinka. Since the handover the calf still had a balloon on her tail. In the future, she will regularly deliver fresh milk to the children.
After our tour, a special highlight of our visit waited for the kids: we bought new soccer jerseys and sports shoes with the help of an online fundraising. The surprise was a complete success. The sparkle in the children’s eyes was priceless. It was particularly nice to see how proudly the children wore the print “OMO Child” on their backs. That’s when I realized that the school had helped develop OMO Child into a real brand name. Gone are the days when the name was synonymous with rejected children. That was a great feeling. Over the next few days, the sports field was used extensively to test the new jerseys. At the same time, we had brought a lot of clothes with us from Germany, which the “moms” had pre-sorted with great composure so that all the children had something new to wear.
On Sunday there was another highlight: the big celebration at the end of the school year. Hundreds of parents and students came. It was an incredibly colorful picture. Parents and children alike had dressed up for the celebration and the little girls in particular immediately caught our attention with their artistic hairstyles and long dresses.
A 3.5-hour event followed. Lale, the school principal, parent representatives and local politicians gave their speeches. In between, the children performed on stage, dancing and singing. As a guest of honor, I was allowed to cut the bread and cake for the school’s third birthday before the best students of the year were honored. I had the pleasure to take part in that, too. In Ethiopia there are central final exams and in some grades the OMO Child students have won the first three places in the region. It was particularly nice to see the pride of the parents when they stuck the certificate money on their children’s foreheads, following local tradition. And with just as much gratitude, there was a standing ovation for the principal and hugs from dozens of students and parents after the event. This is when we realized once again that education in Omotol is still something very special.
After our visit to Jinka, we drove with Lale to Dus, where we started building a boarding school for the children of the Omo Valley tribes. There is a separate report about this.
After a good week in Ethiopia, we returned to Germany with the good feeling that the children and staf at OMO Child are doing well and that we are making an important contribution thanks to our donors. Thank you for that!
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