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Yere: Shocking cancer diagnosis

On June 3rd, 2020 Yere, one of our Omo's Morningstar children, received shocking news after taking an X-ray to determine why she feels p...

December 18, 2020

Coronavirus relief

Thanks to the generous support of two German mission organizations and two individuals from Germany and IA/USA Omo‘s Morningstar Children was able to respond to government officials request to help local schools in their attempts to deal with Coronavirus transmission. 

So far 1,350 face masks, 180 gloves for teachers and 150 liter hand sanitizer were delivered to several schools in the South Omo Zone. Hamer, Ari, Dassanech and Mursi are some of the tribes benefiting from the Coronavirus relief supplies we provided. 

A big thanks goes to:

DIGUNA Stiftung: Hilfe für Menschen in Not (HfMiN) for their quick release of funds to purchase items to help in the fight against Coronavirus. 

Kontaktmission Corona Nothilfe (31825) for their great financial support allowing us to continue to distribute Coronavirus relief to Ethiopian schools. 

AK from Germany for his personal commitment to help, including a planned fundraising project in German schools to raise awareness and to help even more. 

MM from Iowa, USA for his continuous support this year and his specific support for this project to help Ethiopian schools.

Three little Dassanech girls
happy to receive face masks 

A rural Dassanech school

Let’s hope they will use the masks
to control coronavirus transmission 

Gloves for the teacher

Black, green, white: 
The choices of face masks

Hand sanitizer


There is still much help needed - not only to help to slow down Coronavirus transmission, but also to help local schools with school books, other educational material, awareness of harmful traditional practices (mingi, Female Genital Mutilation: FGM, child marriages, etc.) and to support children from poor families with school materials. 

Here are different options listed how you can help!

You can also sponsor a child, changing her life forever, by providing food, clothes, school material, education and a safe place to grow up in a multi-cultural environment. Check out some of our currently unsponsored children here! It’s a great Christmas gift. 



November 26, 2020

Birthday parties

One of our highlight each month are our birthday parties. 

Since pastoralists usually don’t have a birth certificate and/or keep track on their children’s birthdays we assigned birthdays to our Omo’s Morningstar children. 

This month Uri (she still needs a sponsor, see here), one of our Hamer tribe kids and Muli, one of our Arbore tribe kids, celebrated their 12th and 9th birthday, respectively. We purchased beef meat (which is quite expensive in Ethiopia) for this special occasion and our cooker Banchi prepared a great lunch and dinner with freshly baked bread (dabo) and local injera. 


Cutting the birthday cake

Pole helps to prepare beef

Birthday dinner

Children Home kids waiting for the birthday activities 
Happy Birthday Uri and Muli

New clothes were provided as gifts for our birthday girls. In the afternoon we played many outdoor games and invited our Turmi friends to join us for singing and dancing. We finished the great day with a movie night, even with popcorn.

Back in September we celebrated Yere’s 11th birthday (our cancer patient from the Dassanech tribesee her story here) and slaughtered two chicken for this special event. She received a special pen for school and a solar audio bible in Dassanech language. She was very happy and likes to listen to it whenever there is time in her busy schedule. 


Yere is very competitive in games

Yere and Teno after a
‘search for the sweets in a flour bowl’ game

Pancakes (with food coloring) and
sprinkles on a chocolate birthday cake - not bad!

Find the sweets in the flour - a birthday party favorite 

Yere’s birthday cake with candles 

Children Home kids perform for Yere

Birthday rockets 

Lots of fun with water games



 


October 29, 2020

First day of school

Masked-up: ready for school

How exciting! For many of our Turmi's Children Home kids it is the first time to attend formal teaching in a school setting. Equipped with some new clothes, exercise books, pencil, pen, eraser, sharpener, and the mandatory face mask they are walking every morning to Turmi's Primary school.

Turmi Primary School

Most of them attend 1st grade, but we also have one 3rd, two 5th, and one 6th grader. Proudly they present every check mark from the teacher or exam result.

Amharic exam: 6/6 yay!

English exam: 2 mistakes!!

For many it's a rough road to success; there are often problems with:

- Understanding the Amharic language
- Writing in Amharic or English (drawing symbols and letters are common)
- Keeping their exercise books tidy
- Not losing their school material

But everyone is proud to be a student and they understand that school education is very important for their future.

If anyone wants to help with providing school backpacks that would be great - currently there is no sufficient funding available for providing backpacks for our school girls. You can donate here!

Only $12 per backpack/child is required

Katja
  
Muli
Teno

Proud Yere - finally school time










Coronavirus relief:
Local school opened on October 19th and are in desperate need of face masks and hand sanitizer

$750 are needed to help several schools in Hamer and Dassanech Woredas (districts). Please consider a donation:

      DONATE

Wegagen Bank (www.wegagen.com)
Omo's Morningstar Children
Wegagen Bank S.C.
Account number: 0821753310101
SWIFT code: WEGAETAA
Address: SNNPRS, South Omo Zone, Jinka




October 27, 2020

New kids in town

Last month we went on a two week journey to collect children from different villages for our Children Home in Turmi. We visited three tribes in the South Omo Zone (South Ethiopia) and were able to bring back children from the Arbore, Hamer and Kara tribes.

Convincing required:
Finding the right girls isn’t an easy job and requires several steps:

  • Parents need to be convinced that school education is important and that an early (childhood) engagement/marriage is not all a daughter needs
  • Discussion with village elders
    Elders have to be convinced that security issues are taken care of (because of inter-tribal conflicts) and that Omo's Morningstar Children is taking good care of their children – i.e., by having a fenced compound with guards and staff accompanying the children daily on their way to school
  • Children have to be identified with an ability to learn, with a personality which fits to the existing Omo's Morningstar children, and a willingness to leave home, their tribe, and culture to start a new life in OMC’s children home
  • If a child is engaged (as early as 4 years old) the future husband has to be consulted and convinced as well
Selection process:
Playing games, followed by bible story teaching time with singing and dancing are great tools to learn more about a child. For example, when a child is able to answer some questions from the teaching time she is attentive and willing to speak in front of her friends. Also when a child is active during the dance session it is seen as a positive factor for selection.

Playing games: sharing, 
creativity, and ability 
to follow instructions 
are things to observe

Competitive behavior/ 
aggressiveness can be monitored
by playing tug of war

During game time I observe if a child is willing to share, to help others, able to follow instructions, and/or is creative. Eye-hand coordination and logical thinking are other observation points. Can you see the scientist in me?

Evaluating
logical thinking ability


Selection is cruel - 
but the losers from this round
can be the winners for next time,
but sponsors are required





The main selection criteria is however the family status, i.e. orphan, poverty, risk of child marriage, mingi, etc.).

Goat BBQ'd on sticks

The selection process in a village/tribe takes easily two days. Therefore an overnight stay in my tent is often required. Sometimes a goat is slaughtered and served in traditional style late in the night.



After a two-week journey visiting three tribes and endless villages we have 10 new arrivals in our Turmi Children Home.


Some of Turmi's Children Home children








 

August 17, 2020

Daily life in OMC's children home: Part II

Every afternoon we have a scheduled sport session. Sometimes we invite children from the town to join us for the fun.

Currently, favorite activities are Kubb [a Swedish game: knocking over wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing wooden batons at them] and Volleyball. 

Playing Kubb, a Swedish outdoor game

āshenafī (አሸናፊ): winner and teshenafī (ተሸናፊ): loser are words one quickly learns in Amharic when playing games with children.

Playing Volleyball


July 25, 2020

Getting things fixed and ready

There is plenty of work, maintenance, fixing things and tasks to get ready for more children and staff at the OMC Turmi Project Site
The Director's home was painted (but needs another coat and refinements), a school room painted and equipped, and a sleeping room for 6 children prepared.





Next month before school will start (Coronavirus?) we are expecting 10-15 new children to arrive (from 4 different tribes) to join our program at OMC: your financial support to sponsor a child is very much appreciated. 

UPDATE 08-14-2020 New furniture arrived
Today, finally a truck came with all the furniture which I have ordered (or found abandoned in a storage area) a long time ago from a carpenter in Jinka. The children were excited to help unloading and inspecting everything. 
After posting pictures on Facebook I found two sponsors willing to support OMC with one bed and two tables. Now I will order two more beds and some standing shelves for the soon-to-be-expected new arrivals from the Arbore and Kara tribes.



June 16, 2020

Daily life in OMC's children home: Part I

 
Every day OMC offers it's children a scheduled program to learn and play, to discover and eat, to sing and dance, to do tasks like laundry and preparing coffee. Most importantly, they learn to grow up in a multi-cultural setting, several South Omo tribes mixed together (i.e., Hamer, Dassanech, Arbore, Kara), in an attempt to teach a peaceful interaction with their neighbors.
           


UPDATE 06-25-2020: Coffee Time
Most of you have it easy to get a coffee - just a ride to Starbucks, that's it. Or do you have a coffee machine, plugged into an electric outlet - pushing some buttons to get the coffee, or even program it to have the coffee ready when you wake up in the morning?
Here in Ethiopia, with limited electricity, things are a bit different - a lengthy procedure:
Step 1: Go to a market and buy coffee beans
Step 2: Roast it on a charcoal stove
Step 3: Grind it  (manual coffee grinder or coffee rammer)
Step 4: Brew it
Step 5: Enjoy it

        

UPDATE 06-26-2020: Garden Project
We have finished (for now) our gardening project - a way to learn how different vegetables grow from a tiny seed into (hopefully) an ingredient of our future meals. Watering and observing the little plants sprouting are exciting daily activities.

The first sprouts
Getting garden #2 ready
    
Sowing beans
Working on garden #1
  



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