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    it really was a privilege to witness something so sacred to the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Christians around the world This weekend was the first major touristy trip we did and I am glad we did it Ethiopia is often not given much thought but it truly has a lot to offer you just have to look for it Tags Agriculture Sightseeing MEDA Interns 2014 Private Sector Development Communication and Program Support Intern Continue reading Ethiopia 3998 Hits Tuesday 16 December 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Big Dreams Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern It s the holiday season back in Canada and I m trying my best to be present and thankful in my current circumstances here in Ethiopia While I could compare and wish that I was back at home there are so many things to be thankful for I am part of a really great project E FACE and am loving the work that I get to do Here s a little snippet of what I did a few weeks ago I went on a field visit in the South for a few days with Lauren Good from MEDA s DC office and an E FACE colleague Wondwossen It was a really eye opening trip I learned so much from working and traveling with Lauren Wondwossen and the field staff And of course our wonderful clients always teach me so much After a 7 hour car ride we finally arrived in Wolaita We then drove to Sibaye Korke kebele kebele municipality in Damot Gale woreda woreda district to meet with a potato producer cooperative and a group of youth sales agents We were warmly welcomed by one of our female clients a member of the potato producer cooperative who had prepared tasty potatoes for us Lauren and Wondwossen facilitated a focus group discussion verifying information and data for our project s potato intervention I couldn t help but notice all the kids in the area sneaking up around us to see what was going on After this discussion we met with six youth sales agents who participated in the Building Skills for Life program They each shared about their businesses used clothing sugar cane butter coffee cereals and seed teff and what their future aspirations are It was refreshing to hear about their dreams and how the training they received changed their mindsets I interviewed one client named Aynalem and I was so encouraged by her story Despite a difficult life growing up she has worked hard to provide for herself and support her mother As we were leaving I encouraged her to study hard and chase after her dreams T he next day we visited more youth in Humbo Woreda In this group two youth stood out to me They were on time and one brought his record book to show how he keeps track of his expenses sales and savings I could tell they were very serious about their future dreams one wants to become an engineer and the other wants to become a doctor This really amazed me Through their current businesses they know if they work hard continue to save and maximize their profits they can attain their dreams Another theme I noticed among the youth was a sense of empowerment They felt empowered because they were no longer burdening their families They were earning their own income through their respective businesses and can now pay for their own expenses I have no doubt in my mind that these youth will go on to be successful and influential leaders in Ethiopia I have a few months left of my internship so I m eager to meet more clients hear their stories and document how the project facilitated positive change in their lives Tags Communication and Program Support Intern MEDA Interns 2014 MEDA Projects Agriculture Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3920 Hits Saturday 13 December 2014 Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth Improved Livelihoods Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern In early November I woke bright and early to catch a seven AM flight When I arrived at the airport I traveled 1 5 hours to visit three EDGET clients a Farmers Field Schools Group and 2 rice processors Each had a different story to tell about their progress challenges and success It was amazing to finally be able to connect the information I gathered for reports and see how the project is impacting client s lives first hand Knowledge is Power Farmers Field School Group In a town called Libo I walked through hectares and hectares of farmland for what seemed to be hours I almost stepped on a snake and screamed really loud which provided entertainment for the rest of the staff Eventually I reach a series of huts and the group of farmers This was one of EDGET s Farmer Field School FFS Groups Farmers Field Schools is an EDGET initiative that gives farmers the opportunity to view demonstrations and experiment of improved farming techniques Members then share what they learned and their results with their Farmers Field School group members and neighbouring farmers Even though they were shy at first the men opened up to me about their experiences with FFS and described how they have used the new technologies to improve their rice production increase their businesses and ultimately create a better life for themselves and their families Balay Improved Technologies Increased Success After the farmers group I visited a processor named Balay Balay provides a rice processing service for neighbouring farmers Due to the training sessions and opportunities he has received from MEDA through the EDGET program his business is a huge success He also recently bought a rice processing machine on a cost sharing basis with MEDA it combines a number of steps into one The machine produces higher quality rice which increases the value and ultimately the profit Balay believes this machine will be a great investment for his business and his future This machine will not only benefit me as a processor but because it increases the quality of rice the farmers will benefit as well by receiving a greater income for the rice they produced From Fields to Markets The last person we visited was Momina a rice processor turned parboiler turned business woman Momina has been a rice processor with EDGET for a number of years but in 2013 she decided to parboil rice as well Parboiling is an additional step in processing rice that increases the nutritional value and quality Momina has used EDGET s training on market linkages to sell her rice in local markets and several supermarkets in Addis She has not only put parboiled rice on the market but has also shown the value of women as key players and entrepreneurs in the rice industry Tags Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2014 MEDA Projects Continue reading Ethiopia 4387 Hits Wednesday 19 November 2014 Exploring the North Bahir Dar and Lalibela Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern Two weeks ago I went on a weekend trip to Bahir Dar and Lalibela located in northern Ethiopia Since I went to the south for work about a month ago I was excited to see different parts of the country again While I do like Addis it does get tiring with lots of people traffic and pollution It was refreshing to be in more remote parts of the country especially with beautiful landscapes and sunsets that you just don t get in the city I met up with Steph in Bahir Dar first since she was there for work We had dinner along Lake Tana that was lit up by the moonlight The following day we went to see the Blue Nile Falls Saturdays are market days so as we drove one hour to the falls there were lots of people walking with their cattle or goats We met up with our tour guide who led us on a 1 5 hour hike Many times we were face to face with cows walking on the path on their way to the market We saw the Portuguese Bridge and the Blue Nile Falls and then walked back to finish our tour There were many kids selling scarves and hand made crafts along our hike telling us Madam I ll give you a good price I eventually caved and bought one even though I ve already accumulated so many in Addis We relaxed for a few hours and then went for dinner along the lake and watched the sunset In Bahir Dar we took these 3 wheeled scooter type taxis called Bajaj s or Touk touk s they were super cheap and really easy to use After dinner we checked out Kuriftu for dessert along with good talks under a full moon The next part of our trip was to Lalibela a town renowned for its rock hewn churches that were built in the 12th century The story goes that King Lalibela sought to create a New Jerusalem for those who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land The churches were not constructed in a traditional method rather they were excavated and carved from the living rock of monolithic blocks The churches are still used to this day by Orthodox Christians And now that it is a UNESCO heritage site tourism has really taken off over the past few years The landscape in Lalibela reminded me of the Grand Canyon although I ve never been It s very desert like with canyons and plateaus all around After resting up we went to see the churches It was really amazing to see the churches inside and out My favourite was St George the church shaped in a cross We had a really good guide who showed us all 11 churches within 3 5 hours It was an exhausting tour as we walked through passages trenches and in and out of most of the churches While it was overall a really good trip I m glad to be back in Addis After a few days of traveling all you want is the familiarity of your own home and the variety of food options that are available in the city With about four months left of this internship I m hoping to squeeze in a few more trips to see more of Ethiopia It really is a beautiful country I had a few moments throughout this past trip that reminded me that I am very blessed to be here with MEDA and working on a great project that is changing lives Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Economic Opportunities Sightseeing Continue reading Ethiopia 3463 Hits Tuesday 04 November 2014 Almost 2 months down Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern I cannot believe I have been in Ethiopia for nearly 2 months already It s crazy The past few weeks have been pretty uneventful going out from time to time and working lots EDGET has been in the middle of report season so the office has been in full swing I am also excited to report that this week I will going out to Bahir Dar a city north of Addis to work with MEDA s office there For those of you who are still a little unsure of what it is exactly I do here I thought that this would be good opportunity to give you a little more background on EDGET the project I am working with as I will be going out to the field and meeting some of our clients in a couple of days Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade EDGET is a 5 year pro poor value chain development project that is funded by DFATD We aim to increase the income of 10 000 rice farmers and textile artisans by giving improved technologies training on better farming techniques business skills and creating access to local markets and business partnerships Currently we have approximately 8 000 client farmers in the Amhara Region and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region SNNPR and 2 000 textile clients in Addis Ababa and SNNPR So what am I going to be doing in Bahir Dar I am going to be visiting our MEDA office there which is situated in the Amhara Region and following up on three of our rice farmer clients in the surrounding villages Basically I will visit each site and interview the clients on how their business as rice farmers has been what are the challenges they have faced and how they have benefited from participating in the EDGET project With the information gathered I will then conduct some briefs to explain the situation for some donors visiting MEDA Ethiopia next week On Friday Clara is going to come meet me in Bahir Dar and we are going to take this chance to explore a bit of Bahir Dar and some touristy sites Lake Tana the origin of the Nile and Blue Nile Falls Then we are hopping on a plane to Lalibela home to one of the world s most astounding sacred sites eleven rock hewn churches I have a busy and slightly stressful week ahead including the dreaded 5am airport visit tomorrow but hopefully it will be worth it Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Private Sector Development Internship Experience Continue reading Ethiopia 3530 Hits Thursday 16 October 2014 I Am Thankful for Canadian Healthcare Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern Thanksgiving weekend usually a time I would get together with family and stuff my face with way to much turkey resulting in a comatose state for the next 24 hours However this year s Canadian Thanksgiving was a little different and ended up being two polar extremes as you can probably figure out it concluded in a not so festive fashion It started out great and rather unexpected As many of my fellow Waterlooers and German friends know around this time of year Oktoberfest happens Oktoberfest is basically a German event focused celebrating German food music and culture Being in Waterloo for my undergrad years which has a huge population of Germans allowed me to become quite acquainted with this annual celebration It did not even cross our minds that Oktoberfest would be celebrated here in Addis of all places But low and behold we found out that the Hilton Hotel was organizing an Oktoberfest event on the weekend Who would have thought After running around trying to find last minute tickets we made it I was ecstatic it reminded me of being back in Waterloo again The Hilton set up at tent in the back of the hotel and had different types of vendors a huge Oktoberfest themed buffet sausages pretzels the works and even had a German Polka band We met up with some friends enjoyed the event and even danced with some Austrian diplomats till the early hours Sunday was pretty uneventful but I cannot say the same for Thanksgiving Monday My roommate Clara had been pretty weak and out of sorts for a couple days so when she started having pain and could barely stand up we got worried On Monday I left work early to take her to the hospital with Ferkadu First we went to a Swedish clinic specifically for expats and after several lab tests and hundreds of US dollars later they still could not figure out what was wrong To rule out appendix they sent us to an imaging centre all the way across town to get an ultrasound as they are a very small clinic After a couple hours we found out it was not appendix but they still could not figure out what was wrong so we went back to the clinic for further tests Due to some questionable blood results the doctors sent us to the Korean Hospital for further investigation The Korean Hospital is known to be a relatively reputable hospital that many people go to but it was in the next town over just outside of Addis Keep in mind we had been on this quest for already 4 hours and poor Clara was barely surviving This is where I want to talk a bit about the underdevelopments of Ethiopia s transportation system There is road construction everywhere and no traffic lights This can easily make a 30 minute commute a couple of hours especially at night After being in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour and a half we get to the hospital The Korean Hospital is a large hospital that was built by the South Koreans around 20 or so years ago Even though it is considered one of the better ones we were not impressed Not only had the doctor we were supposed to see already left for the day but poor Clara had to go through all the lab tests again and then we waited for the results for another 4 or so hours I was terrified that Clara had to do a procedure there I tried to keep in mind that this is a developing country but when I saw ill people waiting around for hours and in less than acceptable sanitary conditions I was terrified Several hours later we got the test results finally It was just a bad infection and they sent Clara home with antibiotics I was thankful that it was nothing serious and Ferkadu drove us home he stayed with for the entire time It was 11 pm by the time we got home making it 8 hours and countless miles just to find a diagnosis I have waited longer for medical assistance in a Canadian hospital but just seeing the conditions of the medical facilities spending hundreds of dollars and driving around Addis for different tests makes me NEVER want to get sick here I never thought I would say this but thank goodness for Canadian healthcare Regardless Clara got the help she needed I know it could have been much much worse Even though this Thanksgiving turned out to be less than ideal I am thankful I am thankful for the amazing friends we met and had a great time with them weekend I am also eternally grateful for all our amazing MEDA colleagues that helped us make sure that Clara got help on Monday Ethiopia has its ups and downs just like any other country healthcare being a major downfall but having a support system definitely softens the blow Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture National Holiday Experience Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3463 Hits Friday 10 October 2014 E FACE Site Visit in Addis Ababa Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern I had the pleasant surprise of being able to join our team on today s site visits which included various interventions such as Business Owners BOs and Village Savings and Loan Association VSLA Technical and Vocational Education Training TVET and Building Skills for Life The day started out driving across the city to an area called Shiro Meda where we visited the first intervention of BOs and VSLA The youth representatives seemed to get a kick out of seeing me there I m guessing they weren t expecting me to be there While I didn t understand most of the conversations my colleague Tsedey translated what one of the youth shared she spoke about the valuable lessons and training received in the area of saving Through their weekly savings the youth gain capacity to purchase their own notebooks something I wouldn t even have to think twice about back at home Our second visit was to a TVET site where youth received training at a hair salon school When I entered the building the youth were busy working away at doing people s hair It was interesting to see a fair amount of males receiving this training whereas at most hair schools in Canada the students are mostly female My highlight of the entire day was the last site We drove down a very bumpy road to a government work space where youth participants in the Building Skills for Life program were working with weaving looms Building Skills for Life targets young workers ages 14 17 and provides them with practical education and training so that the youth can be empowered to create opportunities for themselves The program also includes technical training on traditional weaving which is what I was able to see for myself through the visit The youth seemed pretty shy as I went around with my camera but once I started getting a few shots some of the youth seemed to be alright with me taking pictures of their work Some of the pieces were very intricate and it amazes me that they learn and develop these skills in order to make a living for themselves at such a young age I m thankful I had the opportunity to join today s site visits It really brought the past few weeks of what I ve been working on in the office to life It s one thing when you see E FACE numbers reports and documents It was refreshing to see the clients and get a better understanding of how this project is really impacting lives especially those in the textile industry Of course I still have so much to learn and grasp about the project and overall child labor in Ethiopia especially in traditional weaving which makes me even more eager to get out into the field and to the sites In the future I ll be traveling to Arba Minch to see E FACE s field work and interventions I m really excited to see a different part of Ethiopia and look forward to meeting more clients Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Agriculture Communication and Program Support Intern MEDA Projects Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 4808 Hits Friday 10 October 2014 One month down five more to go Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern It s been already a month since arriving for my 6 month internship with MEDA Ethiopia Times flies by The past month has mainly consisted of adjusting Adjusting to the climate adjusting to daily living habits using bottled water for everything sanitizing produce expecting unexpected power outages and the list goes on and adjusting to a new work environment and culture Overall I am enjoying life in Addis and am looking forward to getting to know the people and city over the next 5 months A few things I ve been able to do over the past month have included City Tour It was great to see more of Addis a few weeks ago We saw different parts of the city mainly from the car but got to see a nice city view from Entoto Mountain and visited Lucy at the National Museum Addis is a pretty big city compared to where I m from Waterloo ON But it s not as overwhelming as somewhere like Seoul South Korea I have yet to ride a blue donkey 16 passenger vans or they call them taxis but am hoping to soon They re way cheaper than cabs but obviously less comfortable I used to ride them all the time when I spent 2 months in Uganda they call them matatoo so I m guessing it s pretty much the same thing here That way I feel like I ll get to know the city more if I get familiar with local transportation Traditional Dancing Jillian from HQ was in Addis for a few weeks so Steph and I had the chance to go to Yod Abyssinia for Ethiopian traditional dancing and food It was a fun night I got pulled up on stage to dance and while dancing isn t my forte I gave it a shot My brother is an amazing dancer he dances competitively so I did it for him He would have been proud The dance moves weren t too difficult but I still probably looked so bad compared to the Ethiopian dancers Meskel It was Meskel a few weeks ago Meskel means cross in Amharic or the holiday is also known as Finding the True Cross Steph and I went to Meskel Square with our colleague Wondwossen There were thousands and thousands of people there It was quite the experience We managed to find a place to stand at the way back and heard several people speak along with many songs Once it was dusk people started lighting these little wicks It was really amazing how the place just lit up so fast And after much anticipation the huge tower of wood and grass was lit on fire We waited about 2 hours for it to finally happen Everyone was singing and cheering once it was lit and there were fireworks too Leaving the ceremony was crazy though We were squished in a sea of people and eventually managed to get out For the rest of the night on our way home you could see and hear people celebrating in their neighborhoods Life in Addis is really starting to grow on me Since I don t have that much time here I want to do more exploring Already we ve been to Bole a few times checked out Piazza for shopping and the Stadium for great leather In the midst of poverty begging being very in your face there are things that make me laugh and remind me of why I m here Whether it s the smiles and laughs of little kids when I wave or when people are pleased to hear I m Korean Ethiopia and Korea are friends I just learned recently that Ethiopia sent troops to South Korea s aid during the Korean War or getting to know my colleagues at the office these are all things that make it fun and rewarding to be here I definitely feel like the next 5 months are going to fly by so I don t want to waste any time Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Country Culture Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3193 Hits Thursday 25 September 2014 Setting the Tone My first two weeks at MEDA Ethiopia Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern A few words that sum up my first two weeks in the MEDA Ethiopia office are challenging timely and demanding I arrived last week at an extremely busy time for the E FACE Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation team It s reporting season so the entire team has been consumed with working on various reports for our donor the government MEDA HQ and so on I ve seen a glimpse of how MEDA as a non governmental organization operates with a corporate mindset Details matter activities and results matter and there is definitely no room for slacking I see this internship as a great opportunity to learn from experts in the field of international and business development move away from the theory side of things of course theory is still important and witness how practical training and business skills building can dramatically change people s lives While reading through various client success stories I noticed there was a general theme of the long term benefits clients received through good financial habits such as saving or joining a Village Savings and Loans Association VSLA The idea of a VSLA is to reach the very poor typically in remote areas who are unable to or unwilling to receive loans from formal financial institutions such as microfinance Institutions MFIs Thus VSLAs operate as community based saving and credit groups composed of about 10 20 members Each member makes a contribution to a loan fund helping the fund to grow by borrowing from it and paying back the loans with a service charge Based on the E FACE success stories collected so far it helped me realize these kinds of financial decisions can open doors for clients that prior to being part of a VSLA were unimaginable These open doors can range from opening up a shop to sell various goods and products to buy a goat or chicken or to see an increase in income so that children can go to school Although I haven t been out to the field yet I m thankful to have these first few weeks in the office It was a bit overwhelming at first because everyone was so busy But it also gave me assurance that there may very few dull moments throughout my internship because there s always something to do something to read or something to help out with I ve also realized it s really important to remember why I m here and seek out opportunities to grow professionally and personally in and outside of the office Whether it s trying something new or taking initiative to work on a specific skill my work is definitely cut out for me over the next few months I m hoping that this current outlook and perspective will set the tone for this internship Again I m very excited to be here and extremely grateful for the opportunity Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Private Sector Development Agriculture Internship Experience Communication and Program Support Intern Continue reading Ethiopia 3474 Hits Monday 22 September 2014 Exploring Addis Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern W hen we arrived in Ethiopia it was the day before the Ethiopian New Year so the city was in full swing Ethiopian New Year is celebrated on September 11th This is because Ethiopia traditionally follows the Coptic calendar that is 7 years and eight months behind the Western Gregorian Calendar making this year 2007 I know a little strange to think about just because it s different I was taken back when I saw Happy 2007 flash across the screen Ethiopian New Year is a national holiday and basically the entire country shuts down for it It is considered a private event spent with family and lots of food Even though this is considered a quite affair the MEDA staff still wanted us to experience it and introduce us to what this celebration was all about So my supervisor Balay invited Clara and I to his home on New Years to celebrate with his family Here we experienced an array of different types of traditional Ethiopian food eaten more so on special occasions It was incredibly special that he invited us to such a private event and his family was so friendly sharing with us all they love about Ethiopia We will be forever grateful for being able to be a part of such an eye opening and wonderful event On the Saturday our country director Doris invited us for another Ethiopian celebration at her home It felt like Thanksgiving to me because we had turkey they call it soft chicken stuffing and even cranberry sauce I could not believe it We were so incredibly spoiled with so much food that weekend I m not complaining This celebration made me feel like I took a piece of home with me which was very comforting Skip ahead a week we experienced our first week working in the MEDA office getting to know the projects and being introduced to all the staff It has been information overload Learning all about the projects the process of how things are done and actually working an 8 5 job will definitely take getting used to I know it will certainly take some time to adjust and besides being completely exhausted and ready to crash as soon as we get home I am enjoying it so far This past weekend has been low key which I think we both appreciated This past Saturday Fekadu who is one of MEDA s amazing drivers took us on a tour of the city I did not realize Addis was as big as it is granted we have only really travelled a few blocks around the office and our house I was just amazed Addis which is considered one of the hot spots in Africa for political and economic conversation and development the African Union headquarters is also station here also manages to maintain a lot of beauty history and culture Probably my highlight of the tour was driving up Mount Entoto the mountain surrounding the city Addis is a busy and rapidly developing country but when looking down on it from on top of the mountain provided a different view and pictures just do not do it justice Addis is beautiful Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture National Holiday Experience Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3224 Hits Thursday 18 September 2014 Arrival in Addis Ababa Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern Two months ago I had no idea what my next step was going to be as a new professional in international development not alone what part of the world I was going to end up in It only really hit me once we landed All I could see outside the airplane window was large green rolling hills I knew then that I had definitely left Toronto I was so relieved that we had arrived safely and was very eager to get off of the plane as I had been sitting for 13 5 hours straight After exiting the airport I felt like I was in a completely different world One thing I automatically noticed is the drastic difference in wealth among the people Ethiopia has a population of approximately 94 million making it the most populous landlocked country Ethiopia is also one of the world s poorest nations According to the UNDP s 2013 human development index Ethiopia ranks 173 out of 187 countries and 40 of its population lives on less than US 1 25 a day Roads are shared with livestock and due to the fast growing economy there is construction in every possible direction It was especially busy the day we arrived because it was the day before Ethiopian New Year Even though it is a very busy city I consider Addis to be very beautiful There are lush palm trees and when the clouds clear the view of the hills is beautiful Once we arrived at our house our lovely landlady Tsedey had a coffee ceremony for us I knew that coffee is a staple in Ethiopia but what I did not know is that the coffee ceremony is an integral part of Ethiopian social and cultural life An invitation to a ceremony is considered a mark of friendship and represents great hospitality The process consisted of roasting the coffee beans over a tiny charcoal stove with incense burning Tsedey then took the beans and let us smell them from the stove before grinding them with a pestle and mortar After the grounded coffee beans were put in a special boiling pot called a jebena that strains and boils the coffee and water Once the coffee was ready Tsedey served it to us with homemade popcorn which I later realized is a common part of the coffee ceremony Some coffee ceremonies may be slightly different from the one I experienced but for the most part they follow similar steps One thing is certain Ethiopian coffee is fantastic It is a lot cooler here than I expected September is still considered to be a part of the rainy season so it rains on and off daily while also dropping in temperature especially at night In the evening of the day we arrived the other intern Clara and I woke up freezing and with no electricity also common So we had to improvise and make oatmeal over a gas stove and eat it out of mugs while huddled in our blankets Our first day in Ethiopia was definitely an adventure to say the least When I

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  • A trip to the ocean, a time to reflect - MEDA
    opening There was much more variety and selection compared to what s available in Addis We were also very excited about the nice cafes restaurants and the mall in Nyali From a development perspective I began to notice quickly the differences between Ethiopia and Kenya Ethiopia follows a state led development model and the government protects the economy from foreign franchises Kenya on the other hand has scaled back the role of the state liberalized markets and embraced a Western model of development Our time in Mombasa was short and sweet We didn t travel around too much but mainly relaxed by the beach ate food we can t find in Addis and spent time getting to know the guests at our hostel Our stay at the hostel was pretty unique The owner recently moved into the current house a few months ago so it didn t feel like home yet and was missing her personal touches We were there when artwork curtains and the like were being put up To see her and express that she was coming alive again was something that excited me I m all for pursuing things opportunities and people in life that make you come alive Of course we all go through different seasons some much more difficult than others But ensuring that there s life in what you do is vital During our trip I was reading a book called The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg It s a timely read because I ve experienced many challenges opportunities to grow and self discover throughout this internship If there s one thing that I realized recently it s this for some time I got lost in questions and uncertainty about the future which made me doubt my dreams passions and capabilities It s a downward spiral if you don t quickly realize there s a process to figuring it all out And answers don t always come quickly or conveniently Being confident and certain in who I am in my faith in the Lord regardless of circumstances is what will keep me grounded A quote from the book that I love is this life is not about any particular achievement or experience The most important task of your life is not what you do but who you become It s already nearing the end of January which means I have less than two months left It feels like there isn t enough time to get everything done so it s crunch time I m excited to go to the field next week and spend time collecting most significant change MSC stories from our clients My sister wrote in her Christmas card to me There s no CAP to what you can learn there I want to hold onto this Each day there are new things to learn from different people opportunities and situations There is no cap Tweet Tags Agriculture Communication and Program Support Intern Sightseeing Private Sector Development MEDA Interns

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  • MEDA
    new year because it s a fresh start and I gather together hopes and dreams for another year The year 2014 has had its ups and downs and at the beginning of the year I never would ve thought I d be in Ethiopia working with MEDA Now that it s the end of the year I can say that despite this year s challenges all of the obstacles and experiences have helped me grow as a person and being on this internship has contributed much to this growth Tags MEDA Interns 2014 National Holiday Experience Private Sector Development Agriculture Communication and Program Support Intern Continue reading Ethiopia 3628 Hits Tuesday 16 December 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Big Dreams Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern It s the holiday season back in Canada and I m trying my best to be present and thankful in my current circumstances here in Ethiopia While I could compare and wish that I was back at home there are so many things to be thankful for I am part of a really great project E FACE and am loving the work that I get to do Here s a little snippet of what I did a few weeks ago I went on a field visit in the South for a few days with Lauren Good from MEDA s DC office and an E FACE colleague Wondwossen It was a really eye opening trip I learned so much from working and traveling with Lauren Wondwossen and the field staff And of course our wonderful clients always teach me so much After a 7 hour car ride we finally arrived in Wolaita We then drove to Sibaye Korke kebele kebele municipality in Damot Gale woreda woreda district to meet with a potato producer cooperative and a group of youth sales agents We were warmly welcomed by one of our female clients a member of the potato producer cooperative who had prepared tasty potatoes for us Lauren and Wondwossen facilitated a focus group discussion verifying information and data for our project s potato intervention I couldn t help but notice all the kids in the area sneaking up around us to see what was going on After this discussion we met with six youth sales agents who participated in the Building Skills for Life program They each shared about their businesses used clothing sugar cane butter coffee cereals and seed teff and what their future aspirations are It was refreshing to hear about their dreams and how the training they received changed their mindsets I interviewed one client named Aynalem and I was so encouraged by her story Despite a difficult life growing up she has worked hard to provide for herself and support her mother As we were leaving I encouraged her to study hard and chase after her dreams T he next day we visited more youth in Humbo Woreda In this group two youth stood out to me They were on time and one brought his record book to show how he keeps track of his expenses sales and savings I could tell they were very serious about their future dreams one wants to become an engineer and the other wants to become a doctor This really amazed me Through their current businesses they know if they work hard continue to save and maximize their profits they can attain their dreams Another theme I noticed among the youth was a sense of empowerment They felt empowered because they were no longer burdening their families They were earning their own income through their respective businesses and can now pay for their own expenses I have no doubt in my mind that these youth will go on to be successful and influential leaders in Ethiopia I have a few months left of my internship so I m eager to meet more clients hear their stories and document how the project facilitated positive change in their lives Tags Communication and Program Support Intern MEDA Interns 2014 MEDA Projects Agriculture Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3920 Hits Wednesday 19 November 2014 Exploring the North Bahir Dar and Lalibela Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern Two weeks ago I went on a weekend trip to Bahir Dar and Lalibela located in northern Ethiopia Since I went to the south for work about a month ago I was excited to see different parts of the country again While I do like Addis it does get tiring with lots of people traffic and pollution It was refreshing to be in more remote parts of the country especially with beautiful landscapes and sunsets that you just don t get in the city I met up with Steph in Bahir Dar first since she was there for work We had dinner along Lake Tana that was lit up by the moonlight The following day we went to see the Blue Nile Falls Saturdays are market days so as we drove one hour to the falls there were lots of people walking with their cattle or goats We met up with our tour guide who led us on a 1 5 hour hike Many times we were face to face with cows walking on the path on their way to the market We saw the Portuguese Bridge and the Blue Nile Falls and then walked back to finish our tour There were many kids selling scarves and hand made crafts along our hike telling us Madam I ll give you a good price I eventually caved and bought one even though I ve already accumulated so many in Addis We relaxed for a few hours and then went for dinner along the lake and watched the sunset In Bahir Dar we took these 3 wheeled scooter type taxis called Bajaj s or Touk touk s they were super cheap and really easy to use After dinner we checked out Kuriftu for dessert along with good talks under a full moon The next part of our trip was to Lalibela a town renowned for its rock hewn churches that were built in the 12th century The story goes that King Lalibela sought to create a New Jerusalem for those who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land The churches were not constructed in a traditional method rather they were excavated and carved from the living rock of monolithic blocks The churches are still used to this day by Orthodox Christians And now that it is a UNESCO heritage site tourism has really taken off over the past few years The landscape in Lalibela reminded me of the Grand Canyon although I ve never been It s very desert like with canyons and plateaus all around After resting up we went to see the churches It was really amazing to see the churches inside and out My favourite was St George the church shaped in a cross We had a really good guide who showed us all 11 churches within 3 5 hours It was an exhausting tour as we walked through passages trenches and in and out of most of the churches While it was overall a really good trip I m glad to be back in Addis After a few days of traveling all you want is the familiarity of your own home and the variety of food options that are available in the city With about four months left of this internship I m hoping to squeeze in a few more trips to see more of Ethiopia It really is a beautiful country I had a few moments throughout this past trip that reminded me that I am very blessed to be here with MEDA and working on a great project that is changing lives Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Economic Opportunities Sightseeing Continue reading Ethiopia 3463 Hits Thursday 30 October 2014 Arba Minch A humbling visit with VSLA groups in Chano Dorga Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern I recently traveled to Arba Minch for my first field visit in southern Ethiopia The main purpose of the trip was to visit clients and collect information to write up briefs for an donor tour that s taking place here in a few weeks Spending a few days out of the city was refreshing I especially appreciated meeting various clients hearing from them personally how they have been positively impacted by the project I also gained a new appreciation for our field staff in Arba Minch who are vital to the project They hosted me very well in the midst of their busy schedules The highlight of the trip was our first site visit We went to a village called Chano Dorga to meet with 2 Village Savings and Loans Association VSLA groups I m thankful to have been there for the first 1 5 days with Doris our country manager She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in micro finance and international development Doris asked the questions and then the clients responses were translated I wrote down everything as fast as I could The members of both VSLA groups were eager to speak and share their successes with us They were also very thankful to the project as I often heard ameseginalehu which means thank you While Ethiopians living in rural parts of the country have awareness of traditional saving methods it s still difficult to save Generally saving habits are poor due to low levels of income or lack of financial literacy However through the project clients training and education on financial literacy how to save budget and access credit Through this training they can take steps to start improving their household income When target households experience livelihood improvements their vulnerability to resorting to child labor decreases This is huge When I first read about E FACE I didn t quite understand the connection of why our project was working in the South Yet I learned that traditional weaving is originally from the South and there is a growing demand for hand woven textile products This is why child labor and child trafficking are such big issues in Ethiopia The diligence of these savings groups really amazed me They initially started out saving 5 ETB 25 cents USD a week and now they save 10 ETB 50 cents USD Some members even save two fold in which they receive more in dividends It was humbling to sit with them in their village and hear their stories Saving a small amount of money each week has opened up opportunities that they otherwise would not have had This is why the successes and life changes of our E FACE clients are very inspiring They save each week for the sake of their families and communities They also took the knowledge and skills offered through the project and put them into practice to bring positive change to their families and communities I don t think the issue of financial illiteracy is isolated to developing countries In North America debt is a really big problem It may be a different strand of financial issues but perhaps reveals learning about finance and money is needed back at home as well I personally would like to learn more about personal finances how to budget and how to save These are skills and habits that require training awareness and self discipline It s really exciting to hear about our clients future plans and aspirations as they have set goals to save more and expand their business endeavours I hope to have another opportunity to visit the field meet more clients and capture more of their success stories to demonstrate the amazing work being done through E FACE Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Economic Opportunities Youth MEDA Projects Communication and Program Support Intern Continue reading Ethiopia 4012 Hits Friday 10 October 2014 E FACE Site Visit in Addis Ababa Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern I had the pleasant surprise of being able to join our team on today s site visits which included various interventions such as Business Owners BOs and Village Savings and Loan Association VSLA Technical and Vocational Education Training TVET and Building Skills for Life The day started out driving across the city to an area called Shiro Meda where we visited the first intervention of BOs and VSLA The youth representatives seemed to get a kick out of seeing me there I m guessing they weren t expecting me to be there While I didn t understand most of the conversations my colleague Tsedey translated what one of the youth shared she spoke about the valuable lessons and training received in the area of saving Through their weekly savings the youth gain capacity to purchase their own notebooks something I wouldn t even have to think twice about back at home Our second visit was to a TVET site where youth received training at a hair salon school When I entered the building the youth were busy working away at doing people s hair It was interesting to see a fair amount of males receiving this training whereas at most hair schools in Canada the students are mostly female My highlight of the entire day was the last site We drove down a very bumpy road to a government work space where youth participants in the Building Skills for Life program were working with weaving looms Building Skills for Life targets young workers ages 14 17 and provides them with practical education and training so that the youth can be empowered to create opportunities for themselves The program also includes technical training on traditional weaving which is what I was able to see for myself through the visit The youth seemed pretty shy as I went around with my camera but once I started getting a few shots some of the youth seemed to be alright with me taking pictures of their work Some of the pieces were very intricate and it amazes me that they learn and develop these skills in order to make a living for themselves at such a young age I m thankful I had the opportunity to join today s site visits It really brought the past few weeks of what I ve been working on in the office to life It s one thing when you see E FACE numbers reports and documents It was refreshing to see the clients and get a better understanding of how this project is really impacting lives especially those in the textile industry Of course I still have so much to learn and grasp about the project and overall child labor in Ethiopia especially in traditional weaving which makes me even more eager to get out into the field and to the sites In the future I ll be traveling to Arba Minch to see E FACE s field work and interventions I m really excited to see a different part of Ethiopia and look forward to meeting more clients Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Agriculture Communication and Program Support Intern MEDA Projects Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 4808 Hits Friday 10 October 2014 One month down five more to go Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern It s been already a month since arriving for my 6 month internship with MEDA Ethiopia Times flies by The past month has mainly consisted of adjusting Adjusting to the climate adjusting to daily living habits using bottled water for everything sanitizing produce expecting unexpected power outages and the list goes on and adjusting to a new work environment and culture Overall I am enjoying life in Addis and am looking forward to getting to know the people and city over the next 5 months A few things I ve been able to do over the past month have included City Tour It was great to see more of Addis a few weeks ago We saw different parts of the city mainly from the car but got to see a nice city view from Entoto Mountain and visited Lucy at the National Museum Addis is a pretty big city compared to where I m from Waterloo ON But it s not as overwhelming as somewhere like Seoul South Korea I have yet to ride a blue donkey 16 passenger vans or they call them taxis but am hoping to soon They re way cheaper than cabs but obviously less comfortable I used to ride them all the time when I spent 2 months in Uganda they call them matatoo so I m guessing it s pretty much the same thing here That way I feel like I ll get to know the city more if I get familiar with local transportation Traditional Dancing Jillian from HQ was in Addis for a few weeks so Steph and I had the chance to go to Yod Abyssinia for Ethiopian traditional dancing and food It was a fun night I got pulled up on stage to dance and while dancing isn t my forte I gave it a shot My brother is an amazing dancer he dances competitively so I did it for him He would have been proud The dance moves weren t too difficult but I still probably looked so bad compared to the Ethiopian dancers Meskel It was Meskel a few weeks ago Meskel means cross in Amharic or the holiday is also known as Finding the True Cross Steph and I went to Meskel Square with our colleague Wondwossen There were thousands and thousands of people there It was quite the experience We managed to find a place to stand at the way back and heard several people speak along with many songs Once it was dusk people started lighting these little wicks It was really amazing how the place just lit up so fast And after much anticipation the huge tower of wood and grass was lit on fire We waited about

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  • Sightseeing
    going to let it bring down the trip After some back and fourth banter and pulling up every email I could find to help me I was finally able to convince them to give me a ticket Yes of course there were a few tears but come on you can t even deny it doesn t help me I think tears my be my superpower at least to some heartwarming Africans Tags MEDA Interns 2013 Health Sightseeing Private Sector Development Impact Assessment Intern Continue reading Tanzania 3380 Hits Friday 18 April 2014 Overflowing with Tears in Rwanda Mary Fehr Impact Assessment Intern Market Access Health This is a story that simply cannot wait I am in awe of the way life has a funny way of working around us no matter how hard we try and force it in the direction we would like I was on my way to Kigali with my friend Chrissy we were to meet outside the airport unfortunately the unpredictable traffic in Dar was causing her such an issue that we were not sure she was going to be able to make the trip I was ready to fly out myself when she was able to show up just in time As we sat for a few minutes before we boarded the plane laughing about how much someone clearly did not want her to make it to Rwanda to see the Gorillas the announcement was made and it was time to board We approached the boarding gate when she realized she could not find her ticket they would not let her on the plane if she did not have that We looked through everything even where we were sitting and nothing it was looking grim Then just in time magically appears her ticket stub hidden in one of the pages of her passport As we arrive in Kenya we are on the bus heading to the terminal when we check the clock we had just over 5 minutes to get on the next plane This is unbelievable We run to the gate when they inform us we still have a little bit of time but now they need to see a printed copy of my visa for Rwanda only I didn t print it out I only have it in my email on my computer That is not acceptable They inform me of a print shop a few gates down 8 to be exact I speed walk across the airport terminal only to find out the printer is not working I speed walk back across to the Rwanda Airways gate the manager is there and gives me the go ahead As we board the plane take our seats and again laugh about how Rwanda really must not want us The plane ride was quick and we were ready for a great vacation in Rwanda if only it was that easy After a short flight the plane lands quickly gathering our things we head off the plane and onto the bus ready to take us to immigration Shortly after stepping off the bus I noticed I was missing something my passport I had left my passport on the plane It wasn t long before I was back on the plane searching for my passport I knew I left it there but it was absolutely nowhere to be found Devastated scared frustrated I made my way back to the immigration officers where I tried to work out a way that they would let me into Kigali no luck Since Rwanda had never seen my passport I was technically not even in the country the only solution was to ship me back to Dar so I could get it figured out My heart sunk I would not be able to explore Rwanda with my friends For anyone who knows me understands just how many tears my body produces and that night was no exception Luckily I have met so many amazing people out here and Chrissy was just too kind of a person to leave me stranded in the airport alone She spent the night in the Rwandan airport with me fighting for me laughing at the luck we had and comforting me when I just couldn t hold it together anymore After a long night of arguing and getting further away from a solution it was time for the daily flight from Kigali to Nairobi I had to return to Nairobi since that was where I stopped on the way over half an hour before they were able to give me a boarding pass and I was on my way back to Nairobi The flight was short I slept for most of it cried through the rest but none the less was there before I knew it Arriving in Nairobi unsure of what was to happen next I looked around cautiously for someone I could trust to help me A young lady a few years older then me had overheard my situation and could see the stress in my face She came over and checked to see if there was anything she could help me with Her kindness was incredible offering her phone so I could call Rwanda which was now long distance checking in on me a couple times before she left the airport and a giant hug at the exact moment I was getting overwhelmed again I was able to find a couple immigration officers that would help me with the next lag of my journey it was a simple comment that they didn t understand why I had no passport that just had the tears streaming down my face again They were terrified doing everything they could to get me to stop crying and even had me laughing with their inspirational speech of how I must learn to be tough if I am going to live in Africa Eventually after many chats with the embassy airlines and the Kigali airport they had booked me a flight back to Dar es Salaam I had a wonderful escort who had obviously heard how many tears I had shed in immigration explaining to me that she is also a crybaby She did a wonderful job putting a smile on my face and making me feel that everything was going to be okay I had explained my situation a few more times to the Kenya Airways flight attendants and now was just waiting for a boarding pass to be printed With a few hours before my flight I decided it was probably time to eat something and headed for lunch I had just ordered when I heard Mary Catherine please report to Gate 6 Mary Catherine please find Gate 6 In my head I thought they must have my boarding pass so in a rush I asked them to pack up my food and took the long walk back to gate 6 When I got there the first lady had quite a smile on her face and said she had to call her manager A few more people passed all looking at me with these silly grins on their faces something was up The Rwanda Air Manager finally walks around the corner and starts with You lucky girl Someone had turned in my passport just a few minutes ago in Kigali I was in awe No words were able to explain the relief excitement and disbelief that I felt Obviously I started to cry The manager of Rwanda Air was so lovely and had already arranged for a free flight back to Kigali and a free flight on Monday I was going to get my dream vacation yet well I hope still sitting in the Nairobi airport waiting to take off to Rwanda Wish me luck Tags Impact Assessment Intern Health MEDA Interns 2013 Private Sector Development Sightseeing Continue reading Tanzania 3515 Hits Friday 04 April 2014 Zanzibar Just Never Gets Old Mary Fehr Impact Assessment Intern Market Access Health Well this past weekend was one more goodbye that had to be made so for Parneet s last weekend we decided to take a trip to our beloved little paradise Zanzibar There is something magical about that place This was my 5th time in Zanzibar and every time I go it has a completely different feeling all great in there own way This time because we were a larger group we all decided to plan our own transport there which let me tell you is WAY easier As a resident in Tanzania I get everything for about the third of the price my non resident friends would get The ferry for me is only about 20 dollars unfortunately I was not able to take work off that early at this time so with a few others we took a quick 30 minute flight over which for me costs about the same a non resident would on the ferry Arriving Friday night we head over to a beautiful rooftop patio for some dinner and drinks to start off what was sure to be an unforgettable weekend As we all gather together watching the most beautiful array of colors painted across the sky from sundown we catch up on everything even though I saw most of these people the night before Our group of friends may not all be quite as much of an extrovert as me but they are pretty close and it is quite rare that we do not spend every evening together Never the less we learn about each others days the struggles the successes the miscommunication we would have encountered with someone that day After dinner we all pile into a large van and make our way from Stonetown to Paje where we will be staying for the weekend Still not sure of where we are to stay as if is easier to simply show up and find a place then to book online well for those who have the extremely useful skill of negotiating we find a beautiful place on the beach with enough rooms for all of us and not too pricey quite the deal It was a long night full of laughter and many memories created a great start to the weekend The morning was a quick clean up enjoyed some breakfast and we were packed up and ready to head out to the real treat of the weekend We had recently heard of these private villas you may rent so on we were all piled in the van for a short drive down the road to Raha Lodge After a few minutes of searching for this place through the local village we spotted a rickety old wooden sign that pointed us in the right direction The place was absolutely gorgeous In Swahili Raha means happiness which is definitely the way we all felt exploring our new home for the night It wasn t long after we got out of the car that thunder and lightning began to shriek through the building and the rain started to downpour It was that kind of thunderstorm where all you want is to cuddle up under a blanket with a cup of tea and watch the sky light up It was going to put a hold on swimming and tanning on the beach for the day but the thing about these friends is that it is almost impossible to have a bad time As we sat under the roof watching the rain pour down we exchanged stories played some games and simply enjoyed each other s company Shortly after the sky cleared up and the weekend played out exactly how we had hoped even returning home sunburnt but no matter how the weather would have reacted I am positive we would have made it an unforgettable weekend It is easy to say that people are the most important thing in my life and I truly don t know what I would do in this country without them There is something special about connecting with others who are also away from the home they knew before this Friendships are formed quickly trust is unbelievably high and boredom is never an issue because there is always something new to learn It was another great and completely unique weekend in Zanzibar A little paradise Tags Health Impact Assessment Intern Sightseeing Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2013 Continue reading Tanzania 3800 Hits Monday 03 March 2014 A Little Taste of Nicaragua Sarah French Impact Assessment Intern Market Access Agriculture I had a wonderful chance to go to Little Corn Island which is located on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get away from the cold weather There are two islands Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island The islands add an interesting aspect to Nicaragua It is most well known for being occupied by pirates in the 1800 s The islands were under British rule and served as a refuge for the pirates The population of Little Corn Island today is 1 200 with a large mestizo population people of mixed European and Indian ancestry and direct descendants of pirates There are also Garifuna people the descendants of Carib Arawak and West African people and indigenous Miskito people from Caribbean Mosquito coast The islanders speak an English speaking Creole that originated from a mixed black heritage of English settlers and slaves brought over from Africa English is the official language on the Corn Islands followed by Miskito and Spanish The locals make their living from harvesting lobster and fishing Life moves at slow pace and reggae is the music of the islands There is a famous local dish called Run Down It is a stew in coconut milk with fish and lobster tail with a variety of root vegetables The Caribbean side offers a wide variety of activities including scuba diving I had the chance to get my open water diving certification I saw stingrays nurse sharks and sea turtles I also did a night dive which I was completely scared of but was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had Aside from the culture and beautiful landscape Little Corn Island seems to be a destination for Canadians Throughout my internship I have not met many Canadians until the island The majority of tourists were from Canada and a few were from the United States and Europe On returning from my trip I had met an American couple that works for the Mennonite Central Committee Canada They were very excited to hear that I have been doing an internship with MEDA and told me they continuously follow MEDA This is one example of the many people I met that were interested in hearing more about MEDA and the work that is being done in Nicaragua and around the world Tags Agriculture Impact Assessment Intern Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2013 Sightseeing Continue reading Nicaragua 3654 Hits Monday 10 February 2014 From Dar with love Shaunet Lewinson Business Development Advisor Market Access Agriculture After four months of living and working in Ethiopia I was presented with an amazing opportunity to visit Tanzania Without hesitation I jumped at the idea of travelling to Dar Es Salaam and working from the MEDA Tanzania office for the week In the days before my trip I attempted to memorize as many Swahili words as possible I wanted to impress the office with my extensive Swahili vocabulary In reality I ended up learning only 3 phrases Habari hello Asante Sana thank you very much and Rafiki friend It was enough for me and the next week I was off to Dar Es Salaam When I arrived I was immediately greeted by an intense humidity Living in Addis the weather is generally windy and cool so I was not prepared for the weather I grabbed my bags and met Mary the Tanzania Intern at the front We hopped into the bajaj and that began my adventures in Tanzania During my week I was tasked with writing a report about the wildly successful Tanzania bed net voucher scheme As the E FACE project in Ethiopia uses voucher schemes for their own interventions I was sent to analyze the Tanzania voucher system and suggest ways to incorporate a similar system into the E FACE project This required me to spend a lot of time with the IT department who also happened to have amazing air conditioning in their work space By the end of the information gathering sessions I felt like a part the team and I knew I would have a difficult time saying goodbye at the end of the week That weekend I was able to visit Zanzibar with Mary and Curtis as my personal tour guides We flew in by plane which allowed me to view the beautiful island from above The best way to describe Zanzibar is paradise on earth The blue turquoise waters the beautiful white sands and the lush palm trees all left me speechless We were able to explore the eastern side of the island as well as the beautiful Stone Town The entire trip lasted a few days but it felt like a second and by the time we took the ferry back to Dar I was already missing Zanzibar To say I was spoiled during this trip would be the understatement of the century I was so well taken care of by the MEDA Tanzania office my fellow interns Mary and Curtis and the people I met throughout the trip I wish I could have stayed A LOT longer but it was time to go back to Addis I will definitely be returning in the future hopefully sooner rather than later Tags Agriculture Business Development Advisor Intern Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2013 Sightseeing Continue reading Ethiopia 3754 Hits Wednesday 29 January 2014 Afriroots Dar Tour Curtis Shane I T Development Intern Market Access Health Afriroots is a group that is working with local communities first hand in Dar Es Salaam so traveling with them is direct community benefiting tourism They are giving back to places they visit I have had the privilege of taking two different tours they offer The Biking Tour of Tandale Sinza twice as well as a city centre Historical Walking Tour On the historic tour we visited government sites churches mosques and the memorial for the Askari soldiers who fought in the British Carrier Corps in World War I as well as the New African Hotel where Malcolm X visited while in Dar and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute where medical discoveries were made On the biking tours you visit a formal market area designed by the government to try and clean up the markets which is barely used and underutilized as it s often in a terrible location or away from the street or main roads Also you visit an informal market area where it is very busy with people selling every fruit and vegetable imaginable from small stalls bordering the side of the busy roadway It also has a clothing market area attached to it whereby men have piles of clothing available at their stalls Some have piles of shoes sometimes not even in pairs other may have loads of jeans or t shirts They buy the bundles in bulk off of ships from other parts of the world and then distribute the items to whoever will buy them The market sellers know where the customers are and don t want to move the businesses to an area that isn t busy with passing buyers and foot traffic Other areas we experienced were a traditional coffee stop where young men were getting ready for the day making Swahili coast coffee crushing the beans and mixing with boiling water They have made a contraption that is used to transport coffee around the city while they walk the streets for a few hours selling their coffee The steel pot keeps the kahawa coffee hot and has a holder so it doesn t burn the hand of the carrier To go along with the kahawa is a sweet brittle type peanut bar which most people eat with their coffee You will often see these guys walking around in the morning or at night with their signature steel pots The tour takes the back roads to these spots with vibrant community and street life keeping the Bongo city in motion The next location we visited was mama s small chapatti and chai tea shop in the Mwananyamala area She used to live across the street from her location but was forced out of it years ago Some friends have since helped her get a small steel shelter area where she has a seating area to serve customers for the morning breakfast of chapatti and chai a common breakfast staples in the Swahili coast My own mom even tried to pika cook some chapatti herself flattening it out and heating it up in the pan We continued biking to a traditional homestead of Tanganyika this was mainland Tanzania s name before it merged with Zanzibar to become Tan Zan ia Pre dating independence from colonial rule in 1961 it is a called a wazaramo from one of the first neighborhoods of Dar and the Bantu people It had multiple large rooms where a whole family would sleep in After we were off to a shop selling homemade remedies and fixes It had all kinds of old peanut butter jars full of different mixes and healing powders A few examples were leaves mixed together to produce a beauty cream formula and a treatment for mosquito bites As well as a few bottles some of which had a love potion Across the street from this location was a typical kitenge or kanga shop where they were selling the many different colours and patterns of cloth The difference between a Zanzibar kitenge and a mainland one is by the saying The Zanzibarian ones are more thrash and talking about revolution Often women won t even look at the colours of the material or border pattern and will buy the item based on what the saying is Most are message about good life secrets and religion almost like a Swahili fortune cookie saying The kitenge is a larger piece of fabric used for sewing dresses and is either worn like kangas wrapped around women s hips or brought to a tailor The next stop was a small theatre where watoto children would frequent on weekends At this location they can pay a small coin price a few hundred Tshillings to see a new movie DVD a favourite cartoon or Swahili feature In a tin shack a small colour TV is placed in front of multiple benches where lots of kids sit having a good time We then went through one of the lowest income areas in the city of Dar Es Salaam called Tandale and yet the people are quite humble This area has informal settlements where they face multiple challenges in areas like sanitation wastewater management and infrastructure T hey live close to a very polluted river that runs through the city During heavy rainy season the area where hundreds of people pass every day will often be flooded and impassable With the help of the AfriRoots tours they were able to replace the makeshift log bridge with a concrete structure to help people bajaji vehicles wagons etc crossing the busy area However during the recent short rains the bridge foundations had shifted in the river and the bridge is broken again More money needs to be invested to build a better more stable bridge with better footings able to withstand the wrath of the river Next to this area are a few families and groups who are selling recycled items The one lady has taken old and discarded material scrapes from fabric shops and put them together with a zipper to make a purse as well as welcome mats made of the same material Other men had found old wires and fixed them together in a frame to form different animals Afterwards they would put paper and a mix of mud to cover the wires in a papier mâché form They also have their own community garden growing vegetables and plants which are used to cure different diseases and health problems common to the areas residents The area has village based conservation and now sees an increase in sources of income due to the tours Some very amazing progressive work is going on in here in one of the poorest parts of the city It is a shame however the area often gets overlooked as inaccessible by the city government for building and health projects Afterwards we were off to Sinza a middle class income area of the city with a rising population in Dar This area has smaller cheaper hotels and motels along with plenty of small shops and thriving businesses housing plenty of hard working young Swahili and traditional Tanzania professionals who work in the city centre or other parts of the city This is a part of Dar where rapid urbanization is taking place At the end we ended up back at busy Bagamoyo Road This tour is highly recommended to see parts of the real Dar Es Salaam worth experiencing that are often hard to get to by the average foreigner The guides are very knowledgeable spoke great English while they taught us plenty of history and culture of the surrounding areas On the tour you gain first hand experiences of the social issues facing Dar Es Salaam living conditions of families urbanization infrastructure and the urban environment You visit markets and meet the people who work and innovate in the informal economy hearing about the everyday struggles they face Tags Sightseeing Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2013 Health I T Development Intern Continue reading Tanzania 4266 Hits Tuesday 28 January 2014 Cape Coast and Castles Jessica Adach Gender Intern Women s Economic Opportunities In before heading back to Canada for Christmas I joined Daniel and Gillian on a weekend trip to Cape Coast and Elmina beach locations known for their beautiful scenery and fascinating history After taking an overnight bus to Accra on which we endured hours upon hours of Ghanaian soap operas playing at full blast regardless of the time of night and surviving a tight tro tro journey to Elmina we made it to a quiet and secluded eco lodge just in time to see the sunrise over the ocean Though we were tired we powered on through the day enjoying coffees on the beach front property swimming in the ocean and delicious breakfasts But it wasn t all relaxation and drinking out of coconuts though that was one of the highlights Later in the day we walked through the fishing community to Elmina Castle one of the fortresses that housed Ghanaians and other West African populations before they were shipped to various parts of the world during the slave trade Passing through the hands of the Portuguese Dutch and British this 17th Century castle imprisoned Ghanaians as well as those from Burkina Faso Mali the Ivory Coast and other surrounding areas These prisoners who would later become slaves in the Americas and other parts of the world included men women and children who were separated and contained in different cells These small rooms were packed often with hundreds more people than the capacity allowed We saw the door of no return the only exit these prisoners could leave through that led them directly out into the waiting ships It was a chilling experience to be guided through the various rooms and cells hearing these stories of suffering Nonetheless we were all glad we took the tour to learn more about this period After our stay in Elmina we packed up and made our way back east stopping in Cape Coast staying at a cozy vegetarian friendly guesthouse to explore the city and it s UNESCO world heritage site Cape Coast Castle Many aspects of fortress were similar to what we saw in Elmina it was built in the same timeframe had passed through many different hands of ownership and served the same purpose However the stories we heard of prisoners who had been held captive were different and told individual tales of suffering There were chains still intact in the cell walls and iron bars covering the few small pockets of light that were allowed in Although it was a beautiful and warm day I was chilled walking though the courtyards thinking of the atrocities that had happened here I m so glad we had the opportunity to visit the castle it is an experience I won t soon forget Leaving our vacation spot and heading to Tamale I felt extremely fulfilled Over the weekend I was able to enjoy extravagant meals campfires by the beach and the ocean waves things that may mark a typical beach vacation but I also learned more about Ghanaian history I certainly left with a tan but more importantly I left with an awareness of the past Tags Gender Intern Economic Opportunities MEDA Interns 2013 Women Sightseeing Continue reading Ghana 4222 Hits Wednesday 15 January 2014 Climbing Mt Meru in under two minutes Daniel Penner Communications Impact Assessment Intern Women s Economic Development A benefit of living and working abroad for MEDA is travel What used to be across an ocean is suddenly a short or maybe just shorter distance away Also through our network of fellow interns we have places to crash and people to travel with Not bad at all In December I took advantage of that Here s a short video that I made from a portion of a Tanzania trip Tags Economic Opportunities Sightseeing Women MEDA Interns 2013 Communications Impact Assessment Intern Continue reading Ghana 3558 Hits Friday 10 January 2014 Let s Go Fishing Sarah French Impact Assessment Intern Market Access Agriculture Christmas wasn t normal but I m not complaining one bit This is the fourth Christmas I haven t been in Canada and I swear each time is a new experience For the Christmas holiday I was in Jaco Costa Rica On Christmas day I was on the beach sipping on coconut water and eating sponge coconut see why I m not complaining I went with a Costa Rican family also known as Ticas who had packed a big picnic and this is what my Christmas was The rest of the holiday was spent relaxing on the beach and going fishing I had been ice fishing and camping and fishing before in Canada but nothing compares to fishing in the sea My friends caught red snapper dorado and sail fish I caught a sail fish I can see how fishing can be addicting It took all my effort to real in the fish and the fish fights back and jumps in the air Once I reeled in the fish I was so shocked to see that it was about the same size as me The fish have beautiful colors and are all completely different It was also beautiful seeing dolphins swim beside the boat and schools of fish jumping to get away from bigger fish chasing them Not only did I get to see the beauty of nature but the owner of Google has his own boat with a helicopter on the boat which was docked in Jaco Overall the best part of doing these fishing trips was that once the fish were caught we took them home and had them for dinner and could watch the sunset My holiday was simple and relaxing but I m happy to be back in Nicaragua to start my adventures with MEDA again Tags Impact Assessment Intern Financial Services Sightseeing Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2013 Continue reading Nicaragua 3772 Hits Monday 06 January 2014 I can I will I am Mary Fehr Impact Assessment Intern Market Access Health Knock Knock Knock Knock Hodi May I come in Wake up tea says Adam our awesome porter Hodi In theexcitement exhaustion of the summit climb the morning before Jaredshouts Caribouuuuuu His attempt at the Swahili word Karibu Welcome gives us all a great laugh as we are ready to hike the last stretch of the mountain to the bottom Wanting to make Christmas in Tanzania special a few of the other MEDA interns and I decided to climb MT Meru the 5th tallest mountain in Africa that looks directly at Mt Kilimanjaro There are a lot of benefits to climbing Mt Meru it only takes 4 days cost is a lot less than other treks and it is said to be a beautiful hike All these reasons led us to signing up for to hike to 4566m to the summit of this mountain December 24th we meet our crew that will be helping us make it to the summit Ashleigh our guide Adam our porter and Godfrey our cook We will also pick up 2 more porters at the gate At the bottom of the mountain before we head out they prepare a wonderful lunch for us my nerves are already starting to bubble up I try to calm myself down by impressing the park rangers with my kidogo little Swahili knowledge As we start the hike I am able to calm myself down using positive self talk that I had learned in my Sport Psychology class last year With every step I repeat the phrase in myhead I can I will I am Step by step I will make it up this mountain The first day was a 5 hour hike uphill and downhill and even a few flat areas Nothing I couldn t handle After arriving at the hut they cook us a delicious dinner and we head to the viewing deck where we are able to see the most amazing stars I have ever seen absolutely incredible Hodi Wake up tea we were greeted the next morning by Adam I haveto say the best way to be woken up is by someone serving you tea in bed certainly a great way to start the day After a quick breakfast we started our next 5 hour hike up to Hut 2 This trail consisted of what seemed like 1 billion stairs then paths slanted upwards that went back and fourth for a few hours Tiring but again nothing I couldn t handle When we arrived at Hut 2 we enjoyed a lunch prepared for us and then we hiked an hour and ahalf up to Little Meru to acclimatize us a little before back down to Hut 2 for the night It was an early night for us dinner at 6 30pm and in bed at 8pm The nerves were certainly building up the air was a whole colder at the second hut and as much as we wanted to sleep and rest for the hike the next day I was wide awake It seemed as though I had just fallen asleep when we were woken up with some breakfast tea just like every other morning only this time it was 1 30am It was time to hike to the summit We tried to force down a little breakfast put on almost every item of clothing we had for me that meant 5 long sleeve shirts 1 sweat shirt a windbreaker spandex jeans and wind pants mostly provided by Nichols College Women s Ice Hockey We emptied our packs as much as possible bundled up headlamps on and we were off The trail was long and windy all I could see was Ashleigh in front of me except when I took a minute to look up at the brightest stars that light up the whole sky I didn t do that to often though because it usually involved me running

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/tags/sightseeing (2016-02-17)
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  • A new way of living - MEDA
    living like a typical Togolese with my Togolese peers I slept on the floor sometimes had bucket showers didn t go on the internet ate what my hosts ate drank what my hosts drank hung out with their friends went to their spots and lived life at their pace Sometimes there were long periods where nothing really happened we lazed about and didn t really do anything No electronic devices to distract or appointments or things coming at you Constant stimuli are a luxury of developed countries or of the wealthy In underdeveloped parts of the world you have to just pass the time with nothing but the people around you I came to appreciate these moments this is when you just need to chill out and be centered in yourself It builds trust in those around you I really had to learn how to just be and hang out with your friends doing nothing You have to lose that nagging flighty ness not think about what others are doing or thinking not think about what you should be doing and not worry about the future These were contrasted by periods of fast action and intense stimulation of the senses Fast nights jumping from place to place all on the back of motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic Walking through jam packed markets where every sight sound and smell is new The constant bartering over prices and everyday tasks that require so much more than this North American could ever have thought All this reinforced a few things 1 You have to take life it as it comes planning and the future are luxuries Live in the present Eat when there is food in front of you drink when you have drink and sleep when you have a bed 2 You have to be capable For example fetching water from the well for the first time I felt so helpless I couldn t get the technique to fill the bucket and could only retrieve a small amount each time If you can t do something learn fast because as a grown person you don t want to be a burden on others 3 Saving doesn t happen If you have money spend it If you have food or water you consume it now because if you wait there is a good chance it won t be there in the future just due to the uncertainties and precariousness of life 4 Reciprocation and sharing are hugely important and reinforce bonds in a powerful way Because the typical Togolese or African for that matter won t always have money or food you have to rely on others Sometimes you pay other times your friends pay That way you won t ever go hungry when others are eating 5 When the good times roll jump in with both feet because there s no guarantee tomorrow will offer you the same opportunity that you have now It really was a life changing experience

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/stories-from-the-field-ghana/entry/a-new-way-of-living (2016-02-17)
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  • National Holiday Experience
    like I took a piece of home with me which was very comforting Skip ahead a week we experienced our first week working in the MEDA office getting to know the projects and being introduced to all the staff It has been information overload Learning all about the projects the process of how things are done and actually working an 8 5 job will definitely take getting used to I know it will certainly take some time to adjust and besides being completely exhausted and ready to crash as soon as we get home I am enjoying it so far This past weekend has been low key which I think we both appreciated This past Saturday Fekadu who is one of MEDA s amazing drivers took us on a tour of the city I did not realize Addis was as big as it is granted we have only really travelled a few blocks around the office and our house I was just amazed Addis which is considered one of the hot spots in Africa for political and economic conversation and development the African Union headquarters is also station here also manages to maintain a lot of beauty history and culture Probably my highlight of the tour was driving up Mount Entoto the mountain surrounding the city Addis is a busy and rapidly developing country but when looking down on it from on top of the mountain provided a different view and pictures just do not do it justice Addis is beautiful Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture National Holiday Experience Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3224 Hits Thursday 24 April 2014 Easter at the Lake Jessica Adach Gender Intern Women s Economic Opportunities As Easter came and went it marked another holiday along with Thanksgiving and Halloween a holiday to me I spent in Ghana I left Tamale by bus after waking up at 5am eating crackers for breakfast out of my purse and getting on a vehicle bound for Accra but realizing it just in time and headed for Kumasi 2nd largest city in Ghana and the closest to Lake Bosomtwe our final destination for the long weekend I was travelling to meet former MEDA intern Gillian who was making the trip from Accra to have yet another adventure together The 6 hour bus journey went by quickly as I was distracted by Ghanaian soap operas playing on the overhead screen I m not sure what exactly was happening although I know it involved some type of royal family black magic and a lot of yelling perhaps this explains my distraction The two of us arrived in Kumasi minutes apart and set off in a private taxi towards the lake about an hour away It was so different to pass by the lush green terrain and mountainous landscape that is found in the south as opposed to the dry and dusty northern region I m used to It was especially exciting to finally arrive at Lake Bosomtwe a circular body of water that was created millions of years ago by a meteorite surrounded by rolling hills Before long we were settled into our room at The Green Ranch a small ecolodge that specializes in horseback riding and vegetarian food two of my favourite things Our days were spent lounging on the terrace that overlooked the lake playing scrabble my first time to play an entire game eating homemade ice cream juice tofu delicacies walking through the nearby village or watching thunderstorms from our covered porch Aside from total relaxation we did do other activities On our first full day at the ranch we went horseback riding along the lake It was a beautiful way to see the scenery Galaxy the horse not my nickname for Gillian and I took the lead and led the group through villages full of children giggling as we went past a cacao farm shaded with trees and along the beach the horses splashing themselves to cool down Although I had ridden for many years growing up I hadn t experienced anything quite like riding on jungle paths and through tiny fishing communities or getting sunburned on the back of my hands to the extent that I did We also went swimming There were rumours about parasites leeches worms and other creepy things that you could catch have stuck on you from swimming in the lake water After some contemplation I decided to go for it It was just too hot and the Ghanaian family that was swimming looked like they were having too much fun At its deepest point the lake is about 70 metres Even though I was relatively close to the shore I could feel cool currents from underneath which felt so refreshing All too soon the weekend came to an end and I made the bus trip back to Tamale It was my last vacation here in Ghana as I ll be leaving shortly and I m so glad I could spend it the way I did As I travel through the different regions visit different cities and embark on different adventures I am amazed at both the diversity of each place but also the similarities all over the country not only my chances of sunburn which are the same in all regions friendly people good food natural beauty and wonderful memories I take away Tags Gender Intern Economic Opportunities Women MEDA Interns 2013 National Holiday Experience Continue reading Ghana 4315 Hits Monday 24 February 2014 Winning Gold from Ghana Jessica Adach Gender Intern Women s Economic Opportunities I love the olympics Nothing makes me more excited than seeing the best athletes in the world participating in different events hearing motivational stories seeing examples of sportsmanship and of course watching Canadians compete on the world s stage Trying to watch the olympics in Ghana was a bit of a struggle That being said when it comes to hockey there is no stopping a Canadian from tracking down the game Three different games three different means of watching said games and a various array of Canadian supporters from different countries contributed to one the best olympic experiences After visiting a number of bars and restaurants that we knew had tv and finding all of them either broken without satellite or not open some Canadian friends and I ended up at Tamale s newest café which boasts a projector and a large screen There we were joined by other expats including several Americans who were supporting for our opponents the USA and friends from Ireland England and Australia who decided to root for the Canadians hurray for the commonwealth Sporting my red and white shirt unfortunately the only red or white shirt I have is long sleeved making for a hot and sticky hockey watching experience and Canadian flag I settled down amongst the crowd to watch the game It started at 5pm in Ghana and because we were watching a projection outside in the daylight we couldn t see anything for the first period and were relying on the commentary alone This however didn t bother us too much as it wasn t until the last period that the tide began to turn I wish there could have been hidden camera recording our reactions to the game especially the final Canadian goal there was always a contingent of people who stood up cheered and hugged each other and others who before running around the patio waving the flag jumped up so fast their chair fell over backwards We thought the procedure for watching the men s semi final game would be similar because we had found a place that would show the game This was not the case Although this café had satellite the channel was not airing the game The new found Canadian fans started arriving after us those who came earlier to stake out the same seats in order to fashion the seating configuration that had proved so lucky the night before now wearing their red and white I think they needed to see some proof that Canada could be relied upon to do well before committing to dressing in our colours only to find that the game wasn t playing After 2 5 hockey periods downloading olympic phone apps and radio stations in the hopes of hearing commentary at least and relentless internet searching we were able to find a website that was streaming the game and discovered we were about to make our way into the gold medal final More flag waving ensued The finale Before I go into the details i ll insert my favourite motivational olympic story here I was amazed to learn that Carey Price the goalie for Canada grew up on a reservation located three hours away from where his hockey practice was held He and his parents made this trek several times a week When he became a more serious player they bought a four seater plane so he could get to practice this way cutting the commute down to an hour Stories like these are what make the olympics such a powerful event inspiring us to fulfill our goals Back to the game The owner of the café had by this time noticed our dedication and offered us the tv in his air conditioned office The gold medal game deserves only the best viewing conditions We were ecstatic to be able to see the picture so clearly All the while our social media was showing us pictures of friends and family awake at 5am to watch the game and line ups of hockey jerseyed fans outside of bars in downtown Toronto One wall of the owner s office connects to the restaurant with a two way mirror Every time we cheered the guests in the restaurant would all look towards the office perplexed by what was happening inside We were told later that they always knew when a goal was scored they kept track of how many times we d yell The principle of the olympics fair play sense of community and hard work to achieve our goals as Price reminds us can be applied to our daily lives Regardless of where we are in the world and which countries our colleagues friends and opponents may be from there are times when we are unified making anywhere you find yourself including Tamale feel just like home Tags Gender Intern MEDA Interns 2013 Women Economic Opportunities National Holiday Experience Continue reading Ghana 4330 Hits Wednesday 08 January 2014 Christmastime in Nicaragua Catherine Walker Rural Microfinance Intern Inclusive Financial Services I have lived abroad twice before but I have always returned to Canada for Christmas This year with my internship ending in February it didn t really make sense to make the trip home to Canada for the holidays so I decided to spend Christmas in Nicaragua I was extremely lucky that my little brother William decided to come and visit me so that we could spend the holidays together It has been amazing to have him here with me and to get to show him the country that has been my home for the last 5 months He also brought presents with him from home which was another major benefit I was lucky enough to get to do some travelling over the holidays spending Christmas in Corn Islands the beautiful Caribbean islands off the coast of Nicaragua These islands are full of beautiful white beaches and delicious seafood I also got to return to the island of Ometepe to bike and climb a waterfall as well as relax on the beach and do some boogie boarding in San Juan del Sur Tags National Holiday Experience Financial Services Private Sector Development Rural Microfinance Intern MEDA Interns 2013 Continue reading Nicaragua 3762 Hits Wednesday 18 December 2013 The Christmas that wasn t Emma Harris Rural Microfinance Intern Market Access Agriculture Normally around this time of year I am battling snowy driveways piling on the layers of clothing and cursing the wind chill I am also sipping on hot chocolate pulling out the downhill skis and decorating a Christmas tree Despite the odd winter related inconvenience I really do love this time of year But what happens when this time of year no longer exists Being in the middle of Africa in December it doesn t really feel like Christmas While I complain about the frigid morning temperatures of 5 degrees I ve become weak it s usually close to 30 degrees here in the afternoon Even though I don t have to worry about frost bite I can honestly admit I miss the snow Tags Agriculture Rural Microfinance Intern National Holiday Experience MEDA Interns 2013 Private Sector Development Continue reading Ethiopia 3903 Hits Friday 13 December 2013 Fire Festival Jessica Adach Gender Intern Women s Economic Opportunities In Northern Ghana there is a legend about a tribal chief who had a son who would become chief after him One night the chief noticed the baby was missing He gathered the whole village to look for the child They carried torches with them to guide them through the night Finally the baby was found under a tree the villagers believed the tree had stolen the boy The chief rescued his son and as a punishment set the tree on fire The villagers returned to the chief s palace and celebrated by singing and dancing maintaining their torches to light up the night Now in Tamale and other towns in the northern regions of the country the fire festival takes place every November to celebrate the return of the chief s son Daniel Gillian and I had heard about this fire festival without really knowing the history behind it We were told vague details about how it would begin around 8pm and it would involve some sort of parade taking over the road so that no cars could pass We waited sitting on a curbside looking for clues that this event was about to start Around us the excitement grew children and families gathered many holding sticks lighting fireworks and wearing different traditional outfits Finally after an hour we heard rumblings in the distance Chanting singing and drumming filled the air and those children around us began to stream into the road The three of us followed suit walking into the intersection which had become eerily void of cars Craning our necks to see further down the road where the noise was originating we could see a mass of people coming towards us from the direction of the chief s palace carrying wooden sticks and branches that were ablaze Once this group merged with ours which had grown substantially as we waited the procession began moving towards the center of town Let me describe exactly what I mean by procession This involved people of all ages from babies bagged on their mother s backs to elderly people using walking sticks Young men either shirtless or wearing traditional attire were running through the crowd firing rifles in the air or dragging machetes on the ground as they ran creating sparks behind them Mothers were constantly grabbing their children those who were getting too far ahead and risked getting lost in the crowd or those getting too close to one of the many open flames The air was filled with smoke song and screams every time an unexpected gun shot went off Basically procession can be interchanged with chaos Or maybe mayhem A young boy Rashid became my personal guide which was lucky because I lost and found Daniel and Gillian several times during this event taking my hand and telling me to watch out or walk over here to avoid particularly excited youth darting through the crowd with various types of weaponry We got to our meeting place where crowds of other people had also come to gather and where unsuspecting trees and vegetation stood In only a few moments trees were lit on fire and branches from trees still standing were vigorously chopped off and brought back into the crowd We then turned back and started our walk of about 30 minutes towards our starting place The chopped tree branches were held by women high in the air and would be taken back to the chief s palace to be burnt At times according to the song that was being sung and the instruments accompanying it the crowd would turn and run momentarily in the opposite direction My friend Rashid was particularly helpful in these moments alerting me to turn and run with the group instead of being trampled Or at least substantially jostled by people running by When we reached the intersection from which we started Gillian and I separated from the crowd They would continue on returning to the chief s palace where they began to celebrate with more singing dancing and fire Of all the cultural events I have experienced here in Ghana the fire festival was by far the most exciting and interesting for me It was a night when everyone left their daily roles behind and became a villager from the legend truly embracing the celebrations amidst an atmosphere buzzing with excitement I am so glad I could experience this event and happy that I too become a villager for the night Tags National Holiday Experience Women MEDA Interns 2013 Gender Intern Economic Opportunities Continue reading Ghana 4000 Hits Friday 18 October 2013 Happy Thanksgiving from Ghana Jessica Adach Gender Intern Women s Economic Opportunities What do you get when you cross 5 Canadians 2 British friends an American a Danish girl a Canadian flag and a power outage Canadian Thanksgiving in Ghana I have coined the term Ghanadian Thanksgiving Last Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving hosted by three other Canadian girls also doing CIDA internships here in Tamale It was a great time and a wonderful meal None of us have an oven and turkey isn t

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/tags/holiday-experience (2016-02-17)
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  • Sunny Holidays in Togo and Ghana - MEDA
    to music eating delicious food and playing lots of card games in the evenings It was the perfect antidote to the busy pre holiday stress we had left behind On Christmas we played and relaxed on the beach all day and then met Kevin the other GROW MEDA intern who was also traveling in Lome for dinner at a little Bavarian and French restaurant Taking me back to my Bavarian roots I was beyond excited to have discovered a German restaurant in Lome The six of us shared a delightful Christmas feast that reminded me of celebrating the holidays as a child in Germany We had a truly wonderful time and it was great alternative way to celebrate the holidays One of the perks of returning to Tamale was that everyone else was traveling so I had been asked to house and dog sit for two adorable puppies at a friend s nice house with a pool In a way my vacation continued with lots of dog walking and pool time And I also looked after a friend s horses so I got to go horseback riding a few times which made my break even better It was a really great holiday break and I was happy to ring in the New Year s in Tamale celebrating here with friends and fireworks The last year brought many new firsts and special memories for me Moving to Ghana and being part of the GROW team has been such an incredible experience so far I feel very privileged to be able to travel to the villages to meet our women farmers continue learning from our skillful staff here and be part of this meaningful work to help make a difference for these women and their families in Ghana The GROW team is

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/stories-from-the-field-ghana/entry/sunny-holidays-in-togo-and-ghana (2016-02-17)
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  • Christmas in Ethiopia - MEDA
    travel and celebration I usually travel to the US to visit family and friends or attend a church retreat to conclude the year My family usually doesn t have extravagant Christmas traditions we just enjoy each other s presence Over the month of December Steph and I decorated our house with lights paper trees and ornaments And this past Tuesday I had some friends over for a Christmas dinner party I made pork chops sausages mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables It was nice having company over for the first time Some of my friends said that they felt like they weren t in Ethiopia with the food decorations and Christmas music The next day Christmas Eve Steph and I were off work We got two days off to celebrate our holiday but technically Christmas in Ethiopia is in January We had a nice Christmas Eve dinner and watched the Hobbit at home Waking up on Christmas morning I had a nice post it note stuck on my door from Steph reading Merry Christmas with a cute reindeer doodled on it We had pancakes and fruit for brunch exchanged gifts and watched Home Alone a classic In the afternoon we went to the office for a nice Christmas coffee ceremony our staff had put together for us We had coffee cake and received a nice gift from our staff I really appreciate their thoughtfulness and for celebrating Christmas with us even though they celebrate in January Our evening was spent calling home to say Merry Christmas We also watched the Hobbit at the movie theatre and had a nice Christmas dinner in Bole I m really thankful to be in country with Steph we made Christmas the best we could even though we re both far from our families There s just a few months left of this internship and I don t think I would have made it this far without her support and friendship As we near the end of 2014 a new year is just around the corner I m always excited for a new year because it s a fresh start and I gather together hopes and dreams for another year The year 2014 has had its ups and downs and at the beginning of the year I never would ve thought I d be in Ethiopia working with MEDA Now that it s the end of the year I can say that despite this year s challenges all of the obstacles and experiences have helped me grow as a person and being on this internship has contributed much to this growth Tweet Tags MEDA Interns 2014 National Holiday Experience Private Sector Development Agriculture Communication and Program Support Intern To Partner or Not to Partner When Implementing You Sunny Holidays in Togo and Ghana About the author Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern View author s profile More posts from author Clara is from Waterloo Ontario and holds a Master of Arts in Global Governance from

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/christmas-in-ethiopia (2016-02-17)
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