My name is Rahael Yohannes, I’m 19 years old. Just recently, I returned from the most amazing trip of my life; Ethiopia. I travelled there with my dad with the sole intent on visiting family I have never met before. From my Aunts and Uncles, all the way to my Grandparents. Being immersed in the culture and lifestyle at full blast was one of the most incredible experiences EVER! At first it was a bit frustrating, trying to adjust to the way of life there. However, after a couple of weeks, I WAS ONE OF THEM (I didn’t even want to leave..)! I travelled to a village and a city outside of the countries capital and got to see how their way of life is. One thing I noticed the most, is in the capital (Addis Ababa), life is a lot like the way it is in Vancouver. Yes it still has the “Third World” country feel to it, but the way businesses and people operate is very similar to Vancouver’s “big city” residents. For example, without doing the money conversion from Birr (their currency) and the American dollar, they are more or less paying the same price for things there as we are here. I had to start watching my pennies!
One of my favourite parts of Ethiopia is the transportation. There are these mini-van taxis that can sit 10-12 people, and all you have to do is pay a couple bucks and it takes you wherever you want to go BETTER than a bus can! (Until the taxi breaks down..then you’re in a bit of a pickle..)
I made a lot more friends than I thought I would (thanks to my cousins) and are still keeping in contact with all of them.
Before I left I was given an opportunity by Loretta Cella (Director and Founder of the Passion Foundation) to take her workshop to a group of girls in Ethiopia. The non profit supports, encourages, and empowers young women. Also, helping them build leadership skills that can contribute to them giving back to their community. On top of that, Madeleine Shaw (Co-Founder of Lunapads) jumped on board and gave me 15 Lunapad kits to take to the girls!
While I was there, I was able to do a 6 hour workshop with about 8 girls. Most of them came from struggling families. Whenever questions would be asked about future goals and what they do in their spare time, the answers always came back to helping their mothers and families make a better life for themselves. All of those girls are so driven and focused on making a better life for them self that it makes me stop to think about how easy I have it. One of the young girls said how she wanted to work for the Red Cross so she could help people. WHERE DO YOU HEAR THAT these days!?!?
They were so incredibly appreciative of the opportunity of being able to do the workshop. OH AND THEN! The Lunapad kits were a hit! When I took them out and demonstrated on how to use them, a flood of giggles erupted from all of them. After they understood how to use them, they became excited and very grateful. It was one of the most rewarding days being able to be and talk with them. Thank you SO MUCH Loretta and Madeleine for the opportunity!!!
All in all, AN AMAZING TRIP!! (Until next year..)Tags: charity, girls empowerment, giving back, travel