Sunday, February 12, 2012

Catch the Vision! (Part 4) Also entitled Wurllllld Vishin

I don't have photographic evidence for much of the next portion of my visit to the Wonchi project.

If I had it to do again, I would take lots of pictures. But I'm an In The Moment girl and like to absorb things with my eyes and not through a lens.

Besides, I'd been warned that Ethiopian people don't like their pictures taken and/or want to be paid when it happens. However, our guides were more than enthusiastic about stopping so we could take pictures, so why I didn't take many at the main Wonchi headquarters is beyond me.

In apology, I give you this boy who spotted the ferengi in the back of the Land Cruiser when we were driving in to see a school World Vision built. (Photo of THAT later.)

Doesn't he have a beautiful smile? If you ask him who gave him his sweater(a school uniform), he would probably tell you "Wurllld Vishin" as we heard time and time again. 


Less than five minutes from Alemnesh's house, we come upon the World Vision Wonchi headquarters. Remember how I told you that it was likely that Alemnesh was one of the first children in the area sponsored? I have reasons behind my belief. Like the fact that her family is so close to the headquarters. It only stands to reason that they would start with the kids nearest them and expand out. That, and we soon found out that World Vision Wonchi began in 2001, the same year we began sponsoring Alemnesh.

This sign just thrilled me. I can't explain it. How any envelopes have I gotten with this emblem on it? It was just surreal.

First stop: bathrooms. Mens to the left. Women's to the right. After the restaurant squatty potty fiasco, I expected another. I had incorrect expectations. Though the first room I glanced into was a hole in the ground (on later, further inspection, I discovered it was a shower and had to laugh at myself), the one I entered had a genuine, first class, flushing toilet. Did I get locked in the bathroom? Yes I did. When I got out, did they have soap? They did not. But they did have running water, I did scrub and, by now, I never left my bag or its contents (TP and hand wipes) behind.

Regardless, when our guide took us to the restaurant, he first directed us to sinks with SOAP. (I know. I am so American.) 

So we headed to the "restaurant" which was a buffet of Ethiopian food (injera, chicken wot, salad, and :) shoestring french fries), that was less "restaurant" and more family style communal eating. We'd been forewarned of a presentation, so when they turned on the TV, I expected the presentation was happening during lunch. It was not. The workers gather together to eat and, it seems, watch the noon world news.

By my understanding, all the Wonchi staff lived and worked together. I saw people coming out of bunkers that appeared to be their private living space. I believe I used the only bathroom on the lot. They ate together for all meals. They live very modestly. Much more modestly than even the local subsidized housing or Women's shelter here in the 'Boro. Did they eat well? Yes. But the furnishings were basic. The linoleum was chipped. The tables were standard folding tables. The couch was well worn. The offices were simple. There was no unnecessary furniture. No unnecessary.....anything.

And on to the presentation. Which was power point and which he downloaded onto my camera chip, but which I don't know how to get off. So I'm glad I took this picture:

ADP: Area Development Project
Woreda: To my understanding it is kind of like a county. It is a region, space, larger than a community, smaller than a state. Wonchi is 400 sq km.
FY: founding year, in this case 2001
Supported by World Vision USA
Source of funds: first by sponsorship, second, and a much smaller percentage by private non-sponsorship grants.
Total RC: Total number of children in the project. In this case 5000. That is 5000 children who are covered by World Vision Wonchi. 5000 children who get to go to school. 5000 children whose families are trained in sustainable farming, sanitation, health education, vaccination, and much more.
Staffed by 40 people. And so accountable that they even count in the "office girl" (whom I met). I don't remember what the CDWs were. I would say that during lunch, we probably saw fewer than 20 people, so...that would probably account for the "regular workers" the "guards" and the "office girl." The CDW must be off site.
Don't let the "Land Cruiser" fool you. This was a very well used vehicle. I rode in it all day and it was brought into question more than once whether it might not get us home.

Wosson told us SO MUCH information in that presentation, I didn't retain even half of it (hopefully, my dad will be able to get the presentation off my camera chip if I ever get around to asking him). One thing that stood out, though, was how proud they were of training communities to not poop in public.

I know. But someone has to do the educating. Sometimes the status quo goes even if it doesn't make sense.

In fact, our family was now, after 10 years of sponsorship, a "model family." World Vision brought people from the nether reaches of Wonchi in to see the family's homestead. To see how to live in such a way that disease was not spread. First by digging latrines.

They have awards for communities--and these communities compete--for making their communities Outdoor Defecation Free Zones. When every home in the community has its own latrine (a hole with a fence) and the community has built approximately 10 latrines for the travelers that are walking through (and someone is ALWAYS walking through), they get a clock and a sign at the entrance of the community that indicates it is ODF. (Sadly, no photo. But I did see them. The signs AND the public latrines. I will never complain about a lake bathroom again.)

When Wonchi began in 2001 the area was 0% Christian. I think they said they are now 25% Christian. And my prior posts on this will indicate the truth of a faith growth.

They went from the children basically not being vaccinated to 100% vaccination rates.
Their live birth rate has gone up.
Their OB mortality has gone down.
The number of schools in the area has gone up.
The number of clinics in the area has gone up.
The number of vet clinics in the area has gone up.
And on, and on and on.

Seriously folks, my jaw was hanging open. I've gotta find that power point presentation.

Here we are at the headquarters. The only extravagance I could see was in landscaping. You can see a bit of it there under Brent's elbow. And it was far more basic than my landscaping. The trees smelled like Florida in the spring. I would have loved to have bottled that up and brought it home.

Wosson finished his presentation and, of course, encouraged us to send our friends to pick up the slack between the number of children actually sponsored and the number of children who are covered by World Vision Wonchi. (5000 covered. The power point said 4444 sponsored, but I'm pretty sure he told us the actual number was 4465.) I didn't make it clear earlier, but when you sponsor a child, they do get funds directly, but part of the monthly sponsorship is pooled to do community education, etc and ALL children in Wonchi who sign up to get a sponsor, get the benefit of school WHETHER OR NOT they actually HAVE a sponsor. After our tour of Wonchi, which I will tell you about in another post because it was more touristy and less lessony it was pretty clear that HAVING a sponsor benefited you more than not, but that they still covered all the children to a degree....well, I like it. I always wondered about the kid down the block that wasn't chosen, ya know?

Anyway, today I'll leave off with some photos of some of the stuff WV has built. In Ethiopia, if you build a school, Ethiopia will staff it. Same goes for a clinic. And vet clinics. So WVE builds them, govt staffs them and they are all well used.
Yes, I'm fascinated by the circular mud hut with the clean yard. It was probably in an ODF zone, too.

Here is a World Vision built vet clinic up near Wenchi Crater Lake. You can't see it in this photo, but the sign over the door has the WV symbol on it.
Here is a wide view of the many buildinged high school WV built so that the kids wouldn't have to live away from home in Wolisso to go to high school as they had to even just a couple years ago. It is the same school the boy with the lovely smile escorted us to see.

Different/closer view of the high school. 

And, because I love them, more happy children running to see us from the circular mud hut.

We also saw clinics. I can't find a photo in my 2000 pictures, but I'm sure it's there.

And just in case you are thinking about being inspired to sponsor, I give you Antony:

He lives in Zambia and is 14 years old. You have the opportunity to be a light in his life. $35 a month. How easy it is to blow $35 a month. But $35 a month will CHANGE HIS LIFE. You could be a part of that. If you are interested, let me know either by commenting or emailing me and I'll give you the details. Let's put a smile on that face and the faces of the boys and girls in his community.

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