I feel privileged to have been accepted to be part of the Gordonstoun School Ethiopia Expedition at the end of June. The purpose of our project is to continue the work that previous Gordonstoun students have contributed to improving the Mydaero School in northern Tigray. The school provides education for 1,600 students from a rural area covering a 10km radius and all the students arrive on foot! The school has benefitted greatly from the relationship with Gordonstoun which began three years ago. Previous projects have improved the educational environment by installing a safe water supply, renovation works to classroom floors and the library, and building a new staff room.
Our job will be to build a new classroom for kindergarten children and we will work alongside skilled local labourers, something that will be an amazing experience. We will also run a summer school and have a chance to teach the local children. Apparently, the local community is quite competitive and we will get to play football and volleyball with them as well.
The reason why I would like to go is because I hate thinking that there are people living without a clean water supply, and not getting a school education is mind-blowing to me. By going on this trip I feel like I can make a difference to the people who I am helping and to my own life. I also believe that I will learn as much from them as they will from me. I’m planning on making a short documentary of our experiences out there and if any of you would like to watch it I would gladly send you the finished project sometime next year. I’d be very grateful if you consider supporting me in this project. By saving and running our house shop at school, I have already raised over £1000 and am still working on raising more. I’d be very grateful if you could consider supporting me in this project.
If Mydearo is able to improve the school's basic facilities, it will attract government funding and support for further investment in facilities and educational standards, including good teachers and increasing educational capacity to 10th grade. The Gordonstoun’s project will help them to achieve this.
Here is a description of what we will find in Mydaero:
Life here is still based on a very ancient system of farming with no mechanisation, just human effort - including the children! Farmers work together, sharing oxen for ploughing and using donkeys for carrying. As well as well being a region prone to drought, the ground is stony and not very fertile, so sometimes crops fail. During your expedition it will be planting time so you will see a great deal of farming activity. Life is hard, but there is a strong community and the people of Mydearo will welcome you with open arms. As you get to know the children and their families over the course of your project you will form strong bonds with some memorable characters. It’s always an emotional goodbye, but you will have had an incredible experience that will leave you with a great sense of fulfilment.
After reading that, how could I not be excited about going?!!! As well as the building work, we will take turns doing jobs around camp, including cooking, looking after the water supply and ensuring the camp remains safe for everyone. We will write a daily report describing our progress with the project, the people, and the environment. We will live amongst the local Tigrayan community and share in their way of life but we will sleep in the school classrooms. We may try making the local flat bread known as injera, and grinding coffee beans. I’ve already tried an Ethiopian stew which mum served while I was home. We ate it with lots of rice and it was very spicy and delicious. We will have a bit of free time for trekking before we return to Addis and our overnight return flight.