One book can change the world.
While vacationing in Dubai, I decided to take the path less traveled and visit the Omo Valley in Ethiopia. Flying into Addis I took a small commercial plane to Jinka, a market town in southern Ethiopia. Little did I know that this would be the place that would set me on a mission for life.
Descending from the plane, I took a moment to take in the ambience around me. Children flooded unpaved roads, colorful fabrics paraded all around me, and all I could feel was at peace. I traveled for 7 days with a 27 year old private guide that spoke 12 languages.
Most of our time was spent with the locals. The children wouldn't leave me alone, they laughed and smiled, holding tightly to my hand as their elders walked us around their communities. In some cases, the children followed me for miles...wanting nothing more than to hold my hand and look up at me.
I met some truly amazing people on my journey. They reminded me of myself, the only difference being, they didn't have the same opportunities in life as most of us do. My departure day arrived, and I headed to my flight (keep in mind this flight only flies out once a day). This one flight was cancelled for two days in a row. It was like all of this happened for a reason when I look back at it now, because this is where I met the incredible person who affected my life forever – Alazar.
After exchanging about 25 emails we decided how our relationship was going to change. I knew that my life had so much more of a purpose. My purpose was to make THE difference in these people’s lives, and to give them opportunity. Alazar spoke about the children in his tribe that were craving education. I asked him what they needed, and he suggested English books. So I made a proposal for Alazar. I would first send him enough money via Western Union to purchase 70 books for the children, he would supply photos to prove the money went directly to the kids. I promised him a job and a laptop if everything went as planned. After 6 days he sent me the first photo:
I was touched by the kindness, innocence, and hospitality of the people of Ethiopia, and set myself on a mission to give it back. I came to recognize a lot about myself on this trip, how us as humans are so connected but so separated. It is my mission to deliver as many books to as many kids in the world as possible.
The British Council in Ethiopia has agreed to support my program by delivering discounted books to Alazar (on-demand) to improve the speed/distribution of books to the children in this region.
I was able to send money for Alazar to purchase 75 pairs of sneakers for the children.
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