Welcome to Ethiopia

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Thu, 25 Sep 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Wetta welcome to Addis…

I left home on a beautiful Autumnal day in September and 17 degrees, landed in Dubai with my glasses steaming up in 30 degrees of heat and finally arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to a torrential downpour. The rainy season is due to finish at the end of September.

I write this after a pleasant morning meeting in bright sunshine out in the garden of the Diocesan offices – suddenly the rain has returned with a vengeance. Although this is my fifth visit to Ethiopia, my second as RMP for the Diocese of Egypt, I still forget about the fact that Addis Ababa is 8,500 feet above sea level. The consequences of a higher altitude are colder nights and, when the sun does shine, a higher chance of getting sunburnt. But, let me tell you, it can be very cold when it downpours.

I’m staying with Bishop Andrew Proud and his wife Janice, who I first met on my first visit as CMS Ireland RMP in January 2007. Already we’ve been discussing about CMS Ireland’s partnership model with the view of agreeing and signing a Partnership Agreement between CMS Ireland and the Horn of Africa region of the Diocese of Egypt.

Already I have met the Contractor, the Project Management Company and participated in the official signing of the contract for the new Education and Reconciliation programme in Gambella, southwest Ethiopia. Irish Aid has funded 75% of the 3 year programme and the purpose of my visit is to brief the Diocese on the financial accountability and reporting requirements of Irish Aid. The project officially commenced on 1st September and already thousands of blocks have been produced.

I held 2 briefing sessions with the staff team on monitoring, evaluation and reporting and financial budget reporting. Bishop Andrew and I met with the Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Sile Maguire, for nearly an hour. Sile, who is only in post 2 weeks, was very welcoming and very interested in the Gambella project. She was genuinely appreciative of our visit to acknowledge the support of Irish Aid. We invited her to officially open the centre when it was complete.

I was also invited to dinner with the Diocesan Executive Committee to acknowledge the funding accessed by CMS Ireland and to say goodbye to Sally Chapman who has come to the end of her one year contract. Sally and I worked closely together on the successful application to Irish Aid for Gambella.

I depart on Friday 26th September for the second leg of my journey. After an overnight in Entebbe I fly into Yei, Southern Sudan. I’ll be meeting up with John Spens, who was due to arrive in Yei today, Bishop Hilary, John Kanyikwa and others…but more about that later. Gladly, the sun is shinning again in Addis…oh no the clouds have opened and its started raining again…