I’m delighted to report a new project under way. We have funds from church sources to support traditional education in the Orthodox Church. This is one of the unknown riches of Ethiopian culture – I’m especially fascinated by qene, a style of improvised, allegorical, theological poetry, unlike anything I’ve encountered elsewhere.
Two days of discussion with the bishop and others in Gondar has produced a great project. The biggest school is at Gabriel Church, Abun Bet Gabriel to give the full title. 400 students studying under Yeneta Netatabab – like many poetry teachers he is blind. The school is in a beautiful setting on two small rivers at the point where they converge. But rivers in towns mean rubbish – which means insects – which means illness. There’s no money for medicine and three students have recently died of preventable illnesses. Their plan is to build a small house 12 m X 4.5 m by the roadside with three rooms. Two will be rented out to provide money for medicine and one will be a workshop. Materials will cost 2000 pounds and labour 500 pounds. A simple achievable project with a clear objective. If this works we’ll do more.