Mater Boni Consilii Region
There will be 470,000 new AIDS orphans this year in Ethiopia. Our Sisters provide food, shelter, education and love to thousands of these children in the Tigray Region. Our elementary schools are located in Adigrat, Goala, Sassi, and Zalambessa.
An elementary school diploma is vital in Ethiopia. Without this diploma, one cannot obtain a drivers’ license or purchase land. Girls with an elementary education only, run the risk of turning to prostitution to survive. The Sisters try to keep them in school by paying the older girls to come to our Home Economics programs. There they acquire skills that will help them live a life of dignity. They learn sewing, knitting, embroidery, first aid, cleaning, poultry-raising, bee keeping, dress design, cooking, pizza and gelato making, etc. So successful is this program that plans are now underway to open a similar home economics program in Zalambessa.
Our house and school in Zalambessa are located on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. During the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, our newly-built school and convent were bombed and destroyed. When the conflict ended, the people of Zalambessa rebuilt the school and convent even before rebuilding their own homes, so important was the school to them! Once the school was rebuilt, they began to reconstruct their devastated homes. Benefactors helped them and provided the necessary materials needed. We are opening a new Women’s Promotion Center in Zalambessa. A Spanish group, Manos Unidas, is paying for the renovations.
In Adigrat, an old building is being renovated for our orphan girls. Presently there are 40 girls living with the Sisters.
We have recently started a school for women in Tukul where, in addition to the skills mentioned above, they have the added opportunity to learn poultry-raising and bee-keeping. Besides the Women’s Promotion Center, we have a pre-school and an elementary school to grade 5 for their children. We are now seeking benefactors to help outfit this new school.
Not too long ago, we purchased a house, conveniently located near the airport, in Addis Ababa, the capital. It is currently used as a Novitiate. In the near future, we hope to have a school for children, an orphanage, and a school for women. We are still seeking benefactors to help us complete the purchase of this house.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country in East Africa. It is comprised of nine states and two city administrations. Its capital is Addis Ababa. The ruling EPRDF party and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi maintain strong control of the government and the economy. Despite several years of high economic growth, the country remains vulnerable to external economic shocks and recurring drought. The average yearly income is $720.
While Ethiopia is generally stable, domestic insurgent groups, extremists from Somalia, and the heavy military buildup along the northern border pose risks to safety and security. In the past year, there has been an increase in targeted bombings in Addis Ababa and in other parts of Ethiopia. In November 2008, the government of Ethiopia issued a warning to its citizens alerting them to the potential for terrorist attacks to unprecedented levels, and subsequently increased security measures. Targeted bombings in Addis Ababa and southeastern Ethiopia resulted in numerous injuries and deaths in 2008.
Ethiopia/Eritrea Border Area: Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000 that ended their border war. However, the border remains an issue of contention between the two countries. The border area is a militarized zone where the possibility of armed conflict between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces exists. People are advised to avoid travel in the areas along the Eritrean/Ethiopian border (within 50 km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of the dangers posed by land mines and because of the possibility of conflict between Ethiopian and Eritrean defense forces.
Pick-pocketing, “snatch and run” thefts, and other petty crimes are common in Addis Ababa. These are generally crimes of opportunity rather than planned attacks. Travelers are advised to exercise caution in crowded areas and should avoid visiting the Mercato in Addis Ababa, a large open-air market. Violence in the Mercato has been on the rise. In 2008 an explosion in the Mercato killed several and wounded more than a dozen individuals. Also in 2008, there was a shooting in the Mercato Health facilities in Addis Ababa are very limited. Even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicines). There is a shortage of physicians. Emergency assistance is limited. Psychiatric services and medications are practically nonexistent. Serious illnesses and injuries often require travelers to be medically evacuated from Ethiopia to a location where adequate medical attention is available. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor's note describing the medication.
Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas. Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a mountainous country. Its high altitude may cause health problems, even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa has an altitude of 8,300 feet. Travelers may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep. Individuals with respiratory or heart conditions should consult with a health care professional before traveling to Ethiopia. Travelers to Ethiopia should also avoid swimming in any lakes, rivers, or still bodies of water. Most bodies of water have been found to contain parasites. Travelers should be aware that Ethiopia has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Ethiopia has had outbreaks of acute diarrhea, possible cholera, and typhoid in the recent past, and the conditions for reoccurrences continue to exist.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia has the highest rate of traffic fatalities per vehicle in the world. Roads in Ethiopia are poorly maintained, inadequately marked, and poorly lighted. Road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to hazards posed by broken-down vehicles left in the road, pedestrians walking in the road, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. While travel during daylight hours on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts.
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