Monday, September 28, 2009

Leaving for Ethiopia: Cleansing the Lens of the Soul!

By: Nasir Al-Amin
*This blog entry was orignially posted on April 28, 2009. It is being reposted as the following blog entries will contain pictures and reflections from this journey.

Tonight, I have a redeye flight to Ethiopia. My journeys to Ethiopia always have a dual agenda/reality attached to them. Outwardly, my journeys are work related. Inwardly, they are transformative, therapy for soul, a stimulus to refocus. Thus, the outward and inward aims of this trip are the following:

1) Yousef: One of the orphans we work with has been in the hospital for a month. Previously he was diagnosed with HIV+ and I have been informed that his body has adjusted to his medication, and thus stopped working effectively. I hear he is in critical condition, so my main aim is to check on him.

2) Commercial Sex Workers (CSW): Last year we launched a project to provide skill training (sewing and tailoring) to 10 women engaged in CSW. I'm going to follow-up with them the about skills they have gained and their life post-intervention.

3) Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs): In partnership with HAPSCO, an NGO based in Ethiopia, ALIF provides monetary assistance for school fees, food, and housing to impoverished and/or HIV/AIDS infected children that have lost one or both parents.

4) Donated School Supplies: A Kuwaiti volunteer, Noura,
donated school supplies for the children we serve. Therefore, I will have the pleasure to see their smiles as I give them the supplies.

5) Listen, Observe and Reflect: My first trip to Ethiopia in 2002 fostered a paradigm shift, in that the way I viewed the world and my role in it changed significantly. Each subsequent trip has helped to cleanse the lens through which I perceive, understand and process life experiences and the realities of others. The poor and marginalized have given me something priceless: "the gift of perspective."

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