We have recently returned from our first Humanitarian trip for the Pangaea Foundation. We had a great team consisting of Jan Eshete, Oromia Eshete, Lalise Eshete, Amy Sorensen and Emily Hunter. The trip was approximately two weeks long (including travel time) and besides spending time at the Hundee Ibsaa School, we also did some site seeing in the capital city and a tourist area called Hawassa.
The highlight of the trip of course was giving out all the uniform packets and backpacks filled with school supplies to all the children. I think the best part for the children was being able to watch the slide show we made for them of lots of photos and videos of them at recess and lunch and a few in their classrooms. It’s just invigorating to watch children who are so thankful to go to school and whatever we can supply for them.
We also really appreciate both our teachers who literally walk along a trail (that is sometime like a hike) that takes almost 2 hours back and forth to school everyday. On our last day there, we walked home in the rain with our teachers and I’ll just say that I am out of shape!
If you would like to be a part of our humanitarian trip in the future years, please contact Jan Eshete for more information.
by Oromia Eshete
It’s funny how fast you can adapt to whatever culture that you’re immersed in. And it’s funny how fast you can begin to love the people that you didn’t even know weeks before the trip. Going to my father’s home country for the second time now, it was surprisingly nothing like the first trip but it still felt comfortable and had a noticeable and somewhat surprising sense of “home” to it.
There are so many things about Ethiopia that make you reevaluate the mentality you have about life and gives you an overwhelming sense of gratitude and a fresh new, humbling outlook on practically everything. From the chaotic traffic, to the disparate spices and mouth-watering meals, welcoming marketplaces, and truly unapologetic beauty of the people, Ethiopia is genuinely unforgettable.
Doing service with my family and friends was so fun and effortless that we would always leave the elementary school glum and looking forward to the next day when we got to go back. Hanging out with the kids- playing soccer, making bracelets, playing with toys, or just making them laugh- was so rewarding and I didn’t realize that this is what my life was missing. I didn’t realize how many things I could learn from these kids. I think the most rewarding experience that I had in Ethiopia was following some of the kids home and walking with them after school to see where they lived and to see how long they have to walk to get to school. Nothing is more humbling than walking home with two little newly orphaned siblings, in their new baggy uniforms, being embraced by their grandma and modestly showing us their home.
Traveling to and from the countryside of Oromia in a big, disheveled van on a bumpy “road”, sitting in the seat-less back with my sister and friend was also another favorite pastime of mine. Admiring the beautiful landscape, every once and a while waving to the shepherd boys and their cattle, was such a fulfilling, captivating experience.
I learned so many things from the trips I took to Africa and was, in the end, life-altering. I learned that we, as humans, have a lot in common. We tend to focus on the differences we have— between cultures, traditions we practice, and what we look like. But in the end, we all feel the same emotions, we all have troubles, insecurities, loves, and fears. I also learned that education is so important and is a fundamental right that everyone should have access to. Although it’s not perfect, I love Oromia with all my heart and am so honored to be named after this place.