Archive for February, 2013


Hello Everyone,

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

tesfa heart

I find it hard to believe that I haven’t blogged about the library in over a year…13 months and 1 day to be exact.  As you may know, I went to Ethiopia this past summer for a month.  I lived with a wonderful woman and my goal was simply to try and experience family life, language and the culture of day to day living in Addis.  I also, had  a chance to do a little teaching with TESFA/Ethiopia Reads at a local elementary school  and to visit the school in Dukem to check on the progress of the library. The kindergarten was there and so was the container and some books in boxes in a locked room…and that was it.  The completion of the library had been frustrated by delays etc. from local officials.  However, our visit with the new school Director seemed to mobilize things.  I was assured that by October, the library would be functioning…but nothing. I contacted Jane and Dana and they felt November might see progress…nothing.  I let things pass into the new year and contacted them again at the end of January.  Here is the result of my recent communication. The following is a summary of conversations that I’ve had with Jane Kurtz and Dana Roskey of Ethiopia Reads/TESFA. Here are some of the things that I learned:

There is a fledgling library in Dukem:

  1. There is a library opened  for higher grades students in a small free-standing building on the Dukem Campus.  At the moment it is being used for older students to study in.  There are a few Ethiopia Reads donated books there.
  2. The Container Library/Reading Room/ Library for Primary students has also been opened.  But, unfortunately, it has been co-opted at this time by some local officials using it as an Election Centre.  Most of the books donated by Ethiopia Reads were for younger grades.
  3. Furniture, supplies and playground toys were purchased for the kindergarten.  Unfortunately, they were not appropriately fenced so they were battered  by some of the older students.  The ongoing repairs will be a point of future leverage/negotiation/advocacy for the ongoing support of educational programs at Dukem.
  4. There has also been some training done for Teacher/Librarians, but attendance has been spotty.
  5. There was a field trip to Dukem. Some teachers and students from Addis Ababa have started Book clubs.  They made a field trip to Dukem to present and mentor them on the process of starting their own book club.
  6. There is a new School Director in Dukem, but it seems that official changes regularly.
  7. In terms of ongoing funding, Dana is going to  rework what some potential costs might be for ongoing support of Dukem.  Some estimates are:

a. Repairs $500-$1,500 (promise of ongoing support may garner better efforts at the school)

b.  Training and Tutorials – $1,500 -$2,000

c. Field Trips  $200

  1. In 2012 Dana’s focus was reorganizing the Ethiopian side of things. This year he will be relocating to the US, and looking at implementing a better Information Flow System, formalizing policies and working with donor communities.
  2. Dana has asked the Staff in Ethiopia (point people: Minna, Itagesu) to organize information about Dukem to share.  Ie. Reports and Photos
  3. So, while there has been some progress, the challenges are evident.  Dana sees this as evidence that we are in the right place.  Work still needs to be done there.  There is still space to advocate for improvements and little by little that can be done.  So…on we go!

Thank you all for your patience and ongoing support.      When I have more information and pictures, I will get them up here for you asap.

And…maybe I’ll have the chance to get to Ethiopia again this year…Cross your fingers for me!




Read Full Post »