Archive for the ‘Wordless Wednesday’ Category

I’d like to share a little moment in my day with you:

July 27, 2011, 1:45 pm

TD Canada Trust, Geneva Street, St. Catharines

Bank Teller:  “Congratulations, you’ve built a library!”

Me: “Who knew banking could be so emotional?”

Yes, this is a direct quote from yours truly, welling up and searching for kleenex, as the young bank teller presented me with a US Bank Draft for $9,600 US Dollars.  ($400 has already been donated directly online to Ethiopia Reads). Yes, as embarrassing as it was, I could not contain the tears of joy!  Hey, they really should have kleenex at the bank…I’m sure I’m not the only one who has wanted to cry there!

Even though we haven’t quite reached our fundraising goal, I really wanted to take advantage of the great US/CAD exchange rate and send the money to Ethiopia Reads this week.  I bought US dollars today for .9639 CAD and in the process earned approximately, $347 dollars for our fundraiser…now that was a real BONUS!!!!  Talk about great timing!

So we have only $880 dollars more to raise.

We will continue to fundraise this Fall to reach our goal, ship the photography books to the US, and build a small fund for some professional development workshops and resources when we go to visit the library.  It would be a dream come true for me to go and visit and/or work at the library while I am in Ethiopia picking up my daughter (now affectionately known in our family as Baby E). If visiting this library or volunteering some way is something that you would like to do, please let me know and I would be happy to work with Ethiopia Reads to make this happen.  This little library will be a part of our lives for many years to come.

I am humbled by the generosity and support of so many wonderful people, and I just can’t thank you all enough.

Thank you my friends…for the tears of joy!

And the smile that is worth the praises of earth is the smile that shines through tears.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.
Ralph Ransom

Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.
Jesse Jackson

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
Washington Irving

Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.   Ballou, Hosea


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Addis Abeba is a mere 3 hours 15 mins by air from Dubai, and yet the there is a world of difference between Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates. The differences are shocking, and sometimes it is hard for me to get my head around it all…it is only fate, a simple accident of birth and geography that we are born into the lives that we have. How does the expression go?…”There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

However, people are people wherever they live, and I have been amazed to find so many with caring and generous hearts! I am very grateful for the dear friends that I have in Dubai, and I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the wonderful women who participated in the Clothing Swap!  Your donations have provided a library, books and a better education to kids who really need it.You have helped to make a difference in the lives and futures of some children in Ethiopia. THANK YOU!


Here are a few photos from Mary Alison (where is YOUR photo Mary?!?)  taken at the Clothing Swap!    BEAUTIFUL…inside and out!


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Here is the latest email sent to me by Emily Pramik, the Office Manager from Ethiopia Reads, who has just come back from a trip to Ethiopia!  We have our library location and I am just over the moon!!


It is in a village called Dukem or Ducam, about an hour south of Addis Abeba, near the town of  Debre Zeit,


This is a great location and will be very easy for us to visit. In fact, I visited a school for special needs children in Debre Zeit with my Rotary GSE Team. We helped to put up curtains and blackboards, and to put some finishing touches on their new school building, which was built largely through the fundraising efforts of my host in Addis, Diego Sanchez. I also returned there a month later to deliver school supplies which were purchased by my generous colleagues at Niagara College.


So, we have lift off!  In terms of fundraising, we are sooooo close…SO, if you’ve been thinking about donating but just haven’t gotten around to it…. NOW would be a very very good time!  Woo Hoo!!


Anyway, here is the letter from Emily, and I have also attached the link to Google Earth so you can see the location. We should be having some photos very soon!


Hi Shari,

I’m back! I’m still catching up on a few details but I have great news for you regarding fundraising. A few people in our group took pictures of the school, but they’re still in Ethiopia so I’ll get them to you when they return to the States. It will be in a week or so.
It’s a library for a school in Dukem near the town of Debre Zeit (about an hour from the capital of Addis Ababa). Dana, our country director, who works in Ethiopia, is really excited about the project because it has a fast turn around time and potential to be great. We also have a chance to build the facilities, as a current library building doesn’t exist, so it will be custom-made to work as a quality library. Because of the construction it’s a bit more expensive than our usual libraries, but it’s looking like we’ve established a connection with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Civil Affairs unit and they’re interested in doing construction for us free-of-charge. More on that soon.

I know this is just a quick overview of the library, but I wanted to get back to you because I know you’ve been waiting for some info. I apologize for the delay and promise we’ve been spending time on making the best choice!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you soon with more information and pics.

Thank you and have a great day,


Emily Pramik
Office Manager

Ethiopia Reads
1700 Humboldt Street
Denver, CO 80218


Here is the link to Google Earth for Dukem (which appears to be the small mountain nearby)  or Ducam (which looks like the village)




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While I’ve been relaxing and reading on the beach in Marthas Vineyard, this amazing woman has raised $676 dollars for our library.

Miss Mary Alison Lyman, a beautiful Canadian woman with a beautiful heart ran TWO fundraisers. She organized a “Dance for Charity” event with the students at the Canadian University of Dubai this spring, and more recently, she organized a clothing swap with her colleagues and friends working in Dubai.  They brought their used clothes, swapped them with their friends and paid/donated $10 AED (Emirati durham)  or $2.63 CAD (Canadian dollars) for each purchase.  What a cool idea!!!

I hope that I will be able to organize some volunteer opportunities in Ethiopia with CUD, and with “Miss Mary” on my side, I think we can do just about about anything!

Dear Mary Alison, THANK YOU to you and Elizabeth and to EVERYONE!!  who participated.  I can’t wait to see you again!  When I head back to Ethiopia, I am coming to Dubai to give you all a HUGE HUG!

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The Mesgana dancers are an Ethiopian dance troupe with incredible skill. In conjunction with Ethiopia Reads and COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Education Fund), they tour across North America to help to raise funds to promote literacy and cultural growth in Ethiopia.



The Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEEF) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing quality education to young girls in Ethiopia. The funds for the program are provided through sponsorships and grants from generous individuals and corporations throughout the United States, Canada, Switzerland, England, Israel, and New Zealand. Currently over 600 girls are being given the opportunity to attend high quality private schools in 4 regions of Ethiopia. The girls in the program, because of their lack of financial means to go to school, are provided with uniforms, tuitions, books, and all supplies needed.

‘Mesgana’ means ‘Gratitude or Thankfulness’ in the Ethiopian Amharic language. The girls are all COEEF students and range in age from 7 to 12. Meseret Defar, Olympic Gold Medalist in Athens in the 5k and current world champion, is the honorary director of the ‘Mesgana Dancers’.


Here are a few videos.  The first two are a montage of the dancers, kids and scenes from Ethiopia.  The third is a message from the Director of COEEF and and a profile of one of the girls.  The fourth is a live performance by the girls.








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Visiting with school kids just outside Addis Ababa.

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Wordy Wednesday

It’s that time again…Wordy Wednesday!  Whew!  What a week!  Fun Fact Friday turned into “Fever Friday”  and nothing got written at all since I have been laid low with pneumonia! What a pain! Still, I am on the mend now…day by day.

Fundraising Updates:

1) Mom has been selling all the excess garage sale items online, and people have been popping by the house to pick them up.  The neighbours must wonder what the heck is going on…cars pulling up at all hours, mysterious merchandise and cash changing hands. What the heck are the Squires doing in that garage? Stay tuned for her grand total!

2) We sold about $150  worth of ice cream and popsicles at the Niagara College ESL Fun Day.  To our advantage, the students were encouraged to run around a lot…in the heat…  and then we just conveniently put cute kids selling ice cream in their path! Thanks to Nattalie, Betty Ann and her “Gran-babies” Now, we just have to move that popcorn!

3) I just found out that my dear friend Carolyn is keen to run a golf tournament with another friends of hers this September…and she says I don’t have to do anything…really?????  THANKS CAR!  I think this will be fun!


I’ll leave you today with a Youtube montage of the faces of Ethiopia…so very diverse and so very beautiful!


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