The team is now back from the pilgrmage.Tsegab provided his cruiser, I covered the fuel. It was a good deal. All enjoyed the trip/excursion.
Sunday morning we worshiped with the members there.The hall was filled to capacity.Some 200 people were there.After the service, we had a marathon meeting after eating some food offered by the church.Coffee/tea/soft drinks were there.Civilization is crawling in.You could not expect these things some
years back.

The long meeting started with progress report that included activites involving Sunday school,road maintenance, hand dug well, coffee planting, reafforestation,etc.In the past year, they planted over 2,000 tree seedlings.The 4-kms road was manageable.We drove straight to the church.That was a breakthrough.Still there were spots that needed work.The committee promised to work on it. The hand dug well is providing water,still not clean enough for drinking.Some further work is needed which will be done this year.They planted 100 coffee seedlings this year.I am in the process of negotiating with my sister Dessie to relinqish a piece of land I allowe her to plant coffee on some years back.I am willing to compensate her.Negotiation is in progress.Once that piece of land is secured, more coffee plants will be planted to serve as a source of income generation. Activities involving kindergarten services are in good progress.Inaddition to existing services, they have now identified some 80 children who don't go to school.They are working as shepherds or farm hands.They plan to negotiate with their parents so that they could be released for some sort of education at a convenient time.Time good enough for parents and children.The parents may look after the cattle when the children attend make shift classes.It is called alternative education in Ethiopia.Povery denies time for school attendance.Shooling will have to be done in the local context.This is a very important project for the Foundation.

Sponsorship program is in progress.10 children have been enrolled.The demand was so much people had to fight for it.The criteria set delimited many.The committee was under a big pressure and accused of nepotism.In fact, this was not the case.We examined the criteria against admitted children.The service was highly appreciated.The children were sponsored only for one year.It was conditional on their performance.The children complained of lack of facilities at nights.The committee is planning to provide kerosene to help sponsored children to perform better.This is again contextualization.The committee tries to address issues in response to local conditions.In view of the demand, the committee in Addis Ababa is considering to raise the number of beneficiaries to 15. The Addis Ababa team found it necessary to get the Foundation registered with the Government.We visited the relevant government offices and discussed the issues of registration.I think they were impressed by our presentation.We visited the Zone at Nekemte and Woreda Office at Gute.The registration process is in good progress.This will facilitate fund raising for the Foundation,NGO.A tukul for museum and office is under consideration.The construction may start this year.A committee was set up to work on it.I am sure this will interest you very much. Aynalem, let me stop here.I cannot write in detail.Still I have internet problem.For now this may give you a mental picture. We are thoroughly enthused.Today, I spent the whole day drafting the constitution for registration.We are on top of the world.Do what you can from your end.


In the news !

Ato Kebebew Daka and Sister Yeshi Kassu Visit Athens

Following an envitation from our beloved sister Hanna Hadjiliades, Buraka founder Ato Kebebew Daka travelled to Athens Greece with Sister Yeshi Kassu for a 10-day visit. They were accorded a warm welcome by their favorite niece Hanna (Zewditu Jekon Buraka's daughter) who organized touring events to numerous historical sites, including places where Paul preached. 

Our sister Hanna also invited Gash Kebebew to deliver Burakas message to the congregation of her church where a number of individuals approcahed him to make enquiries and offer help. Gashe kebebew and Sister Yeshi returned to Addis Ababa October 18, 2007

Buraka News
 A team from Addis team travels to Arya Jawi: 

Gash Kebebew writes (Nov. 6, 2007):

Members of the travelling team will include, Kebebew,Yeshi, Tsegab, Georgo, and Fikru Regassa, the pilot. We will drive Tsegab's land cruiser. I will give you a  short progress report soon after my return.

                                                6000 Birr spent to re-pave road                

February 4, 2008

Dear Aynalem,

In this scientific age, lack of a single bulldozer in Nekemte breaks your heart to a point of desperation. Three years at a strech we beggeg the Municiaplity of Nekemte to give us its grader on rent. But could not  get it, on the  ground that most of the time it was out of operation, in a garage.This year we managed to hire one at 650 Birr per hour from another company. For about 6000 Birr, we managed to have a rudimentary clearing up to the Arya Jawi yesterday, the 3rd of February,historic. Now one can drive straight to the church during the dry season. True, you always insisted on having it gravelled. Aynalem, believe it or not, nature has deprived the area of stones/rocks. Getting rocks from outside is absolutely beyond the reach of the community. We would not even dream of it. This,in our judgment is a breakthrough. Shout with us  a "Hurraha" for the sake of unity of pupose. Yes, it does not
satisfy you.We walk and act according to the context. Who knows your desire may be achieved one day. I may not live to see it though. For now it is a
big victory.We can now put a sign. This is to ask you to rejoice with us. 2008 has witnessed two breakthroughs. Praise God. Give our regards to all

February 24, 2008

Dear Aynalem,

This is a continuation; The 18th February meeting basically focused on the way forward after the issuance of the Foundation license.

1)Word of appreciation;

I started the introduction by giving appreciation to those who had contributed significantly  to the registration process of the Foundation by shuttling between Nekemte and  Gute.Nekemte is the zone and Gute is the woreda. The authorities are very suspicious about NGOs. We had to do a lot of explanations to prove that we are non-political.

2)Signing of Project Proposal:

This is a requirement to start operations. For this to happen an Executive Committee had to be established at Arya Jawi. This had to be done formally. We discussed the steps and made recommendations. It is actually this committee that will have to sign agreement with the local
authorities. The process is in progress.

3)PR with authorities at Gute and Nekemte.

On the 19th, we had to shuttle between Gute and Nekemte. We were given cordial receptions. The question we were repeatedly asked was "Who was or is Buraka?". This gave us a golden  oppportunity to revive the history of Buraka. When we went to the zonal office,highest
authority, we found a Buraka descendant,Girma Terefe, who is second in authority. We had contacted him the previous day by telephone and he  gave us a warm welcome and promissed to do everthing to  facilitate  the operation of the project.

4)Appointment of a coordinator:

We  found the pastor of the church who is articulate and really professional the right person for this post. Without his contributions, we could not have moved so far. He may be interested to come on board but our financial resources are limited to have him on a full time basis. For now we are considering to give him a top up of 200 Birr for his extra work. We can take him full time for 600 Birr. The Executive Committee is weighing options. He has promised to support us as  a part time worker for the next one year. I will spare you other details.

On the 20th of February, we left for Addis Ababa early in the morning. As soon as we reached Bako, 80kms from Nekemte, we get a bad news by phone. Tadellech Makonnen's father had passed away. We had visited him the previous day. We had to return to Nekemte to attend his burial
ceremony. We spent the evening with the family. Please call her at ..... and pay your condolences. Let me stop here for a respite.
Give my regards to all the loved ones. Yeshi sends her love.

Buraka News
Gash Kebebew makes 2nd trip in 3 months, holds a meeting at Arya Jawi and sends the below email
Buraka News
January 19 2009
An Addis team travels to Aria Jawi joined by a founding member from California

Development does not come easy. This is no where more evident than in Western Ethiopia where progress moves at a snail's-pace hampered in part by the never-ending re-building of the main access road from Addis. I have been told that it is many years behind schedule. 

In Nekemt, the first act after arrival was to take possession of the hotel-room keys at Ethiopia Hotel to look inside and inspect available amenities. This is the same hotel where I spent two nights 23 years ago, and it was evident that the place has been in constant decline. I will say no more about Ethiopia Hotel except to add that we were forced to relocate to another hotel forsaking the payments made to reserve rooms.

The morning after, we traveled to Arya Jawi driving proudly on the 4 and a half kilometer road the Buraka Foundation built. It took us all the way to the compound where another symbol of the Foundation's achievements stood - the church. 

Gash Kebebew, his wife Woizero Yeshi Kasu, Tsegaab Kebebew, and Fikru Regassa got to business right away seated on a couple of benches flanked by the pastor - Pastor Fekadu - and local officials of the Foundation's various committees including the Education Committee.

 I walked away to visit students in the room next door drawn to the beautiful chorus of youngsters learning the letters of the alphabet. The Sunday school was in full swing - another achievement of the Buraka Foundation. Students took turns to teach sections of the alphabet while the teacher and his assistant looked on. They were young and beautiful and of mixed age and gender. I, later on, interviewed the teacher and his assistant to learn about their progress as well as challenges. Needless to say, lack of resources is the number one complaint. 

Back in the other room the meeting was progressing with a lot of back-and-forth in the most democratic of ways with lots of questions asked and answers given as local committee leaders sought explanations and asked for guidance in matters that are both mundane and challenging. When I arrived back to take pictures they were in the final stages where money donated mainly by the founding members was being turned in and receipts issued. It was a wonderful site. 

The next hour or so was spent taking videos of Arya Jawi kids and women many of whom are scholarship recipients (ten students) and beneficiaries of small loans - five hundred Birr each - to start small business. There were ten women beneficiaries. This special hour included a prayer meeting inside the church where Pator Fekade spoke about the history of the church itself and of the Buraka Foundation. 

Gash Kebebew used the occasion to, for the first time, relate the circumstances that led to the founding of the Buraka Foundation, the struggles that ensued, and his vision for the future.  The leader of the Women's Committee spoke next. She was bright, eloquent, and full of praise for what the Buraka Foundation has done for Ayra Jawi women in the few years it has been around and wondered aloud what can be achieved in the future given the current pace of progress. The head of the Youth Committee also spoke. I was next.

 I reminded everyone gathered that all of the goodwill and money in the world will amount to nothing without the untiring efforts of committed and dedicated individuals like Gash Kebebew. It was his desire to look beyond the personal and look beyond family and kin as well as a lifelong desire to help everyone in Arya Jawi, that led him to this mission. I would like to also remind all readers of this web page to feel the same way and look beyond family and kin and help everyone in Arya Jawi. 

Please send your contribution today by visiting the "fundraising" page. You will be sent receipts for your donations straight from Arya Jawi. I guarantee it.  And yes, I am back in California, but what a momentous and memorable visit.  

Founding member: Aynalem Adugna.