September is a celebratory month in Ethiopia. On September 11, the children celebrated Enkutatash (New Year’s Day) and welcomed in the year of 2006. Ethiopia follows the Ge’ez calendar which is based on the Coptic calendar. The children celebrated with a special meal and received new clothes for the new school year.
Most of the children will go back to school this week. The university students will start in early October.
Meskel is September 27 and commemorates the finding of the true cross by Queen Helena in the fourth century. Integral to this holiday is the burning of large bonfires with firewood decorated with Maskal daisies (which are beautiful yellow flowers that cover the fields this time of year – end of the rainy season).
We have many other reasons to celebrate. Following are 71 of our precious blessings:
Meaza, one of our graduates and a current employee, had a baby boy in early September. Nazrawi and mom are doing great.
Nazrawi – Two days old
Three New Children
In August, three new boys joined CCC. Yehun will start kindergarten this week and Adegu and Aynachew will start second grade. These boys had been living a small orphanage in Soddo for two years. They visited CCC often and knew the children. It has been an easy transition for them.
Yehun, Adegu, Aynachew
Our five university students, Adanech, Asfaw, Asrat, Assegid, and Mindahun, are just awesome. They all go to university several hours to several days drive from Soddo. They are thriving and learning both valuable life skills and their chosen course of study. We are especially proud of our first young woman in university – Adanech. All the university kids came home for summer break and have enjoyed seeing their friends and family at CCC.
Our two nursing students, Yodit and Domenech, will soon be finishing nursing school. They have six more months of classes and practicums. Both recently passed the government examination for nursing! These two young women have lived independently in Addis and worked extremely hard for the last two years.
Eleventh Graders (2012 – 2013)
Our four eleventh graders are doing very well in school. Eleventh grade is preparatory school for university in Ethiopia. It is a very competitive process to gain admission into the school and is hard work to do well in school. Both Girma and Nebiyu are ranked fourth in their classes of 75 and 80. Serkalem and Meseret Y are ranked 11 and 13 in their classes of 78 and 70.
Meseret is one of our cardiac patients. She came to the US in 2006 for heart surgery. She had a health scare this summer but has recovered and is gaining her strength. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
Tenth Graders (2012 – 2013)
Two of our tenth graders, Abayneh and Helen F, scored very high on the 10th grade national examination and will be attending preparatory school (11th and 12th grade). Abayneh did especially well and received a score with distinction.
Helen is graduating from the CCC program this week and will be entering the Aerie Transition program. She will be living in Soddo with Serkalem (who graduated last year).
Mesganu and Chernet scored well but not high enough for preparatory school. They will be attending vocational school starting in October. In addition, Mesganu is training and practicing with the Soddo professional football (soccer) team and is currently playing on the amateur team.
Ninth Graders (2012 – 2013)
Our four ninth graders, Habitamu T, Binyam, Michael, and Tesfanesh all passed ninth grade and will be entering tenth grade next week. These four students have to work very hard in school and will be busy this year preparing for the 10th grade national examination.
Eight Graders (2012 – 2013)
The exciting news for the eighth graders is that all they passed the national examination and will entering high school next week. The new high school students are Asnakie, Tseganesh, Helen B, Mimilla, and America. Asnakie scored a 96% on his test and Tseganesh scored a 91% (fantastic scores).
Fifth and Seventh Graders (2012 – 2013)
We have seven kids who were in fifth or seventh grade last year: Weynishet (5), Omodar (5), Zinash (5), Samirawit (5), Frehiwot (5), Dawit (7), and Meseret L (7). Five of the students were in the top 10 of their class: Weynishet, Omodar, Frehiwot, Dawit, and Meseret.
Omodar recently passed an entrance examination for the elite Soddo school called Lika School. This school only takes students who are ranked in the top 5 percentile in the city. Omodar will be able to attend the Lika School through 12th grade. She is very excited.
Zinash worked hard this summer helping Megan and Laura, our summer volunteers, with the summer camp. Zinash always loves to help.
Samirawit – 13 years old
Zinash – 13 years old
Third and Fourth Graders (2012 – 2103)
Our third and fourth graders are a remarkable bunch. They all did great in school:
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These students are competitive with each other. It is a friendly competition but they are all striving to do very well in school. They will be a fun group to watch as they progress in school.
This summer in the summer camp program these children read Shiloh with Megan and Laura. They enjoyed the book. The kids especially love books about animals.
Abeba – 12 years old
First and Second Graders (2012 -2013)
We have 15 first and second graders. They are high energy, happy, and love school. This summer they read Tikki Tikki Tembo and did projects themed around the book with Megan and Laura.
Ammanuel D (2), Zalieke (2), Berket Y (2), Fitsum (2), Asnakech (2), Agene (2), and Aregash (2) are ranked in the top 10 of their class of 56 students.
Addisu Alemayew (1) is all boy. He loves to play and especially loves football (soccer).
Melkamu (2) and Selamawit (2) are both a little shy and quiet. When they get to know you, they have beautiful smiles that lit up the room.
Meaza (2) is sassy in the best way possible. She loves to make people laugh and is a beautiful singer.
Hana (2) is a smart, silly kid with a very tender heart.
Hana – 10 years old
Dushure (2) marches to the beat of her own drum. She is a wonderful artist.
Habitamu M (2) is a silly kid with a million dollar smile.
Habitamu – M – 10 years old
Nanni (1) is a lovable, cuddly kid. She will observe from a distance until she gets to know you.
We have 10 children in kindergarten. They are balls of energy that love to cuddle, hug, and sing.
Aster is thoughtful and observant. She intensely watches things. She still loves to sit in laps and cuddle.
Aster – 6 years old
Ammanual A is very much all boy. He loves to play and build things and knock them down.
Meskerem is quiet. She likes to listen and learn from her surroundings.
Yohannes and Abite are the CCC class clowns. They are lovable and mischievous.
Abite, Yohannes, Ammanuel, Yabsera, and Bereket J cheer for the girls while they play football
Konjit and Bereket J are twins. Both are very smart and expressive and speak good English.
Yabsera is a quiet, sweet, gentle soul.
Faris is an excellent student who loves school.
Mitten is all smiles, cuddles, and hugs.
Metasebya (Inatu) is two years old. She is the baby and everyone wants to take care of her. She is fast learning to be one of the kids and is developing awesome confidence.
Eyayu is four years old. She loves to color, jump rope, and be one of the big kids.
Eyayu – 4 years old
I am so proud of these kids. When I read this over, this post seems outrageously braggy and boastful but I want to let you know how great the children are doing. These children have not had easy lives – they are orphans in a country without many options. Despite the hardships, we have young adults in university; two girls soon graduating from nursing school; and our graduates thriving in the Soddo community. Nine years ago, people said it wasn’t possible – not to expect a lot. Well, our kids have proven the doubters wrong!
None of this would be possible without the support of our dedicated sponsors and donors. I am extremely grateful to all of you who allow us to continue work in Soddo with these 70 awesome young adults and children.