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Schools for Humanity Today, more than ever, we need a revolution in education and SFH is leading the way. More >
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Schools for Humanity We’ve been in touch with the U.S. State Department to learn how Schools for Humanity can help with the tragedy in Haiti. More >
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Schools for Humanity “You’re making such a difference to our community. Before the school, we had no hope. With the school we can make dreams...” More >
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Dena Brown
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My goal to visit Africa was FINALLY achieved!! The trip was a GREAT success and I think all of us that were there will never think of Ethiopia in the same way again.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. But after being there for ONE day, my life and my heart was changed forever. I will never forget the love and compassion that everybody shared with us and each other! While walking down the streets of Shashemene, I immediately noticed almost everyone holding hands and hugging one another. What a true sign of love, support, protection and affection.

My first day in Shashemene was truly AMAZING and I didn't want the day to end. I remember walking down a dirt road early that morning and hearing children yell out the word " Selam, Selam, Selam". Selam means "Hello" in Amharic, which is the traditional language in Ethiopia. Everyone was so excited to see us. I remember turning this one special corner and I could see what looked like hundreds of children singing, dancing, and jumping all over the place. They were soooo happy!!!! I remember asking myself, "Wow, what are they celebrating today"? When the children saw us walking down the street, they all started running towards us. Singing, and dancing with HUGE smiles on their beautiful faces. Every one of them wanted to hug and hold my hands.

When I realized that all of the singing, and dancing was the children's way of welcoming us to Shashemene, it brought tears to my eyes.....They presented all of us with beautiful flower arrangements, and a wonderful "Welcome" ceremony. I cried during the entire ceremony...... After the "Welcome" ceremony, we were presented with a private traditional "Coffee' ceremony. The coffee was taken through this full cycle of preparation in front us in a ceremonial manner. They taught us how to roast the coffee beans on a special roasting pan. This is where I learned that coffee is called 'Bunna' (boo-na) by the Ethiopians.

After the coffee ceremony and homemade bread, we walked for a awhile to see the land that was granted to Schools for Humanity. Later in the afternoon, the children played soccer, while proudly sporting the Jersey's that the children at the Ralston Middle School in Belmont, California donated. The children ran and played soccer for hours, WITHOUT shoes on their precious feet. I couldn't believe my eyes...I danced and sang with the beautiful, energetic cheerleaders. They proudly chanted "My team is better then your team" in Amharic, which was classic music to my ears. Halfway through the soccer game, we took a group a kids and taught them how to color.

They all wanted to sit on my lap and hold my hands. The affection and love that they showed me was amazing. I was a total stranger to them and they acted as if I was family the instant that we met. I've never been anywhere in the world and felt such never ending, warmth, love and affection at no cost. I experienced all of this during my first day in Shashemene. I could write for hours and try to explain how wonderful my experience was, and I still don't think I could make you understand how moved I was. You just had to be there. To see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it, and then you would understand my passion for the children in Shashemene. I LOVED my experience and will cherish the memories forever.

My plans are to spread that word about Schools for Humanity, by sharing my experience in Ethiopia every chance that I get, and also, by organizing future fund raising events, to help with supporting the children that we get the opportunity to help.

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