When I went with VLM to Ethiopia in 2008 I never planned to go back there.
I did go back a second time and that was a fatal decision. I got caught!
I had to return a third time and then a fourth and each year totalling 11 years until 2019 when the Pandemic stopped me from going. Will I go again? Of course I will. I have not changed Ethiopia, nor Addis Ababa nor even one small village, but I might have changed the lives of a few people I met along the way.
My going to Ethiopia has been life changing; a wonderful experience. My own children and their partners, my siblings, and friends near and far, have been enormously supportive. I have forged new pathways and made some very special friends who have enriched my life immeasurably and given me new learning in more ways than one.
The population of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world today is 120m. In 30 years, by 2050 the population is forecast to reach 170m, an increase of 50 million or I.75 million a year. That means that 50 million children will be born into one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet Ireland, one of the richest countries in the world gives too little in overseas aid. In 2020 Ireland gave a total of 867,534, 000 of which 39,677,000 went to Ethiopia.
When it comes to Ethiopia, I owe very much to VLM the Vincentian Lay Missionaries including Fr Michael, Fr Stephen, and Abba Asfaw.
For me today Ethiopia is very much about the Daughters of Charity: their courage, their charm. And their commitments to the poor in their clinics, their schools water development projects and of course the women’s development projects including their income generating projects, rural and urban.
I owe them everything.
We must continue to support VLM. It is a fine organisation
Relative to the poverties of Ethiopia, VLM’s contribution is but a drop in the ocean but in time I hope we can make those drops into cups; into buckets; into streams.