1. Students enjoying one of the books donated to us by friends and family- the Children’s Illustrated Dictionary. 


  2. Grassroot Soccer [2nd Intervention]
    March 11 - May 1, 2014.

    A new group of 20 students [in 6th & 7th grade] completed the Grassroot Soccer program this past semester. We met every Tuesdays and Thursdays for 11 sessions, then had a graduation ceremony on May 1st. Out of the 20 students who graduated, 13 were female students. This is extremely exciting for me, since it means that the girls have gained not only HIV/AIDs prevention education, but a substantial support network with each other. Also, this illustrates that female students are being encouraged to participate in after school / educational activities more, and as Dr. S. Tharoor said, “if you educate a girl, you educate a family and benefit an entire community.” 


  3. First photo: June 5, 2012 @ the D.C. airport, before flying to Ethiopia.

    Second & third photo: May 27, 2014 @ Africana Lodge, Lake Langano, for our Close-of-Service Conference.

    Happy 2 year anniversary, G7. We arrived clueless, bright-eyed, and confused about what day / time it was [what is local time?!], but over the course of our service, we made Ethiopia our home and Ethiopia has made us family - with each other, and with our local communities. [As Laura said, we are now "a lot smaller but a lot closer. In fact, probably too close."] Ethiopia has also made us braver, more resilient, resourceful, humble, and patient, among a million other things that will not be evident immediately. 

    During the conference, one of the activities we did was the Six Word Memoir. We had to write a memoir / description of our Peace Corps Ethiopia service in six words, and here are some from my group and previous groups that I appreciated.

    • "I’m looking forward to looking back."
    • "Grammar I lost. Yoda I am."
    • "I’ve learned more than I taught."
    • "Culture is not universal; heart is."
    • "In little eyes, I found myself."
    • "I came. I ate. Shint bet."

    We will leave as changed people, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Less than 2 months to go, let’s finish strong.


  4. [May 5th, 2014]

    Welcome to Leku, Melanie [G10]! And happy 2nd birthday to Surafel!

    My new sitemate Melanie has completed Pre-Service Training and swore-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on May 2nd. Two days later, she arrived in Leku, and we’ve been partying it up - as in, we bought new buckets and kitchen supplies for her, ordered furniture, ate with different friends around town, made pancakes, ran in the mornings, and watched Parks & Recreation episodes - together, and it has been a blast.

    Originally from Ohio, and now Leku’s first Health Volunteer, Melanie enjoys reading, watching films, and playing + watching soccer [among other sports]! Plus, she’s a Real Madrid girl like myself, so we’ve also been watching soccer games together at our DSTV bet [a room with rows of wooden benches and a few TVs to watch sport games and movies on the DSTV network for 2birr]. I know, I am so lucky to have a sitemate who enjoys watching soccer!

    Surafel’s birthday party was a great introduction to Leku, since it involved so many things Ethiopian - difo dabo [the huge, round bread], buna [coffee], mezmur [Protestant, religious music], and taking tons of photos. The second one is my favorite - where did Surafel go?

    So as Melanie begins her Peace Corps journey, I am slowly closing mine. [I leave Ethiopia in about 3 months.]  Even though we are in completely different stages of our experience, I am so glad she’s here in Leku with me, and that we can share 3 months of this journey together. 



    [April 25, 2014]

    With my Club GLOW [Girls&Guys Leading Our World] Student Leaders, we planned our second event: a Malaria Lesson [to STOMP OUT MALARIA] for 20 other 7th grade students. [Check out our first event on Social Challenges / Gender Inequality.] Unfortunately malaria [a preventable and curable disease] is still a huge problem and a leading cause of death in Ethiopia. So what did we do on World Malaria Day?

    We opened the program with a game of Malaria Freeze Tag, a fun and interactive way to illustrate 3 key messages: 1) malaria is transferred by a mosquito, 2) sleeping under a bet net protects from malaria, and 3) malaria medicine should be taken promptly.  Then we challenged the students with [TRUE or FALSE? What do you know about malaria?]. Many students were surprised to learn that malaria exists in other parts of the world - not just Africa - and that malaria kills a child every 45 seconds. 

    Next, the Student Leaders performed a skit on how malaria transfers: a hungry Anopheles mosquito bites an infected person, then travels into a neighbor’s home, and bites a new person, who is not sleeping under a bed net! But the Anopheles mosquito cannot bite and transmit malaria to another home, where everyone was sleeping under a bed net. Afterwards, we had a demonstration on how to properly use a bed net, and the Student Leaders emphasized that you must always check that there are no rips / tears / holes.

    Then we read out loud together:


    1. Malaria is a preventable, but life-threatening disease that can kill you and your dreams.
    2. Malaria is transmitted only by a special kind of mosquito - called the Anopheles mosquito - which primarily bites at night.
    3. Malaria symptoms are fever, chills, headache, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms.
    4. Malaria should be treated immediately. If you think you or someone in your family might have malaria, visit a health clinic as soon as possible. They have a test to tell if you have malaria.
    5. Malaria has been eliminated in much of the world, through the use of insecticides, medicine, and by sleeping under mosquito nets. 
    6. Malaria is preventable and curable. You have the power to end malaria deaths in your community, in your country, and throughout Africa.

    To close our program, we all signed our names on three different posters: FIGHT THE BITE, USE A MOSQUITO NET EVERY NIGHT, and STOMP OUT MALARIA. The students that participated in this program promised to share their knowledge and malaria facts to their family and friends, because we have the power to end malaria deaths in our communities.  

    This has been the efforts of the students of Leku Primary School, Ethiopia, to Stomp Out Malaria


  7. Playing a round of Malaria Freeze Tag.

    This game helps to reinforce three key messages about malaria:

    1)   mosquitoes transfer malaria;
    2)   sleeping under a bed net protects from malaria; and
    3)   malaria medicine should be taken promptly.


  8. Leku Club GLOW [Girls & Guys Leading Our World] student leaders demonstrating proper bed net [አጎበር] usage, for World Malaria Day [April 25, 2014].