Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mission No. 1 - The Big Reveal

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on something. This is the beginning of that something.

First, a bit of background (you know by now that I start everything with "a bit of background.") I've wanted to start a foundation for years. The path to get here has been long and winding. It's become clear myriad times that the path I was heading down was not the "right" one. (And the signs were very obvious. Like, say, a brick coming off the back of the truck in front of me, flying toward my windshield as I drove 70+ mph thinking I'd just gotten the idea of the century.)

After returning from Ethiopia, I was more sure than ever that the reason each of my previous endeavors failed to get off the ground was because I had not yet been to Ethiopia. I had not yet seen that kind of need. I had not yet connected with someone who lived such a different way of life.

Since returning, I've thought and thought. I always thought I wanted to do something around literacy (being a writer), but honestly after seeing what I saw in Ethiopia, I found myself thinking, "Who cares if you can read if you will starve before morning?" But literacy IS important, and I believe education is the key to everything.

I continued to think.

I'm still working on the exact nature of the need or needs the foundation will primarily serve. And, truthfully, I may just let it evolve until it finally becomes what it is designed by Someone Else to be. I know I need to partner with folks on the ground in Ethiopia who know not only what the needs are, but how to get in there and DO something, get past red tape, etc. I'm actively working on that.

For now, I have an initial endeavor, and I need your help.

Through AGCI, I've learned about a woman who is a special mother at Hannah's Hope. She works primarily with the infants.

Her name is Etagegne. Etagenge has 5 children; the oldest is 15 and the youngest are 3-year-old twin boys.

She is about 30 years old and her husband was injured in the Ethiopian/Eritrean war and, as such, is as dependent on her as are her children. Despite the daily challenges of her life, according to Almaz, you'd never know they existed upon meeting her. She possesses true joy, believes wholly and completely in God, and is willing to work 24 hours a day to allow her children to attend school and have three meals a day.

Here's the kicker. She is almost finished with nursing school. Being a nurse is her greatest dream for herself. Once she obtains her nursing license, she can work more normal hours and receive far better pay to care for her family.

The problem is, she can't afford to take the test to obtain her nursing license!

How much does such a test cost? Only $500.

$500 stands between Etagegne and not only her dream for herself, but her dream to be able to properly provide for her family.

This is a situation we can remedy immediately. I'm sure of it. This is the sort of situation that drives me --- a specific situation, a specific person, a specific need. Not a big ol' bucket from which $30 here and $40 there will be pulled for who knows what or who knows who.

This is a situation where we can each donate $1 or $10 or $20 and KNOW that we helped this woman obtain her nursing license and move closer to fulfilling her dreams. This is what assisting in Ethiopia is about for me. It's about ensuring that one day, with some amount of luck, there will be no need for places like Hannah's Hope. One day, parents will be able to care for their children. A $500 test will not stand in their way.

Now, let me be very honest. My foundation is not yet incorporated. I'll begin the process tonight. Therefore, donations aren't tax deductible. If you don't know me (or know me but don't trust me!) enough to donate before my foundation is formally registered as a not-for-profit organization, don't do it. Seriously. The only way I know to do this right now is to have folks donate through my ChipIn account (which goes to my Paypal account). I'll write a check to AGCI when we hit $500, they'll send it to Almaz, and Almaz will ensure that every penny is used to register Etagegne for the test that will enable her to get her license.

For the record, this is how my organization will ALWAYS work. Every donated penny will go to its specified cause. It's imperative to me for donors to know and approve of each and every cause they are supporting.

To that end, there will be a tally on the blog showing how close we are to our $500 goal. When the goal is met, I'll make a bold announcement. If we go over, any monies that are above and beyond the $500 will either be refunded to their donors or the donors will be contacted to ensure that the cause to which the moneys will be shifted is acceptable to them. Again, this is the cornerstone of this organization. I want all donors to go to bed each night knowing exactly the shape and size of the footprint they left that day on someone else's life journey.

At this point, you may be wondering, "What the heck is the NAME of this organization?" Without further ado, let me announce that Project Etagegne is the innaugural effort of:

Believe Impossible Things

Because Everything is Possible

I'll post the story behind the name soon, but for now, who cares. Let's just get Etagegne that nursing license! I'm donating $100 to get us started, and I won't post again until we reach that goal. So, if you like to read my posts, let's get on with this already!

TONS more details to come...


Kerri said...

I have always wanted to do some kind of health care-related service work. How can I not help a future nurse!
Kerri, Medina, and Ruby

Dawn said...

You are amazing! People always want to help, but don't always know how. So, thanks for doing this!