On 23rd September we were delighted to hold an evening event in our lovely church hall to commence our parish connection with our partner parish in Ethiopia via the Connect 2 scheme for parishes. We had researched recipes for the meal and put up decorations to give the Ethiopian feel which together with Ethiopian music really created a wonderful atmosphere. We were happy to welcome our speaker, Nana Anto-Awuakye (CAFOD’s World news manager).
Nana who had recently returned from her visit to Ethiopia started off the evening by getting us all to greet each other in the Ethiopian way.
She then reported on the effects of the current drought, showed us some photos of the people and spoke of the importance of maintaining the dignity of those most affected. She said that that most important requirement of respect was listening to their needs and what they said was helpful to them was the issuing of cash to those in need. This has the effect of allowing the local economy to continue rather than be unable to function due to aid supplies supplanting it. Interestingly, and realistically, the cash is given to the women. Their reliability in ensuring the money is used to relieve suffering is recognised in a similar way to the first micro-banks such as Grameen.
The food was then served and the research paid dividends as the dishes were much-appreciated, so much so that we will collect them to publish in our parish magazine. The Defo Dabo bread was especially appreciated and the Honey Yeast Bread (more like pancakes) were excellent. Several of them will become staples for me! The drinks included red wine which is a favourite in Ethiopia, I suspect due to their period of Italian colonisation. Of course there was Ethiopian coffee to end the evening, but served in somewhat larger cups than those shown to us by Nana.
We not only raised an amazing £300 for C2 Ethiopia (with over £242 being gift-aided and thus increasing the total amount to over £360!). but informed parishioners how important carefully-targeted help is in enabling the retention of the local economy in times of severe duress.
Written by Yvonne Edwards