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Ethiopia celebrates WLB with President Negaso Gidada

By Brenda Ruth

AMBO, Ethiopia—About 250 people attended Ethiopia�s World Leaders Build event held on Saturday, Aug. 4, in Ambo. Ethiopia�s President Negaso Gidada attended, along with donors, government officials and community members. In the heart of rainy season, little construction takes place because it is too wet to make blocks. Thus, the event was a ceremony and celebration with the primary purpose of publicizing and fundraising for Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia and the Ambo affiliate.
Photo by Tilly Grey
  President Negaso Gidada plants a seedling with Habitat homeowner Ato Aberra and his child at HFH Ethiopia's World Leaders Build celebration this week.

When the President arrived, he carefully picked his way across the black mud and was greeted by the daughters of several Habitat homeowners. The president and honored guests gathered on the "stage" (the concrete foundation of the Ambo affiliate�s 20th house). In his speech, President Negaso said, "One of the reasons for my presence here today is to appreciate and encourage Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia for the admirable effort it has made to alleviate the severe shortage of standard houses prevailing in the towns."

Following his speech, the president dedicated two houses and drank coffee with a homeowner and his family. "I was very happy our beloved president talked to me in my own language," said Ato Aberra, a Habitat homeowner. "I love Habitat for Humanity very much because it brought the president into my house."
As the President moved about, the crowd circled the perimeter of the Habitat village to plant seedlings. Although everyone got wet and muddy, they all seemed to enjoy being involved.

"Today we are a few hundred people planting trees," said Jennifer Fischer, national coordinator for HFH Ethiopia. "However, we are part of thousands of volunteers in over 80 countries making a difference."

—Brenda Ruth is Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia staff member

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