Shoot, travel, shoot or rather: pack, shoot, travel, shoot, unpack, shoot.
Another lovely day with the best bits at the beginning and the end of the day. Tariku, his mom and his school principal (turns out it wasn't his father) showed up at early at our hotel and we took him out to a massive soccer field just behind our hotel where he and Jessica played soccer.
We got great stuff, they were having so much fun and the light was gorgeous. It turns out that Tariku has become a bit of celebrity since being on TV. His mom's and the principal's phones are ringing off the hook. Afterwards, we dropped Tariku off at a bus station so he could return to his village. I wonder what effect this meeting will have on him. Who knows what he will go on to become and whom he will inspire?
Who knows whom Tariku will go on to inspire?
Jessica then spoke to an audience completely made up of disabled people (adults) and that was a whole different experience. Their interaction with her was much more specific to changing laws and society. We've started a new policy when events are over. EVERYBODY wants a picture with her, preferably one-on-one photos, but it can take forever. We now gather everyone for a group photo and it's helped us stay on schedule.
We headed back to the airport where we flew again with Captain Solomon to the second largest city in Ethiopia, Dire Dawa, not a small town, but provincial, much hotter and more humid. Let's see how that affects us tomorrow and the rest of our trip.
We headed back to the airport where we flew again with Captain Solomon
We arrived just as the sun was going down. It was beautiful because of all the dust in the air.
About 30 children met Jessica at the airport and that was very moving. We barely had enough light to take a group photo in front of the plane that brought us in.
When we finally arrived at our hotel, we did a short interview with Captain Solomon, which had me tearing up. Here is a man who has done so much, starting out as a poor village kid who met some foreigners when they were putting in an airfield near his home and now is a top pilot who owns his own aviation company. He has been very generous and he told us how meeting Jessica has meant so much to him and has him rethinking his entire life, that compared with her he's done nothing and now he needs to start over.
The next few days will be an entirely different experience. Here's what we can expect:
Handicap International works with people with disabilities in over 60 countries and is most likely the NGO that offers the most comprehensive programs for disabilities. They have been working here in Ethiopia since 1986 and this is the second country they took on.
HI has four main projects here, including helping people with disabilities with HIV treatment and care, helping them to recover form sexual abuse and helping wounded refugees from Somalia receive physical therapy in the hope they won't develop lifelong disabilities
HI's newest project, which Jessica is here to help with, is about inclusive education, ensuring that education is open and accessible to all people, especially those with disabilities. In addition to ensuring that the children have access to schools, the program involves training teachers to be able to best help children with disabilities, whether those disabilities be physical or mental.
This pilot program is in six schools, in Dire Dawa, Harare, and Jijiga. We will visit the schools in the first two locations and make home visits to rural children with disabilities. This is where the rubber will meet the road and where we'll see the very real obstacles and needs.
A little gear issue: somehow today my camera fell out of its portabrace bag in the plane (??!!) and the mic shockmount broke off. Hilary gave me some of her butyl tape and I have no fear we'll make it through the rest of the shoot.
72 Gigs today.
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