Prize-wrapping under guard!

Last week, the much awaited end-of-year prize giving has taken place at Mehoni schools, including our project school Lemlem Baro. Getting the prizes ready this time around was more challenging than usual, as Lesley reports from Mehoni.

‘Due to my early arrival in Mehoni, school exams were still in progress. There were government stewards monitoring the 8th grade government exams at all schools, and no one but the exam candidates and stewards was allowed to enter the school. For three half days and evenings I worked in a small extra room our hotel let me have for this purpose. We had wonderful prize material, some of it from GE Electric Volunteers’ group, some from EE board member Tatjana Meier and her colleagues from IBM, some from Swiss Re and even the Limmattal Bahn! I wrapped over 200 prizes for Lemlem, difficult in a small room and without help as the teachers were monitoring exams at other schools on the exact days we had set aside for this. We even had enough material to make 20 lovely prizes for the top ten 9th grade and 10th grade students from Mehoni High School where we are running our scholarship program. The school was delighted.

Thanks to a good supply of coloured pencils and colouring-in sheets, we were able to give two other primary schools from our sub-project school group a large box of the pencils and a healthy pile of the sheets, plus sharpeners. They were thrilled. And while I was packing, I got another thrill. On one of the packing days, the new Ethiopian Prime Minister visited Raya and of course Mehoni as its main town. He came to lunch in our hotel (CHF 25 per night which is a lot in Mehoni but our preferred, cheaper family hotel is being renovated). When I heard all the commotion, I slipped out of my room to photograph the courtyard where lunch was being set up. As the hotel is open plan, I was observed. The next time I came out of my room, I found an armed guard sitting on the balcony opposite my room!’

Many thanks to all those who donated this high quality and truly helpful material.

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