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Ethiopia: the eighth wonder of the world

It’s a bank holiday weekend so four of us from the office grab the opportunity to visit Lalibela in the north of Ethiopia.

After a sweltering plane flight and a not-for-the-faint-hearted mountain track drive, we arrive in the beautiful hillside town.

The views are breathtaking.

There is an atmosphere of celebration here.

Pilgrims (plus a few tourists) have come to the town to visit the ancient rock-hewn churches.

These twelfth century churches, painstakingly and impressively carved into the rock, are talked of as the eighth wonder of the world but don’t get the recognition, or indeed the conservation, they deserve.

It’s amazing to see somewhere like this so unspoilt by tourism, and we practically have the place to ourselves.

Bet Giyorgis (church of St George) from above.

Celebratory prayer, ceremony, music and singing go on all weekend and we feel privileged to be there and be welcomed with endless ‘happy new year’ greetings.

All too soon it’s time to head back to the city to get back to work.

Child marriage

I’m attending a conference on child marriage. As communications writer, I find myself as note taker for the day, and event organiser.

The event is a success and was attended by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs and numerous NGOs from across the country.

It’s clear that the call for an end to child marriage is strong but the complexity and deep-rooted traditions in Ethiopia present a huge challenge to being completely eradicated.

Child marriage is a hugely prevalent issue in many countries, much more than I realised, and has massive repercussions not only on the girls but also hinders development out of poverty as young married girls get no education and their health is severely impeded.

The best insight, if you have ten minutes, is to watch this video.

It’s an issue which is backed by the Elders – an independent global body of leaders headed up by Nelson Mandela.

Desmond Tutu wrote an address for our conference. It’s humbling to be part of the same movement.

Communicating Save the Children

There’s so much going on across the different sectors we work in (health, nutrition, child protection, education etc) that it can be difficult to sum it all up into something tangible, succinct and easily understandable.

I’m really enjoying my time here, it’s a world away from life in Hampshire, and I can’t believe nearly a month has gone already.

 

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