Letter From Amlaku

amlaku_crop.jpgMarch 2016.

Dear Ones,

My name is Amlaku. I am from Lalibela, Ethiopia. My birth place is called Baregota. I left my birth place when I was about 12, motivated by my neighbor boy, who was studying school while I was restricted from school due to economical and other factors. I was often asking my natural father if he were able to send me to school but at that time it didn’t work due to economical factors. Ultimately I escaped from my family and fled to Lalibela, about 8km away. My main object in leaving my birth place was to get education. At that time I knew nothing much about education, however when I saw my neighbor’s son, who was in school, come for a break every weekend, I observed every character of him, the way he dress and the way he do things, he was totally exceptional compared to those who live in the village, including me. He was just a way better than the rest of us in the village. I remembered my approach toward him when he came for a break every week, I used to ask him about his education but he always treated me like a kid. In fact I was younger than him, but I was conscious and serious for my question. It was then, I had started insisting my natural father should send me to school like my neighbor. However, my attempt to get sponsorship by my natural father remained unfruitful.

Starting from the day I left Baregota, for nearly 4 years I used to sleep on the street. I was only idle for about six months because when I escaped from my family in the country side it was in the middle of the year, which was already too late to start education. So it was a duty for me to stay till the enrolment time came. But I used that time to meet people and make friends of those people  who were poor and slept in the street. The toughest time I had was working out how to integrate with the new society in the town because I was clueless on how to get food.  The first work I have had was in a small restaurant as “garbage delivery”. I also carried luggages and other small stuffs from the local bus station to their homes, the passengers preferred us to carried their stuffs because we didn’t charge them much like the adults do. We just received what they gave us.  In that way I have survived for four years in the street.

It was in the new school enrolment year on September 23/2000 I had started school. During that toughest life, I had met  several good people who motivated me and helped me by offering a small job to generate income for food. Among those individuals are Kiwi and Binyam, both of them are working in tourism industry  as tour guides in Lalibela.

The most significant day I have ever had, otherwise the day that changed my life version, was the day I met Mr. Ric Foxley here in Lalibela. Actually he is my father now, I call him “Dad”. Specially these days I will never doubt about his faithfulness to me, and he will remain forever. He has done a most notable and irreplaceable thing to my life. Without him  and his support it’s unimaginable to find myself where I am today!

It was six and half years ago we met each other on June Saturday in the afternoon 13/2009. I was asked by his guide Kiwi to take him to the cave church of “Yemerhane Kirstos” which means CHRIST LEAD US. It is an older church than those in Lalibela, built in the beginning of 10th century. So it was when I had that chance traveling together 42km with him  that I had explained to him about my up and down life story, aiming to have his support. Of course, eventually God has blessed me into convince Mr.Ric to support me, because if I were not had his will, it was no way I will join university and do my education the way I want it.

I graduated my bachelor degree in 2013. Soon after I prepared a proposal to operate a first modern agricultural practice in my remote area where farmers follow a primitive cultivation practice throughout the centuries. My proposals were targeting to have financial help in order to make functional my theoretical plan into practice, aiming to emerge the first ever new modern agricultural project in the area. As result, my beloved father Ric, who is still committed to make differences in my community, collected the amount of money I figured out in the proposal. Within 4-5 month later, I had received the money I requested him, having the donation from various Good people. In the meantime, I would like to thank them all on behalf of the community and myself. Because without their financial donation and conceptual support we couldn’t do what we have done in the village today.

 In October 2015, Ric himself visited me since six years later I first met him. Honestly speaking when I first met him, I had a very little time to speak with him face to face. I can say it was this year I have seen him very well and had the opportunity to see this exceptional person who give his money, thoughts, times for the weak. It was a real joy to have those 20 days together, not only me but the entire community members and peoples in the town who knew my biography, met him and everyone were delight to have him both as a guest and family. Moreover, I was delighted to take him round the community so he could see himself what I have done with the community as well as the livelihood of the people.

At the end of his trip in my country Ethiopia, we have had a kind of farewell meeting in the village, where we raised several points from us to him.  The community persuaded me to translate direct what they have requested and suggested to him, along with their thanks for the support for me and what he has done to them in the previous year’s appeal. Their request was for improved seed, fertilizer and grain mill.

Currently I am working with the community, giving them both a theoretical and practical training on how to produce natural fertilizer using waste and various active plants, but we are not enter to the production process yet.

As you can see the small project that we started two years ago is now stretching, benefiting the whole community members, and people are very much happy with what we are doing there. However, still we need funds available to buy modern agricultural inputs that are including improved seed, fertilizer and grain mill that we are seeking for your usual support.

God bless you all,

Amlaku.