Today we drove from Debre Berhan to Dessie. We left at 7:00 a.m., and it took five hours. Because a tunnel on the road was under repair, we had to take a very narrow road up the side of a mountain. Not fun!
Dessie is a city of 170,000 inhabitants. It is in a woreda, or administrative district, of 400,000 inhabitants. The number of school-aged children in the woreda is 50,000.
When I first visited the city three years ago, only one school offered the 11th and 12th grades. This was a major problem. There wasn’t enough room for all of the children who wanted to graduate from high school and pursue higher education.
That’s why Bill Doty, working through CNEWA, decided to expand a Catholic high school called Kidane Mehret. We built three new buildings to house four 11th and 12th grade classrooms, a science lab, a computer room, a library and office for teachers. Construction started in 2008. Now the buildings are fully operational and the classrooms are full.
As I mentioned yesterday, Bill is in Ethiopia with me. This is the first time he has seen the fruits of his charity.
We had an incredible ceremony with all the students, their parents, government officials and the Capuchin priests who run the school. The Capuchin provincial gave a wonderful speech. Bill asked the children to raise their hands and pledge to be good students and good citizens and to put their schools to good use. It was very moving. Then, he cut an inaugural ribbon and we toured the school.
The visit ended, as it always does when I got to Kidane Mehret, with a soccer game with the kids. Bill played on one team and I played on the other. The score was tied 1-1 when we went into overtime. Bill’s team won.