Here's just a small sampling of what we do.
Water is essential to all living things. In Homacho, Ethiopia, villagers have had to walk miles to collect water and carry it back to their homes in five gallon jugs which weigh over 40 pounds when full. Typically, the physical burden of water hauling primarily falls on the girls and women of the village.
Since 2011, Friends of Homacho has developed three springs:
The first spring required nearly two and a half miles of pipe to bring water into the village. This spring increased water access from four gallons per person per day, to nine gallons per person per day.
The Wabeto spring, developed in 2014, successfully brought water accessibility in Homacho above the worldwide water poverty index for the first time, providing nearly 15 gallons per person per day.
The Geseda spring, developed in 2016, didn’t bring water all the way into the village because of an engineering error on the part of the water department. But it did allow for the development of two laundry stations and two water stations needed in rural areas.
These three springs have allowed us to triple water access to the village. When we started, only about 300 families had water on their property. Today, that number is nearly 900.
Construction on the Hadera spring began in January 2019, and will require over four miles of pipe. This spring will allow us to furnish water to the poorest part of the village when it is completed later this spring.
In and around Homacho, most children attend schools where the dirt floors were covered with cow manure each Friday in an attempt to minimize dust in the classroom. To date, Friends of Homacho has poured 77 concrete floors in seven different schools to replace dirt floors. They include:
Wabeto - 4 floors
Awosa - 11 floors
Homacho - 1 floor
Geseda - 10 floors
Gembe - 13 floors
Makena - 11 floors
Gofora - 10 floors
Fule - 9 floors - (Being constructed in 2019)
Donga - 8 floors - (Being constructed in 2019)
In addition to concrete floors, Friends of Homacho has also provided 45 soccer balls, 45 volley balls and 30 volleyball nets, as well as miscellaneous supplies to schools in and around the village.
Our first medical mission to Homacho, Ethiopia, occurred in May and June 2017. Our medical team worked at the clinic with the village doctors for two days. While we were there, we bought an expensive antibiotic for the clinic as well as a battery-operated otoscope and fetal Doppler monitor and provided 120 birthing kits and 250 doses of Erythromycin to the clinic and midwives delivering babies throughout the village.
It was during this first medical visit that we discovered that vitamin A deficiency is a serious public health problem in Ethiopia. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide. Many children become blind every year because of vitamin A deficiency and half of these children die within a year of losing their sight.
According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, periodic, high-dose Vitamin A supplementation is a proven, low-cost intervention to prevent childhood blindness and reduce illnesses such as diarrhea. With a donation from Mercy Family Pharmacy, we took 3,500 doses of vitamin A with us in December 2018 and distributed them to the clinic in Homacho, and to the public hospital in Hosanna, Ethiopia.