AFRICA NEWS

Drones Could Become the Next Big Thing In Africa

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Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has determined that Rwanda is becoming a technology hub for Africa. And the focus is drones. The technology startup, Zipline, will begin test delivering drones, and if approved, the drones will be delivering blood transfusions in small boxes to areas of need. They will be delivered to twenty-one different hospitals and health centers within a 40 mile radius. Drones could cut back 3.5 hour car trips to 45 minutes.

A study was done by UNICEF in which they used drones to transport HIV samples from newborn babies. The study was successful but the downside is the cost of drones is more expensive than motorcycles. Once drones start to become cheaper, countries will begin to use them for reasons other than just medically – including agriculture, forestry, and conservation.

Read the full story : http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701488-new-way-round-old-problem-help-above?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30

Source : The Economist

#mcjourney2016, FROM THE FIELD, MERCHANDISE, Uncategorized, Women at Risk

NEW! LIMITED-EDITION : Ethiopia Necklace

The Mocha Club store has a beautifully new addition to it’s inventory : the Ethiopia Necklace.

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Last month, a team from Nashville traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya on the #MCJourney2016. While in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, the team stopped by to visit our project partners at Women at Risk. These women formerly worked on the streets in desperate circumstances to take care of themselves and their families. Women at Risk came alongside them to provide food, care, and ultimately, a new way of life. One of the opportunities of employment is through jewelry making.

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When you buy the Ethiopia Necklace, you provide counseling & job skills training to a woman in the program. You are also helping to support her family through your purchase.  Made from re-purposed artillery & scrap metal, you can take a piece of Africa with you.

This is a very limited-edition piece with only a few in inventory. Purchase this exclusive piece today and share the story of Mocha Club with a friend.

Get this necklace as a FREE gift when you join the Mocha Club at $18/month!

 

 

FROM THE FIELD, Orphan Care, Uncategorized

Potato, Potahtoh.

Working in a place like the DRC takes patience and vision. Assess the circumstances alone, and you might just leave.

The success of any work relies on building relationship first.  Without a direct connection to and investment in the people at work in Africa, efforts fall short.

IMG_6868Sister Alvera leads the Flame of Love Orphanage.  She has cared for these children for a long time because, while this group of orphans is small, their lives are significant. Last fall, we invested financially in the immediate need for a new dormitory and kitchen.  Construction has concluded.

 

Months back, Sister Alvera and DRC Country Director, Denis championed sustainability efforts IMG_6876and assessed the purchase of farmland to both teach students agricultural skills and grow produce to sell.  Denis and Sister Alvera are determining that this agricultural program could make enough money to significantly reduce the orphanage’s overall operations costs.

Today, the orphanage is growing a potato farm that helps feed the orphans in Sister Alvera’s care!

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MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday : 07.18.16

Happy Monday Mocha Club!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! So, applications to intern at Mocha Club were due this past Friday and I knew I had to write about why I love interning here at Mocha Club! I figured it was only appropriate.

  1. Free coffee. If you love coffee, you are in the right place. In the kitchen there is a Keurig and all the coffee and necessities you could ever need. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
  2. Africa. It’s amazing what this group of people do for Africa. Just hearing them speak about Africa and what all they are doing to help just shows their passion for the people there. In one of the meetings, the Mocha Journey team came and spoke about the trip and their experiences and it blew me away hearing all of the different stories of what each person experienced and how it impacted them.
  3. Project areas. Mocha Club doesn’t just focus on one aspect of helping Africa. They have five different project areas they work with: clean water, education, economic freedom, orphan care, and health care. I think that is great because most non-profits just focus on one aspect. And getting to somehow help with that just by interning is really cool.
  4. It’s not just office work. At most internships, the supervisor just gives the intern office work to do and doesn’t actually help them learn and show what they are doing. Here, it is not like that. You actually get the hands-on experience. You are apart of everything, just like everyone else in the office is. They are there to help you with whatever it is, whether it’s planning the project or event for the semester or running the social media accounts.
  5. Wonderful group of people. Everyone that works here at Mocha Club is so nice and welcoming. My first day, they were so sweet and seemed excited to get to know the new intern, which helped me know that I was in the right place! They are so great and I am going to be sad when my internship is over.

I am so glad that I chose to intern at Mocha Club. It has been one of the best experiences I have had and I know that this was where I was meant to be.

Peace and blessings,

Katherine

Orphan Care

Meet Amana

African girl portrait.I am 13 years old, I have 3 brothers and I am the only girl. My dad died when I was 8 years old.

Deep Trauma…

When my dad was alive, I was his only daughter and he cherished me. I was in a good school, well dressed, and enjoyed family time. When he died everything suddenly changed. There was no food and no money to pay school fees or buy clothes. Life became very hard. My aunts and uncles came and took all of our inheritances, sold our home for money and took my brothers and me, not to help us, but for selling. We suffered a lot. I was able to escape with one of my brothers and return to our mom. When I woke up each day, I would see my dear dad in my broken heart. I would remember a good time and I would begin to weep.

New Hope…

One day, I was selected to participate in a workshop about trauma healing. This was a great time for me, to get a new direction to my life.  There, I met with other orphans living in the same or worse situations than me. It was a good time to heal my wounded heart.  At the end they gave me a precious gift, which is now my new friend.  When I feel alone my gift, my Bible, speaks to me. When I read it, it comforts me, gives me hope, and brings light to my future. It shows to me that I am not alone. I am with Jesus Christ, a great friend and a Dad for orphans.

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Uncategorized

We aren’t about leaving things behind…

“We aren’t about leaving things behind, we are about education. What gets left behind, for sustainability purposes, is whatever we learned in the exchange as people came together.”

It’s been a couple weeks since our return from #MCJourney2016. Our team got together for a post-trip meeting and to hear from the VP of International Programs for Mocha Club and African Leadership. She said over and over again that this organization exists to walk alongside leaders in Africa as they use their knowledge and talents to create sustainable, long-term plans to serve communities they know and love. We as supporters, she said, “are a part of that, but we never drive it.” 

This is why I am so excited about the Mocha Club vision. They focus on building collaborative relationships with local leaders in Africa, not just business transactions or one-sided instruction. They avoid making assumptions about what local community members need and want. They recognize that well-intentioned support coming from a limited or biased perspective can be ineffective, even harmful, to those we think we’re serving. 

We did little, if any, “service work” on our trip. We were in each county for just a few days, which makes it pretty difficult to know how to serve our brothers and sisters in Huruma or Kibera or Addis Ababa or Nazaret well. They live there, we don’t. They have seen and heard and felt deeply the needs of their community, we haven’t. They know how to meet those needs, we can only guess. But we can listen and learn and then walk together with those leaders who do know best. So that’s what we did.

Written by: Allie Siroky | @aksiroky

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

Overcoming our circumstances

Driving through the urban areas of Ethiopia, rain is flooding the streets. Houses are made of mud and straw, there is little shelter, and the water runs into homes and businesses as they try to salvage what they can, hanging items on clothes lines and stacking on their shoulders and heads. I can’t help but to think about the struggle in that! Who knows how long it will rain, everything is soaking wet, once it is finished, they have to re-patch walls, hang up clothes to dry, and find a way to make up for the time their business was slow due to people taking shelter.

IMG_4393We allow our odds to define us, to tell us how we should feel, and how our actions will look. When one thing goes against our will, against our plan, interrupts our day or our lives, even if everything else is going our way, our moods change. A scowl forms, and we no longer feel a sense of joy. We lack understanding, want immediate answers, and refuse to look up until we do.

An Ethiopian woman is walking across the rock covered railroad in the rain with no shoes, sopping wet, but is grateful for rain water to clean herself off with when she reaches her destination. An Ethiopian man is ankle high in mud in the fields, praising God for the rain in order for his crops to grow. The Ethiopian Shepherd has a smile on his face as his flock now has water to drink from which provides energy to keep moving. And the Ethiopian children are splashing in the rain puddles, covered in mud and all you see and hear is a vibrant smile and innocent laughter. Where we see odds, others see blessings.

Written by: Brittany Mullins from Beneath The Skin

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

#MCJourney2016 Day Four : Women at Risk

The Mocha Club Journey team has landed back home safely in the States – back to the same work week but not back with the same heart posture. Each project partner we visited left us with a change in knowledge, perspective, & joy. One of our team members, Lizzie, shares about one such encounter…

 

From the Shadows into the Light: Renewing Hope for Women and Girls in Ethiopia

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As we drive down the streets of one of Addis Ababa’s red light districts, dozens of young girls stand in the shadows against concrete walls, faintly illuminated by the cold glow of fluorescent streetlights. Girl after girl, with only a few feet separating one from the next, flash past us as we make our way down the rows of rundown shacks and dingy bars. Nebiyu, the program manager for Ellilta Women At Risk, takes us from one location to another, each street lined with dozens of sex workers waiting for their first customers of the night. I try to count how many there are, but quickly find it’s impossible – there are too many to count. In disbelief, I asked Nebiyu if there’s always this many girls out here. “No,” he explains, “it’s still early, and it’s a Sunday. There’s usually much more.”

This is life for thousands of women and girls in Addis Ababa. Figures estimate that there are as many as 150,000 prostitutes in the city alone, and the number is rapidly growing. Here, the price for sex runs as low as 10 birr, which is equivalent to less than 50 cents in US dollars. Women and girls who have entered into prostitution are marginalized, exploited, ignored; they are regularly victims of abuse, often living in poverty. So it’s a valid question to ask: Why would they do it?

In our culture, there is a common misconception that prostitution is a choice. However, I would argue that in most cases, prostitution actually arises from a lack of choice. In Ethiopia, many women come to Addis from rural areas across the country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Over 80 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in the countryside, where the average income is less than $1 per person per day. Desperate for work, girls will leave their rural homes and make the journey to Addis. However, without education or job training, many will eventually abandon hope in ever finding work and resign themselves to a life of prostitution with the belief that they have no other option.

For other women, sexual exploitation may be the only life they know. A vast majority of girls on the streets were victims of sexual abuse as children, with estimates ranging anywhere from 75 to 90 percent. Others are the product of intergenerational prostitution, where mothers involved in sex work will raise their daughters to follow in their footsteps. So the women we see standing on the street may not have been trafficked from another country, chained to a bed, and sold to strange men; but is there ultimately a difference between physical chains and psychological ones?

Regardless of how it begins, the outcome is often the same: frequent and often severe physical abuse, sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and addiction. One study found that 68 percent of prostituted women met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which falls within the same range as combat veterans and victims of torture. Women who are in prostitution also have a significantly higher death rate than women who are not.

It is apparent that the dangers are incredibly real but many perceive them to be inescapable. In a study conducted across nine countries, 89 percent of women involved in the sex industry are desperate to escape, but feel they are unable to overcome their circumstances due to economic necessity, addiction, a lack of employment options, coercion, or access to basic human services such as a home, education, job training, counseling, or treatment. This is where organizations like Ellilta Women at Risk step in to break the cycle of exploitation and abuse. Through their programs, Ellilta Women at Risk has renewed hope for over a thousand women, giving them a life of freedom and restoration.

ABOUT ELLILTA-WOMEN AT RISK

The Program:

Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR) is a holistic 21-month program for women who want to escape the commercial sex industry. Throughout the entire program, women are given access to free childcare and a monthly stipend, which frees them from the financial pressure to return to the streets to support themselves and their children. The first six months are dedicated to counseling, nutrition, and treatment. The following six months provides the women with training in a marketable skill, job placement, and any assistance if they wish to start their own business. After 12 months, the women will have successfully graduated from the program but will continue to have monthly check-ins for an additional nine months as they begin to search for new jobs or start their own business.

Ellilta Women at Risk has a partnership with Ellilta Products, which is a company that provides additional job training and employment to women in the Women At Risk program (to learn more about their story, visit www.elliltaproducts.com).

Intervention:

To ensure that their children are cared for throughout the duration of the program, EWAR also covers any school fees and provides daycare services, after school tutoring, psychosocial and medical support, organized activities, and summer day camps. This provides children with a safe place to live, play, learn and grow.

Prevention:

During a field study conducted in local schools and churches, EWAR found that the average age that a person enters prostitution is age 12. At this age, children who have grown up in an atmosphere where sex work has been normalized begin to view their bodies as a source of income. To prevent and protect these children from sexual exploitation, EWAR meets with local schools and churches to educate the community on the risks and damaging effects of prostitution.

From victims to leaders:

90% of the women who graduate from the Women at Risk program never return to prostitution. These women transform themselves from victims into survivors, and from survivors into leaders. Many go on to start new businesses, and often return to support and train other graduates. Relationships are renewed, families are transformed, and hope is spread through the entire community. EWAR has been so successful in their work that grassroots ministries from over a dozen African countries have duplicated their model and are now transforming the lives of thousands of women all across Africa.

The morning after the night drive, Nebiyu drove with us to the Women At Risk program center in Nazareth, a city about 2 hours outside of Addis. Our van came to a stop in front of a colorful gate surrounded by high walls. The dark images in our minds of countless young girls hidden in the shadows melted away as the guard opened the gate and we walked into a bright courtyard filled with lush greenery, mango trees and orange hibiscus flowers. Several stations with sewing machines and vibrant fabrics were set up in the sunshine, and we were instantly met with warm smiles and the sounds of laughter. It was immediately obvious to all of us that this place was a safe haven; a world away from the life that these women once lived.

The transformative power of this program in the lives of these women, their families, and their communities cannot be overestimated. I will never forget these women, their stories, their strength or their bravery. I will never forget the smiles on their faces or their tears of joy. I will never forget the love they pour into their families and each other, or the love they have fought to pour back into themselves.

Partner with Mocha Club in supporting Women at Risk!

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#MCJourney2016 Day Three : HEKO

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Four days have flown by already on #MCJourney2016, but somehow we’ve seen and heard more than words can summarize. We as a group have been talking about our experience so far, and we all relate to the beautifully frustrating struggle to communicate to our loved ones about this trip. Translating this mix of joy, despair, gratitude, conviction, grace, and overwhelming hope into words is no easy task.

I have to be the first to apologize to my friends and family for inadequately describing the nature of our journey as a whole. When asked in casual conversation why I was heading to Africa with the Mocha Club, I’d often say a quick response like, “To continue work with ongoing service projects” or simply, “With a non-profit.” Let me be so clear: this is no mission or volunteer trip. This journey is more like a learning trip or a listening trip; a let-me-know-your-story-so-I-can-genuinely-love-you-well trip. We joked today that it should be called a RelationTrip because that really is our whole goal. 

We are here to create and sustain relationships with African organizations who work within and through community members. We are here to listen to them tell us their greatest needs, and to hear directly from them about how to meet them in ways they know will best for the community. The “work” the Mocha Club has led us to do here exemplifies a quote I recently heard from Alexander Shaia: “Service is really going out with open hands and realizing that we’re standing in the presence of a magnificent other who is going to teach us.” Boy, we have learned so much in these four days. 

As a Mocha Club member, I had heard of each of the projects we would be visiting but I knew little about the stories behind them. What a gift it has been to sit down with founders of organizations like New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) to hear them explain, from the very beginning, how their visions came to life here in Kenya. 

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We spent yesterday afternoon at HEKO in the Kibera slum. Kibera sits in the center of Nairobi where over 500,000 people live in extreme poverty with little to no access to food, water, education, or physical/mental health care. Founders Peter and Monica Odero, residents of Kibera, recognized a growing issue specifically surrounding women with HIV/AIDS as the disease became more prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Societal stigma left many of these women abandoned by their husbands and completely shut out from family members who viewed HIV/AIDS as a (often inaccurate) reflection of immoral behavior or infidelity. Their homes were taken away, and these women were left with no way to feed their families or care for themselves. 

HEKO exists today to provide women with HIV/AIDS access to counseling to cope with their circumstances, nutritional education to ensure their medications work effectively, and physical activity to foster a community who moves and finds joy together. HEKO’s overall focus is to empower women with HIV/AIDS as they learn new skills to create products through which they earn a sustainable living.

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Listening to each woman’s story served as evidence of a yet another miracle in an unlikely place. Women receiving support through HEKO have seen major health improvements and some have even watched their children graduate from college. They have found light in dark circumstances, and community when they were once neglected and alone. And to think, this history of redemption all began when Peter and Monica chose to fight for a group of women who’d been told they were irredeemable.

Our time at HEKO was beautiful because it allowed us to peek into the darker corners of the lives of these women, particularly those who are afraid to share their diagnosis with neighbors and friends. But it also convicted me and begged to me to consider: Who am I overlooking? Whose gaze do I struggle to meet because I don’t “feel comfortable” loving them?  Instinctively, I want to wave my angry finger the families of these women — the relatives who left them with nothing — and tell them, “How dare you? How could you forget them?” But in truth, I have blindspots too. I’ll admit I have a hard time looking at the man on the corner with a handmade sign as he asks for help. I am fully aware of the thousands of people struggling to survive in my own community, and yet I carry on as if they’re not there. So many women in Kibera have a life and a hope because someone chose to seem them. What if we also made an effort to see those people and places we’ve kept behind our self-constructed walls?

If you have been moved by the work Peter and Monica Odero do through HEKO, you can contribute to their efforts today. Like right now! Peter assured us yesterday that the small sacrifice of one cup of coffee most certainly improves the lives of these women. More than this, when we empower one woman, we also guarantee a future for her children and we encourage growth throughout all of Kibera.

To learn more about how you can support this cause and many others, head to: http://www.themochaclub.org/journey