After 2 canceled flights, 30 hours of travel last week and some serious French fry consumption, I’m finally home from Ethiopia!
For someone who is obsessively organized, I went into this trip without a plan, no concept of an itinerary and just decided that whatever was going to happen was going to happen and I was going to do my best to enjoy and learn from it. What happened next was pretty extraordinary. I found myself in Washington DC about to hop on a 13 hour flight with 10 people, 8 of whom I’d never met in real life and to go order from Chipotle (Plane food scares me and burrito bowls from Chipotle are always a good idea… no matter what time of day!)
I couldn’t have prepared myself for the amazing 5 days that were ahead. Things kicked off on a high note the second we stepped onto the plane. I had the best of intentions of sleeping for as much as the flight as possible…. wrong. I somehow finagled my way into an exit row (aka more leg room) with 2 of my friends on the trip and we talked for 12.5 hours straight. So much so, that a flight attendent asked us to quite down a few times so as not to disturb our neighbors.
Once we arrived in Ethiopia, we hopped off the plane and got busy! No rest for the weary. It was 7 in the morning Ethiopian time and that meant it was time to get the day started. That is the first and final all-nighter of my life. We hit the ground running after loading up on caffeine and dove right into a packed few days. We spent some time with the amazing women behind fashionABLE and were able to watch them work and hear their stories. We visited the women in the Women at Risk program which provides spiritual, emotional, and psychological counseling once these women leave their former lives as prostitutes. We got to dance, play, listen, learn and enjoy the company of all these brave and talented women living in Ethiopia.
The women at fashionABLE are truly some of the most brave, beautiful and courageous women I’ve ever met. I’ve talked a little bit about where they have come from but to be in Ethiopia and witness first hand what these women have overcome is pretty extraordinary. And the kids, omg they are seriously too cute for words.
Since returning home I’ve been getting a multitude of questions as to how to help and get involved….
Buy a fashionABLE scarf and spread the word about the product and the stories of the women making them. fashionABLE works with Women at Risk, an NGO in Ethiopia that works to rehabilitate women there, who saw a life of prostitution as the only alternative solution to them to escape their impoverished situation. The “Women At Risk” program provides spiritual, emotional, and psychological counseling and helps them find alternate means of income to support themselves and their children. After completing the program, the women then can choose to be trained and work at fashionABLE.
You can also join The Mocha Club for as little as $9 a month, or the price of a triple caramel mochas or something equally as fancy. The money goes to help fund programs such as Women at Risk, as well as clean water initiatives, orphan care, HIV/AIDS prevention and education.
I was there with some very extraordinary women… all of whom I love and value so much. Funny how you can feel so connected with a group of people after only a few days together. I feel like I’ve known all of these women for years! Here they are:
I am very grateful to have been able to experience the work begin done by fashionable and to meet the women whose lives are being changed and who will in turn change lives of others in their community for the better.