Last week the Adama Hub witnessed an unprecedented level of activity. In a country so often associated with difficulties the Hamara Hub shone as brightly as the Ethiopian sun with two major events in a few short days.

On Tuesday the 25th of November 2008 the Hamara Digital Hub was officially inaugurated by Philip Lynch CEO of One 51 and Minister Trevor Sargent. Also in attendance was Her Excellency Sile Maguire and dignitaries from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs as well as over 50 local dignitaries comprised of state officials and prominent academics and businessmen. Of no less equal importance was the attendance of so many of the Hamara volunteers who had made the project possible. The Hub was a hive of activity, local school children had gathered outside the Hub to greet the visitors, the children held home made banners and flags, their uniforms spotlessly clean yet very worn, a reminder of the poverty here.

CEO of the Hamara Hub Ato Feyissa and CEO of Camara Cormac Lynch proceeded to give a concise and informative tour of the Hub. The dignitaries were genuinely impressed particularly with our policy of recycling which is almost unheard of in these parts of Africa. The training room was busy with local children receiving schooling and demonstrating their computer skills, the workshop was full of volunteers processing the latest shipment of pc’s received from Ireland just 2 weeks ago and due to be sent to schools across Ethiopia in the coming weeks.The cyber cafe was inspected and thankfully the Internet connection worked at high speed. Someone had put the Green Party Homepage on a pc, which was greeted with amusement by the minister. After a very informative tour the speakers lined up to say a few words as it was after 6pm it was getting dusk and darkness falls in a matter of minutes here. Just as Cormac was about to speak the electricity went. This is a regular occurrence here but the timing on this occasion was second perfect. We had envisaged this and a generator was on standby however the noise would have made the speeches inaudible. Hence the dignitaries delivered their speeches without microphone and in semi darkness.  It was although inconvenient, a reminder to the visitors that working here is not as easy as in a developed country. In the speeches praise was heaped on the work of the Hamara staff as they have transformed the centre from a green field cite into a very impressive Digital Hub. It was also a very special day for Cormac who’s concept just 3 short years ago had made all this possible. In a strange irony the most humble of men delivered a speech with a large hand painted mural of himself on the wall behind him (it had been a surprise from the local staff).

As the speeches drew to a close there were some food and drinks offered and a chance for some more informal discussion between all parties. A delegation from Connect Ethiopia despite their own hectic schedule had made the journey down from Addis and were given the tour. Afterwards we adjourned to a local hotel for dinner and refreshments. At this point there was a noticeable interest from the Connect Ethiopia delegates in Camara . They were impressed by our transparency and our ethos, with many expressing a desire to partner with us in the future. Hopefully the coming weeks will demonstrate this.

The Hamara staff; Feyissa, Eyob, Tecca and Zelalem had been party to lengthy meetings and worked irregular hours but in the end this culminated in the opening ceremony being a fantastic success and one which a certain Ali Farid in Mombasa Hub will do everything to beat!! But as things stand Hamara reigns supreme.

Posted by Donal Fitzpatrick.