Tuesday November 25th – Addis Ababa/Adama

Hamara computer refurbishment & technical training centre officially opened by Trevor Sargent in Adama, Ethiopia

Hamara computer refurbishment & technical training centre officially opened by Trevor Sargent & One%1 CEO Philip Lynch in Adama, Ethiopia

Donal got back from the reception rather later than myself (3am in the
morning apparently!!) to find his room had been broken into and his
wallet and very expensive clothes had been stolen. Having got no joy
from the hotel management (it was clearly an inside job) we put the
Taitu Hotel on the Camara ‘Blacklist’ as a place never to be used
again. Ever.

Not having solved the case of ‘Donal’s expensive clothes’ theft we sat
down for coffee with two Holy Ghost fathers from Ireland (Fr Paddy
Moran and Fr Martin Kelly). The Holy Ghosts seem to be everywhere –
just mention that there are computers going spare and suddenly they
turn up! Part of the training of any missionary in Africa must
involve how to be an effective scrounger – they achieve so much with
such little resources. The two priests work in a remote area in the
south of Ethiopia in a town called Dimeka (2 days drive south of
Addis) where they work with the local Hamar people. They have
established a resource centre where they are training local youths
computer skills and have asked Camara for some additional machines to
supplement the ones they already have. We are looking at the
logistics of supporting those machines from our newly commissioned
Digital Hub in Adama.

The principal reason in coming to Ethiopia was the official opening of
the Hamara Digital Hub in Adama (‘Hamara’ comes from a combination of
Harambee College and Camara). Our partner in this Hub is Ato (Mr.)
Feyissa Arassa an Ethiopian business man and owner of Harambee
College. We have been sending computers to Feyissa for 3 years and
have been speaking about a Hub for two years – now finally it is a
reality. Feyissa had painted all the buildings a bright green, he had
hoards of children milling around holding flowers, there were TV
cameras, the radio, press and at least 10 photographers. Banners were
flying every where, loud Ethiopian singing and dancing going on in the
background and a hundred local dignitaries assembled chatting
excitedly. You get the picture, a good humoured, colourful chaotic
scene – very representative of the Ethiopian people themselves.
Amidst all this mayhem Philip Lynch (no relation unfortunately) the
CEO of One51 and Trevor Sargent carried out the official ribbon
cutting after touring the facility. Next up was the speeches but
inexplicably the power was cut off at the crucial time (if only that
were possible in Dail Eireann) and the microphones went dead. Unfazed
Trevor Sargent demonstrated his considerable skills at projecting his
voice and delivered a very eloquent and short speech (I have a copy if
anyone wants one for historical record). The food and drinks were
served, the music started up again and no one seemed to mind that the
place was in semi darkness. A little while later guests from Connect
Ethiopia who had been traveling down from Addis (and had got lost on
the way) arrived and the tour of the Hub, photos (not the speeches)
and the party started all over again. Definitely time for a beer.

Many thanks to everyone who attended and special thanks to the Irish
Embassy for organising the Minister’s and Ambassador’s schedule for