Beginning of May 2010, Dominique Soguel, Veronica Ferreri & I took off on an extreme adventure to the Afar region - Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea. First stop, Dallol, a beautifully surreal expanse of bubbling sulfur, salt and moonscapes, yet one of the most inhospitable places on the planet due to soaring temperatures that can reach up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily for us, it was only a mild 110 degrees! We were the only tourists there due to the intense heat.
As a journalist reporting on gender issues, Dominique, met with local women in the Afar village of Kursawa we stayed in, to discuss the ongoing practice of female genital mutilation.
In Hamed Ela, the school there comprises of wooden sticks & woven mats precariously assembled to form a hut & has no supplies such as papers, pencils, books or desks for the 102 students. Memorization is their primary way of learning. The village has no electricity or sewage/latrine system.
We traveled with Pangean Safaris, run by a husband-and-wife team, Christos & Liza Andreou. They expressed interest in starting a grass-roots campaign to help distribute school supplies to this tiny remote village in the Danakil.
Back home, we raised funds for a year's worth of school supplies (notebooks, pencils, erasers, sharpeners) for 102 students along with 20 boxes of nutritional biscuits, hydration solutions & water cleaning tablets.
Thanks to Pangean Safaris for partnering with us on the surprise distribution!