Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks Erin

My heart

Click on "My heart" above.

My friend Erin wrote this wonderful piece about my (Jolene) heart and passion for Kechene, Ethiopia.

We need all the support we can get so that we, through God, and your support, can get these sweet children off the streets of Ethiopia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who you are loving.

Hi there Loves~

With all the fundraising going on I thought I should take it back to square one. I want to explain the lifestyle, fears, hopes and dreams of the least of these that you will be helping.

This is Ethiopia's location.

Ethiopia's water and sanitation.

According to this source only 38% have improved water supply (98% for urban areas and 26% for rural areas). That means that in the rural areas 74% of people do not have access to clean water!!! And this picture below shows how SO MANY people get their water. At any given moment in Ethiopia you can be driving down the road and see hundreds of people carrying these big yellow buckets full of water to bring back to their home. This is the only water they will have for the day to cook with, clean with and DRINK!

I am sure you have heard this all before. "We should feel so blessed because we have so much, a roof over our heads, electricity, and water just waiting for us to turn the nob." But this picture below is a reality for the majority of the world.

Looks heavy right...

The work in Kechene, Ethiopia.

This 46,000 person-strong sub city within the capital is made up mainly of people who have migrated from the nearby semi-rural area. They still have links to the forest areas and many of them continue to eke out a living by rising at 4am to get firewood back to the city's morning market for sale by 7am.

Life is hard here. People gravitated to Kechene because life is simple and cheap. Small dwellings made from local mud and bamboo are put up quickly and back on to a river where the residents can wash themselves and their clothes for free. Buying piped water, which is safe to drink, is an unaffordable luxury for most people here. It costs 10 Ethiopian cents a bucket; less than third of an American cent. (unimaginable)

No one can accuse the people of Kechene of not working hard. They toil, often for up to seventeen hours a day, they have very little to show for it.

So many of the women have to go to collect sticks, while their young children are left at home. (These young children, together with your help, we will to get in to school and off the streets.)

3 &<span class=Oromo women carrying heavy loads down to a market in Addis. They will probably sleep on a footpath then walk up the hills back home to do it again. They will each make about $1 for the load. Pictures, Images and Photos" border="0">

Ethiopia children Pictures, Images and Photos

The JOY.

&<span class=
No comment necessary.

These are not extraordinary pictures. These are very typical things you would see when you visit Ethiopia. Some times when I look at pictures of these kind of things I think... "they probably found something totally wild and took a picture of it." But I can say having been to Ethiopia 3 times in the last 2 years that these are very normal and typical visuals of what you will see in Ethiopia.

The area in need.

Kechene is a district, within Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. It has the highest HIV prevalence in the city, with almost 16% of its residents estimated to be suffering from the disease.

With so little money, and such enormous challenges for the residents here, the children here have no option but to go out into the world an earn a living; to contribute to the family. The work available is physically demanding on these tiny laborers; it is not uncommon to see a boy of around 5 carrying his brother on his back as he goes about his work - selling Kolo (roasted barley). Tiny boys drift about hustling for work shining shoes: this earns about half an American cent a shoe shine.

"The children here have no childhood, and very little idea of play, or fun. They are only concerned about making a little money to eat, so you see them, from a tiny age, bent double carrying wood, or sat working with a weaver all day, which earns them just 1 birr a day, about 12 US cents", sighs Hannah.

"I read the paragraphs above and I break...I think of my 3 children...and how different their lives could be. If any of you know my kiddos( or anyones kids for that matter) you know they are so deserving of love, attention and opportunities! And SO DO THE CHILDREN ALL OVER THE WORLD! Please consider giving to help these deserving, important kiddos!"

resource for much of the info.

Again we know that we are hit up all the time with this kind of information. ((((HEARTBREAKING))))) We pray that we do not become immobilized by this and we pray all of you know that there are tangible ways to HELP and starting a school for these children will CHANGE their lives and the community around them!

We also want to put in a plug about our 1st mission trip

coming up at then end of July or beginning of August 2012.

When we go we will be talking with many of the children

who will be enrolled in the school

and we will be taking pictures of them

and getting their little life stories .

Take the challenge!

Here is the simple truth.

can give a child 2 meals a day for a year!

And the simple part

is that it will only cost you $50,

Not $50 per month... But a simple one time gift of $50...

Think of how hard it is to work or concentrate when you are hungry. Hunger can be all consuming! The children in Kechene, Ethiopia that will be affected by your gift will be getting an education and FOOD. 2 meals a day is not something they are use to... can you imagine??
fresh foods Pictures, Images and Photos

So here is the challenge,

I want you to think about something that you normally purchase for $50. Is it a manicure or pedicure, round of golf, new purse, hair cut, or a date night, the list could go on and on.

I am sure you can come up with your own list of things. Now think, could I give "that" up just one time just this month and give a kiddo food for A YEAR?

Imagine if everyone reading this listened to that voice in their head saying, “do it, give up something and feed a child for a year. We would more then likely blow our goal out of the water!!! Please listen to yourself!! Do it!

PS if you can not give $50, know that EVERY penny helps!! These kids need anything we can give.

We would love to know what you are going to give up for the month! Leave us a comment. Your comment might inspire others to listen to the voice inside of them!!!

To donate click on the "donate" button on the side bar.

Friday, June 17, 2011

We need you!..They need you...


Oh, you guys! There are so many great opportunities right now

if you have a heart for Africa and want to make a difference.

The fundraisers are abounding so we can raise

enough money (around $40,000)to get

these precious kiddos in school in Kechene, Ethiopia.

Here are your many options:

1. Africa-lovers: We REALLY want to start building a volunteer base as local Africans contact us about needing help and wanting to connect. If you have a heart for Africa and would love to have dinner and build relationships (at many different levels!) with college-aged Africans and entire African families, you can fill out the volunteer form under the “Connect” heading on our homepage or contact us if you have specific questions

Please open your heart and connect.

There are dozens and dozens and dozens of references in the Bible about God caring for the “orphan, widow, and foreigner [African immigrant can be applied here!]” and wanting us to do the same. This is your opportunity! FILL OUT THAT FORM!!! .

2. Coffee lovers: and buy some coffee to support Awake and Alive. And an added bonus is if we get $75 in sales, we get lots of free stuff we can use as promos to raise awareness.

3। Book lovers: Order your items and use Awake&Alive for a promo code (make sure you hit “apply” afterwards!) If you spend $50 you get free shipping from the best book distributor in the U.S. (Disclosure clause: Danielle is biased, because it’s a family affair) and Awake and Alive gets a chunk of the profits. They even price match if you find something cheaper. You can’t go wrong!!!

4. T-shirt lovers: We have extra Awake and Alive t-shirts like you see on the facebook page. Send us a FB message letting us know you want one! They’re only $15, and you can support our cause by wearing it! We also have more, even trendier stuff in the works…

5. Jazz and social justice lovers: On Wednesday night, June 22nd the X/Stop project in South Bend is putting on a great event for you to see many (25+) of the local non-profits in the Michiana area complete with jazz music and lots of great raffle items. Awake and Alive will have a booth there and we are excited to connect with other local charities and individuals. You can buy a table or individual tickets at Come and connect!

So, you see, there are no excuses :) Well, maybe if you lived far away and didn’t like coffee, books, and t-shirts…but does that apply to anyone in the entire United States? You could also give a monetary donation without buying anything–just puttin’ that out there! Please get involved. It really may make you be more fully alive!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Genzeb Tibeb is very bright. At only 11 years old, her future is looking promising. She is ranked 2nd out of 56 students at her government school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she has been selected for a special program because of her talent. She knows she is special and proudly shows off her certificate and book signifying her accomplishments in this special program.

But her future hasn’t always looked so bright. While her mother, Bekelech, sacrificed immensely for Genzeb, she would not have been able to continue sending her to school. When her husband died, Bekelech was the sole provider for their five children. In order for them to survive, she began the daily routine of walking approximately 8-10 miles a day collecting sticks to sell near her 8′ x 10′ home in Kichene. It wouldn’t have been long before Genzeb would have been forced to quit school in order to help her mom. But Bright Future changed all that.

Genzeb teaching some of the students at Bright Future. Giving back already! She is going to do BIG things!

Genzeb has been at Bright Future for 3 years. Since Ethiopian schools let out early, Genzeb walks to the facility right after lunch. Because of her high ability, she even helps teach the younger children there, building confidence and locking in important foundational academic skills. There’s also other meaningful opportunities Genzeb experiences which allow her eyes to be opened to the different opportunities that are available to her if she completes her studies. Field trips are one of her most favorite activities of all. She especially loved the one to Addis Ababa University.

She knows it goes beyond fun trips, though. ”I am happy because I get extra help for school from Bright Future,” Genzeb shares. At so many levels, her involvement with Bright Future allows her to receive a better education, which she values. For one day she wants to help people in need by becoming a doctor. And now she knows, that with a lot of hard work, that dream might just become a reality.

The is the entrance into Genzeb's home. Her older sister was there taking care of her sick brother while their mother was working. Genzeb's sister was telling us how hard life is in Kechene. She was around 15 years old and taking care of the house hold.

So here is the question...
What could you do to make such a huge impact on children like Genzeb?
... The possibilites are ENDLESS!! You just have to take action!!!

Here are a few possibilities:

Hold a garage sale in Awake and Alive's name. Giving some or all proceeds to our cause.

Tithe a little extra to Awake and Alive.

Have a Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, 31 or any other home party and donate the proceeds to Awake and Alive.

"like" Awake and Alive on FB. To keep in the know about what is going on next and get involved with our happenings!

Share our blog with EVERYONE you know!!!

There are many other ideas out there use your creativity and lets start helping those who can not help them selves!!

James 1:27
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Donate to us at

My Montage 6/8/11 at

We had a wonderful turn out thanks to all your prayers, donations, and support!!