From Sweet Dreams to Bright Horizons

Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

Being of Norwegian ancestry and a New England breeding, I could not have appeared more out of place in this squalid, rain-ravaged corner of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Laden with sagging boxes and garbage bags brimming with children’s pajamas, I felt the human component of a game of “odd one out.” As the taxi from which my family and I departed disappeared back into the incessant traffic, I wondered if I was at the right place. Addresses are, after all, nonexistent in Ethiopia. But as I saw a middle-aged woman emerge from the cinderblock orphanage with an overjoyed smile, I knew I could not have been anywhere else.

“Susanna!” cried AHOPE’s volunteer director, Sidisse, as she rushed to greet me. She hugged me firmly, Ethiopian-style. “We’ve been expecting you,” she continued, “Come with me.” She motioned to the rest of my family. “All of you, please come. You’re all welcome.”

African HIV Orphans: Project Embrace, known by its acronym, AHOPE, houses over 100 children with HIV and AIDS and provides them with medical care, an elementary education, and a family-like environment. Upon learning of this place, I felt compelled to contribute to AHOPE in whatever way I could. My Sweet Dreams Project was promptly born and driven to life. I...

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