Imagined Reality

There’s nothing quite like having your imagination transformed into reality. Less than five months ago I stood taking pictures of a hole in the ground and pile of stones on a dusty plain in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today I received a photograph via Facebook of the newly dedicated Laelay Wukro Community Primary School. Though I was not surprised, I continue to be amazed.

For three weeks last fall I traveled through remote regions of Ethiopia with the non-governmental aid organization Imagine 1 Day. As an “embedded” journalist on a reporting assignment I did my best to be a dispassionate observer, recording objectively the story of 17 philantourists with the shared mission of building a school. With a sound sustainable model of community investment the completion of the sturdy stone structure was a forgone conclusion. But to see today the plaque unveiled and the classrooms ready for new students I have to say that I am honored to have witnessed such a fine example of selfless cooperation in securing the future of children living without the benefit of a primary education. The dedication of this new school is one giant step toward ending the cycle of poverty in Ethiopia forever. -JEM


Special thanks to sponsors  Patagonia, Osprey, Clik Elite and Mountain Hardwear whose generous support made this series of stories possible.

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.