On September 20, 2017 Voice of Calvary Ministries (VOCM) had a visit from delegates of Hawassa, Ethiopia: Mayor Tewodros Gebiba Geda and Dr. Mathe Mrngrsha Yute the Head of Hawassa’s Health Department.
The following is a Q & A session with Ms. Debra Raddin, host to the Ethiopian delegates and founder of the Mississippi College STEM Institute. Ms. Raddin currently serves on VOCM’s Advisory Council for our collaborative STEAM initiative to bring the STEM/STEAM learning experience to west Jackson school students.
Question: What was the purpose of Mayor Tewodros Gebiba Geda and Dr. Mathe Mrngrsha Yute’s visit to Jackson?
Answer: The purpose of the delegates’ trip to the US and Jackson, Mississippi specifically was to arrange a pre-proposal for a sister city agreement between Hawassa, Ethiopia and Jackson, MS.
Question: How did the delegates come to visit VOCM and why?
Answer: I suggested that the delegates visit VOCM because of the parallel needs of both cities and VOCM’s history of community and family support and development per programming and projects that result in being catalysts of change. I am assured that the City of Hawassa could possibly implement similar programming. I am acquainted with the group because in the Spring I was asked to give future advisement/consultation per the educational systems in Hawassa, development and growth.
Question: What was the topics of conversation during their visit with VOCM?
Answer: The guided discussion included:
- Startup business ideas
- Affordable housing
- Trade initiatives that begin in community and grow globally
- Educational system designing
- Poverty “cures”
- Appropriate community health care
- Global perspectives that lead to progressive change
Question: What did the delegates say they took away from their visit at VOCM?
Answer: They took away a hope for sharing in making community differences, now and for the emerging generation. Also, ideas for preparing a workforce that would attract business development and grow economies.
Question: What aspects of VOCM’s work and mission interested them the most?
Answer: They were most interested in the areas of implementation in educational and housing development.
Question: Did the delegates have any comments about their time at VOCM?
Answer: Yes, they thought it was very meaningful to spend time with fellow Christians and be immersed in progressive discussions of how change can both, happen and last.
Question: You mentioned you will be having an advisory relationship with Mayor Tewodros Gebiba Geda and Dr. Mathe Mrngrsha Yute. Can you tell us more about that?
Answer: I have been invited by the Mayor’s Council to visit Hawassa in March 2018 to provide educational and business consulting, long term. Specifically to give modeling and design consult to strengthen and further their school systems, kindergarten through graduate and professional schools.
Question: In closing, what is your reflection about this visit?
Answer: I learned long ago that real global change begins around small tables when people with large imaginations and unbounded grace come together to serve.