Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's be Good Neighbors!

simple latrine constructed by a charity in an Addis neighborhood

We are excited to announce the development of a new humanitarian effort in Ethiopia.  AAI is calling it the "Good Neighbor Project" because it will be a series of undertakings in cooperation with local government officials and citizen groups in the area around Layla House.  For those who've been to Layla, it's impossible to miss the striking contrast between the opulent three story mansions for embassy personnel and other wealthy people sitting right next to poor neighborhoods with no running water or sanitary facilities and very inadequate housing.  According to city data, approximately 61% of the people in Addis Ababa must rely on public latrines but that over 80% of existing facilities are grossly inadequate, causing severe environmental impacts.

The local officials approached our Ethiopian Country Director Temesgen earlier in the year and asked if we could help with some small scale projects to improve the lives of the people in the area.  In their first discussions, it seemed as if building some public latrine facilities similar to the one in the photo above in several neighborhoods would be a very good place to start and a project that has been done successfully in other areas of Addis.
AAI Staff Temesgen and Tsegenet on left with kebele officials

AAI Development Director Susan Poisson-Dollar was in Ethiopia in March and accompanied Temesgen on a "latrine tour" with several of the local officials eager to start the project.  These photos were taken then of a latrine built by another nonprofit and then of several of the neighborhoods that desperately need a waste facility.  Once the latrines are built with donations raised by AAI, the neighborhood contributes labor and also designs a system for keeping the facility cleaned and properly maintained.  Generally the latrines are locked and families are issued a key and asked to pay a "user fee" that helps with cleaning and maintenance supplies.
neighborhood near Layla lacking latrine facilities

The cost to construct one latrine is approximately $4000US and we are hoping many of our friends and supporters will hold fundraisers etc. to help us provide several of these to the community.  Please contact Susan Poisson-Dollar if you are interested in helping and she will be happy to help you with a fundraising event in your area.  To donate to the Good Neighbor Project, click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Update:  Amy Ferrell has WON the Macy's Million Dollar Makeover Facebook campaign.  Amazing news for one of our own adoptive parents.  Amy and her husband Chester have two biological children and 3 children adopted with the AAI-Ghana program.  We are all so happy for her.  Thanks to all of you who voted! 

Here's a link to the original post with Amy's story!

And if you want to experience Amy's win with the whole town of Wenatchee, WA, click HERE.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 AAI Summer Gathering---Join us for the fun!

2011  AAI Summer Gathering
June 30 to July 4
Wenatchee, WA 

Download your registration materials here on the AAI website!

We are excited to announce the AAI Summer Gathering in Wenatchee, WA at the beautiful Wenatchee Confluence State Park.  Gatherings offer a unique opportunity for AAI adoptive families to spend time together making new friendships and renewing old ones.  This year's gathering is designed to include lots of casual fun enjoying park activities as well as a group barbecue and continental breakfast.   There is a required $50 registration fee and nominal charge for the group meals.  Camping is available at the Confluence State Park and there are many motels in the surrounding areas for those who prefer not to camp.  

A scene from the last gathering at Wenatchee

Monday, May 9, 2011

Update!: Amy made it into the final TWO for her Macy's Makeover!

Wow, AAI mom Amy Ferrell made it into the final two for the Facebook Macy's Million Dollar Makeover.  If you are on Facebook, please head on over and vote for her as many times as your fingertips will let you.   Amy has big plans to help with older child adoption and family preservation in Ghana if she wins.   We are so proud of her.  Be sure to watch the wonderful video about her Leonardo Da Vinci afterschool program as well. 

Recently, Amy's family was the subject of a local newspaper profile and you can read it at this link.

If you missed it, read the earlier blog post about Amy and her family with all the details about the Macy's contest and the link for voting.

Vote early and vote often! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary Merrily and Ted!

Merrily and Ted Ripley, AAI's founders, recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.  Merrily submitted the following post and pictures of the happy occasion.
 Merrily, Ted, Seneca and Raven

Yes, 50 years of marriage this year!  The wedding was in 1961.  We were very young and had many challenges ahead but we were committed to being together.  Eventually Ted graduated from law school and I graduated as well; we gave birth to kids, adopted even more kids, moved to Port Angeles, started AAI and much more.  All the while we enjoyed life, did lots of traveling and have felt all along that we were very fortunate people.
The next generation and cousins
Last week we celebrated with a party which included many of our kids, other relatives and  long time friends.  Seven from our original wedding party attended as well as friends I have had since 4th grade.  My brother came from Thailand and our son Nate, his wife Mesky and our grandson Adam came from Ethiopia.  We are now sharing our lives with two grandchildren, Seneca-6 and Raven-9  whom we have adopted.   It was a joy to have them there to meet everyone.    There were flowers, good food, and lots of laughs and memories.  I had made a display of wedding gifts still in use after 50 years; folks were very interested. 
Ted had a lot of stories to tell!
The AAI Family Tree Quilt hung at one end of the room and we had a display telling of the need for sponsorships for orphan children to remain in school in Ethiopia.  I am very happy to say that a total of $785 was raised at the party.