How a new source of water is helping reduce conflict in the Middle East — Discover

*Ahemli’s Note: An interesting article. I remember years ago, being told that the next World War will be over water. The future has yet to tell if that is true; however, no one can dispute that lack of water is a huge problem in countries throughout the world. At times I have donated money towards agencies that state they are digging wells in foreign countries, and then I read investigative news reports that explain the waste happening in poorly built wells where it appears the donated funds are replenishing CEO’s wallets more so than creating wells. It will be interesting to see where this project goes. In the meantime, I plan on using this article as a talking point with friends who studied environmental situations throughout the Middle East. Hope you enjoy this post by Rowan Jacobsen.*

“Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants.” Israel has more water than it needs.

via How a new source of water is helping reduce conflict in the Middle East — Discover

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Are You REALLY Kind???

Dear Human,

Today I’m writing as I reflect on kindness. Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you hands-699486_1920meet is fighting a hard battle.” Although there is a lot of pain and suffering throughout the world, there are still people who are responding to others in kindness. The reasons behind the kindness is what is often masked, even if a purpose is spoken verbally – there may be a deeper cause. Where does your kindness lie? Where do the roots of the action come from?

A woman working in an organization where people’s lives can be completely changed through their interaction with her. She created this role and through it, she has developed so much potential. But where did the kindness come from? From her natural intuition that allows her to put into action what others have only dreamt of? Or from her selfish desire to gain a decent salary, without producing much labor?

A man volunteering to provide community supports to a refugee family. He has the power to be a link for the family that helps them to become successful in their new environment. He serves as an example to others. But where did the kindness come from? From his heart that wants to shine God’s love for all people to see? Or does an interest in conversion override his desire to build a genuine friendship?

The family member who always gives the biggest birthday gift. Money is not a factor as this loved one buys the greatest present of the year. But where did the kindness come from? From the wish to show love through gifting? Or to be able to compare gift-for-gift, sizing love by a wrapped package? kindness-710209_1280

Acts of kindness can be felt deeper than words can sometimes take us. There is a power that emerges in one’s soul when someone simply does a kind act just to help another person. No hidden agenda, no secret reason; just to show kindness. So Human, the next time you are about to do something nice for someone, check the root of the behavior. Is it because you truly want to build up another person, or is it because you are looking to make yourself feel better inside? Yes, one amazing aspect of being kind towards someone else is that it can also positively affect you; however, the reason behind the action should be that you want goodness for the other person, even if you gain absolutely nothing from the experience. If we seek to truly help others and brighten their day holiness-1207699_1920without any expectation of self-gratification, then you too will reap the benefit because deep inside that person you helped knows you were genuine and it will leave an impact on them throughout the rest of their years.

 

Sincerely,

Your Inner Voice

Ahmeli… that our kindness will come from love.

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Magical Message

There will not be a lot of words to read for this post; instead, watch this video. It is of Jon Dorenbos who is an NFL football player, a contestant on America’s Got Talent, and SO much more! Watch him combine fascinating magic tricks, with a message that is sure to touch your heart.

Ahmeli… that we would use our talents to inspire others to create a better world for us all. 

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Book: Heartprints

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Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan

Little One was recently gifted with a new book, Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan. The author defines heartprint as “the impression left behind by a deliberate act of kindness.” Through real life examples in kid-friendly language, children learn ways that they can leave heartprints in the lives of those whom they interact with. Most of the examples are small acts that have deep power in how they impact another person. This book is a wonderful addition to any library for readers big or small. You can pick up a copy for yourself, or as a gift for someone else at this site among many others.

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Little One discovering Heartprints.

You won’t be disappointed!

Ahmeli… that we teach our children how to leave heartprints on others.

 

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Celebrating Love – Ethiopian Style

This past week, our family had the honor of attending a dear friend’s wedding in Dallas, Texas. I was ecstatic to see this beautiful woman get married, and it was also a blast getting to experience my first Ethiopian-American wedding. My deep love for learning about different cultures was sure to be in overdrive during this 3-day event. Here are 5 special elements from the occasion that stood out to me:

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The ceremony at sunset in a botanical garden.

  1. Traditional Ethiopian dresses (well, many dresses!) The Bride began Day 1 in a traditional Ethiopian dress. She walked down the aisle with two elders, who then handed her over to her parents and then they proceeded to the Groom. The Bride later wore a traditional, white American gown to the reception on Day 2. The next day, she was in another Ethiopian dress that matched the Groom’s outfit. With this dress, she also wore symbolic gold jewelry. There were chains of gold linked within her braided hair that was customary for her father’s tribe – so beautiful. Likewise, the bridesmaids wore a variety of dresses throughout the festivities and although they had matching heels, you were more likely to find them barefoot (see #5).

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  1. Kidnapping of the Bride! This was fun! The Groom goes to the Bride’s parents’ house where she is kept inside as her friends and family block the entrance to the home. The Groom works with his friends and family to sway the Bride’s family into letting him inside. They offered flowers, perfume, gifts and many sweet words. There was also TONS of dancing and singing! It was also fun to watch their neighbors observing the event. Several neighbors, from different cultures, came outside to see what was taking place. The Bride sat inside and was to keep a serious expression on her face to show she is sad to be leaving her parent’s house; however, this Bride had a hard time holding back her smiles of happiness as she waited for the love of her life. Eventually, the Groom was permitted inside where he sat with the Bride and then left with her in the limo.
  1. The honoring of elders. Throughout the wedding events, it was clear to see the value of the tribe’s elders. Each day they are dressed in delicate white material. At the start of the ceremony, elders walked the Bride to her awaiting parents who then took her to the hands of her Groom. After the reception, the elders sat in a row as the Bride and Groom went before each one, bowed down and kissed their knees. The elders said blessings for the couple and the evening came to an end. I noted throughout the weekend that people of all ages were paying their respects to the elders. They checked on them to see if they needed anything, they warmly greeted them, and they were sure to include them on activities throughout the weekend. It was simply beautiful to see this level of deeply rooted respect.
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Some of the elders.

  1. The food. The food. The food. Okay, so I am automatically drawn to any outing where there will be food, especially if it is something I have not tried. Although I have been eating Ethiopian food for years, thanks to this awesome friend, this was the first time I saw a special wedding tradition. Now, there was American food served inside the beautiful reception venue, but that is where it ended. The rest of the weekend was full of injera (information can be found here), meat stews, kitfo, vegetables and the lovely fragrant Ethiopian coffee. It was fun to watch people eat these dishes for the first time (something I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many times over the years, and it is always eventful because it is a unique experience for most people outside of that culture with both the types of food and the style in which one eats it). They asked many questions and put it on a plate like an American holiday meal. So, I was used to plating the injera and then the food on top (injera soaked in the juices is the best!) and I have eaten kitfo (a description is here) on many occasions. However, new to me on this day was the raw cow that was hanging, ready to eat – yes, ready to eat! The meat is “cooked” with spices and I was willing to try some since I have previously enjoyed the ground version. It was good, but I still prefer it ground.
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My friend, Mr. Cow – although not as friendly as his cousin, Mr. Ground Cow (not pictured).

  1. Dancing the nights away. When the Bride stated that there would be tons of dancing, she was not exaggerating. From before the Bride stepped into the aisle to say her vows, from when Day 3 ended, there was continuous singing, ululation (The start of this video has the ululation, along with pictures of many features I mentioned in this piece, although this video is not from the wedding I attended.) and dancing. The days were filled with beautiful ululation that replicated the joyous feeling everyone was experiencing. A lot of dancing also took place at the reception, which was in a gorgeous hotel. Due to the venue’s setup, many hotel guests could observe the reception. It appeared that people were very grateful for this opportunity as they stood and watched the celebration for a long time and often were seen taking pictures. There was a mix of past and present music from both represented cultures. Guests of all ages and backgrounds were finding their way to the dance floor because the energy was so infectious. It surely led up to the hype!

 

 

Anytime people gather to celebrate love, it is magical. The warmth from the Bride and Groom fills the air and coats the atmosphere. This wedding lived up to that ideal and spread even further. To see two cultures combine was so enchanting. Each brought pieces of their culture to the union. Their guests were able to learn from one another, and grow deeper as we celebrated the love between two amazing individuals.  So, by the end of the three days, we found ourselves exhausted and yet still smiling, ululating and accepting yet another bite of injera.

         Ahmeli… that when cultures come together, they bring out the best in one another to create a better tomorrow.

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What is HE Doing!?!

Today I have a confession. There is a reaction I’ve been having towards specific people that I viewed as just “normal.” Nothing took place to initiate this response, it was just simply automatic to me and I was sure that it was a common response by all parents. It rarely happened, probably because it’s “not supposed to,” and so most of the days our family went about our lives without having to experience THAT. What is it? It’s the emotional, and somewhat physical, response that my body experiences when a man whom I do not really know, perhaps even a complete stranger, wants to hold my baby. Red flags go off in my head. My eyes begin to dart all around. My mind races wondering, “Why is he approaching us? What does he want? What is his reason for touching my child?” Now, these thoughts do sometimes strike me when it is a female interacting with my son, but I openly admit that I experience the discomfort way more when it is a man. And in my mind, this was justified. The stories flooding the media, circling social groups and blackening the pages of the newspaper seem to almost always lead towards a man abducting, hurting, or even killing, a child. So, putting all of those pieces together, I thought my response in these situations was fully justified. I was being aware and alert to keep my child safe.

 

And then slowly, things changed.

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You Carry the Future

*Recently, I have been observing the trends I see between the youth from the various cultures I interact with compared to the youth of my community. As is true everywhere, there are exceptions and outliers. I understand that. This piece is reflective of what I have personally experienced, or witnessed, with youth whom I have interacted with over the years within the same city and same economic level, but from different cultures as based by country of origin. The purpose of this reflection is to provide a platform for us to evaluate what is happening and to improve mentoring among the youth. *

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You Carry the Future

Offering to carry a young woman’s infant as she walks beside you.

Walking through a door without holding it open for the woman carrying a baby.

A brother braiding his little sister’s hair.

Siblings sitting in the same room; communication only by text.

No power needed to play a game of soccer.

Emotions run wild when a power outage eliminates playing video games.

Cooking a variety of dishes as taught by Hooyo.

Bag of chips and soda from the corner store.

20, living at home, working fulltime, supporting the family.

20, living at home, chillin’ on social media, “figuring out” life.

Silence in the classroom. Homework completed. Education valued.

Timeout #27 today. Homework? Education ignored.

Walking down a street. Greeting all those you pass.

Music pumping in ears. The “what you looking at?!?” glance given.

Guest enters the room and bodies raise, all giving greetings.

While being fixated on a cell phone, the guest enters, unnoticed.

Advice is sought as stories are shared.

Stories are silenced, for advice is unwanted.

We can share lessons learned,

if you are open to guidance.

We will help in ways we can,

for you carry the future.

 

Ahmeli… that generations across the spectrum unite for the common goal of improving society.

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Carry