2008 Ethiopia Trip Reflection: Laurie Maves

A Reflection by Laurie Maves

November 29, 2008

I am writing my reflections on the plane from Rome to D.C. – I decided this is as good as anytime.  First I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this brilliant opportunity to travel with your group of 21 people this year.  What an amazing and diverse group of people who all seemed to embrace this special, special chance to learn some great lessons about themselves, about the world, about Ethiopians, and about grace.

I have said before, but I did have a deep knowing and understanding that I would be making this trip the night Tammy and I met.  Tammy you have been more than inspirational to me at this point in my life – when the student is ready, the teacher appears and there you were,  Noel, thank you for trusting Tammy in allowing me to join you all.  The art experiences the group art, experiences for all the children and sites involved, from the murals in the bead room, mouse room and the map, to the DECA Library – even to the small amount of time I was able to draw with the older girls at the Mother of Teresa Aids Orphanage, all these experiences were amazing gifts for the children as well as some of the best art therapy “work” I am sure I have ever facilitated and participated in.  Especially at the DECA Library to witness the open eagerness of the students to be able to handle brushes, paints and make their own personalized mark on a wall-showed that the mural work was not only therapeutic and gift giving in its process but also in its end product where hopefully thousands will benefit by meditating on the mural and coming to understand that there are others in the world working hard so that they can achieve the successes that are due to them in this lifetime.  

Tammy and Noel, I saw so many things that the trip was such a whirlwind sometimes, I don’t know what to reflect on.  I think each experience all has such amazing and differing values for the children and the future of Ethiopia.  The beads, the knitting, the education, the books, the art skills, they are all crucial elements that you, as The Cunningham Foundation, help bring to the world.  Your gifts to the children keep giving – but also the gift of this trip will inevitably keep giving to the team you selected this year in 2008.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  My commitment to you is to work on a way to make a small library happen from myself and my family and network of friends and to hopefully paint future murals with the children of Yetebon or beyond.

Laurie Maves