Father and son – together on a mission with humedica

by Peter und Martin Erd, Ruth Bücker,  2011/05/21

A lot of characteristics and interests are passed on from one generation to the next; how else would family enterprises be able to maintain their traditions? Joint interests link persons and often lead them on a common path, as was the case for Peter Erd and his son Martin.

No matter where they went, Peter and Martin Erd were always given a warm welcome. Photo: humedica/Martin Erd

In 1970, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, Peter Erd was one of the first development aid workers of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (German Development Service, DED) and he was active in Ethiopia for a period of two years.

The close bond he had developed to the country and its people has persisted up to this day, and during the past decade it inspired him to travel to the East African highlands several times. Also his youngest son Martin shares this fascination and love for Africa.

In November 2009, when Martin was 23 years old, he set out to Ethiopia in order to cooperate and assist in the humedica projects for the first time for a period of almost six months.

Mostly he supported the Mercato Street Children Project in Addis Abeba, but he also visited schools in remote regions of the country. He was enthusiastic about this work. And this was not the last time he participated in humedica projects.

At the beginning of this year, he once more packed his bags together with his father Peter Erd and took advantage of the opportunity and of his free time in order to support the humedica water supply projects. The main mission location was in the surroundings of the “capital” of the south and the constantly growing city of Hawassa.

During the three months of Peter Erd’s mission, he could assist with building three new deep-wells and repair numerous defective pumps. And this also was the first time that father and son participated in a mission together, as Martin also was once more active in Ethiopia in order to assist with the projects for the period of one month.

Martin Erd and staff members of the humedica children’s day care centre Mercato in the capital of Ethiopia. Photo: humedica/Peter Erd

A highlight of their time in Ethiopia, reported the Erds after their return, had been a joint trip to Illubabor, or rather to Abiyu, a very small village in the Ethiopian mountains, where humedica runs a school project. Thanks to the support of donors from the region around Stuttgart, a school building, sanitary facilities and a deep-well could already be built in this village in 2005.

In Abiyu we were greeted enthusiastically by the entire village community with shouts of “welcome, welcome”. We could talk to the village inhabitants about their needs and wishes, which is very important for further support of the school and demonstrates the commitment the inhabitants show in order to improve their situation”, report Martin and Peter Erd after having met the village inhabitants.

Currently, a total of 90 pupils go to school at Abiyu: 20 girls and boys attend the first grade, and 24 pupils the second grade. The third grade consists of 18 children and the fourth grade is the largest class with 28 pupils, all of whom are eager to learn.

During their joint participation in the projects, which had been set up in the hills of the Ethiopian highlands, father and son could furthermore repair the already existing well.

When we were still staying in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abeba, the local humedica employees working there informed us that the deep-well in the mountain region did no longer work. Therefore, we had already loaded our off-road vehicle, which we needed in order to reach said region, with spare parts.

Together with the village inhabitants, Peter Erd repaired the defective well and set up three new wells. Photo: humedica/Martin Erd

In cooperation with the village inhabitants of Abiyu we could remove the earth and mud that had been swept into the deep-well and had caused an obstruction, install a new pump and newly concrete the foundations. Now the people can once more use the flawlessly working well and do not have to walk the long way into the valley in order to get water there for their families.

When I think back to that day, I can still see all the happy faces in my mind. And from our perspective, the cooperation with the village community also was of great important, since it contributes to making the projects more sustainable and to people identifying more strongly with them.

For the two of us, it was an enriching and really wonderful time, during which we gained a lot of positive experiences. A time during which we went down the “same path” full of harmony and were richly rewarded”, Martin and Peter Erd conclude their report.

Dear friends and sponsors of these important projects in Ethiopia, and of our work in general. We could realise the achievements we have made so far thanks to your support and we hope to cooperate with you also in future. Thank you very much for any kind of support you have offered so far and for future donations.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Ethiopia
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

Another safe, fast and direct way to support us is to send a text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. Your mobile bill will be charged with 5 euros and 4.83 euros of this amount will be directly channelled into the humedica projects.

Education as a key to future – thank you for making this possible. Photo: humedica/Martin Erd

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