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Ethiopian-American Kids Community Celebrates
Ethiopian Heritage Camp Event in Wisconsin

By Tsehaye Tessema
August 06 2011

The Ethiopian-American Kids Community /EAKC/ celebrated its extensive Ethiopian cultural annual heritage camp event at the Wesley Woods conference centre in Wisconsin last weekend.

The diversified and colorful event was organized by parents who have adopted Ethiopian children. The express aim was to offer and provide opportunities for kids of Ethiopian descent to get together to celebrate their common heritage in partnership and active engagement of their adoptive parents and members of the Ethiopian Community in the vicinity, and other friends of Ethiopia.

The menu for the splendid and multi-faceted schedule of the event included a variety of activities geared toward galvanizing and inviting the participants and attendees to actively engage in the multifarious program full of fun, entertaining and educational performances.

The multitude of events during the occasion were buttressed by various speakers. It was gathered on the occasion that there were more Ethiopian programming and crafts and more Ethiopians in attendance compared to previously held events. Among the invited guests in attendance were Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, Deputy Chief of Mission, and Head of the Ethiopian Embassy, Washington D.C and best-selling author, an American of Ethiopian origin, Mawi Asgedom.

Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, briefed the congregation on current developments in Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa Region. In particular, Ambassador Tesfaye, updated the audience on the thinking underpinning Ethiopia's development drive and democratization effort and institution building endeavor.

He explained why poverty is identified as a national security threat to Ethiopia and hence taken as the primary focus of the current Ethiopian government's determination to extricate the nation from the grinding poverty, and explained why rapid economic growth is absolutely necessary. He also briefed the audience on the current humanitarian challenge in the Horn and Ethiopia’s response to the challenge. He highlighted some of the measures taken to withstand the problem, as well as long term efforts to find a sustainable solution to the challenge of food security.

Ambassador Tesfaye impressed upon the adoptive parents that it is the belief of the Embassy that the adoptive parents are as much stakeholders in Ethiopia's welfare and therefore are entitled to know about what is happening back home.

After he made a short presentation, Ambassador Tesfaye entertained questions regarding Ethiopian government, culture, history and adoption policy changes, from the audience to which he gave pertinent responses.

On the other hand, Mawi Asgedom, the renowned author, made an inspiring presentation that paves the way for parents to lead their children on an incredible journey that will help propel them to lifelong success. He also held a special session for the EAKC Teens where he shared his own experience with the intent of relating his life lessons to their benefit.

Earlier, during her introductory remarks, Ms. Carol Deely, Co-Director of the program related how the Heritage Camp was first conceived and initiated a decade ago by a couple of adoptive parents and Mr. Asrate Tefera, an American of Ethiopian origin and Co-Founder of Heritage Camp.

Activities that highlighted the event included, camp fire, Ethiopian Music and Dancing, Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, Silent Auction, Non-Denominational Prayer Gathering, Teen Panel, Children' games, Soccer for Kids and Teens and learning Amharic and Culture and the presentation of Ethiopian Drama depicting cultural differences between an Ethiopian and an American family.