Monday, January 31, 2011

Groggy with Gratitude

There are so many kind, wonderful, things going on over here! I don't know where to begin! Melese is about to wake from his nap, so let me start with this one: We have MATCHED Louise's pledge! We have actually gone over the amount thanks to all of you guys. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I will have Melese pull one of your names from his hat. Hopefully he won't eat it, and we will have our Eeboo game winner.
(Hair night at our house).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Matching Game

Don't forget! If you donate to the school between now and Monday, Louise, will Match it! Leave a comment if you do, and you (and those who already contributed to the matching campaign) will be entered into a drawing to win M&m's favorite matching game:
Don't be afraid of that TESFA site.Schools Kambata It looks like you have to buy the whole school when you go in to donate. (Imagine that credit card statement!) Just click in the number field and add your own amount.

We are up to $381 dollars to be matched! Louise will match up to 1k.

Happy Friday!

My kids love this game!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


5:30 am, Meazi rolls over and says, "Mommy, let's get up." I ask her for ten more minutes. We slowly make our way to the living room. I turn on my computer. I ask her if she wants to see the painting Yaddi made for the fundraiser. I click on it and Meazi says,

"Oh mom! It's just what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted. People living in peace, vanilla and chocolate. I guess that is what Yaddi wants too."

Despite the obvious mistake about the middle Ethiopian, I still thought it was pretty profound for five years old and 5:40 in the morning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Can Meet the Artist, Get to Know Him Personally- Yadesa Bojia

Remember that Crash Test Dummies Song? I know, I'm really old. That song is so old that I can't even find a link to it.

I thought I'd do some posts about the artists that will be donating their work for our Fundraiser. I thought it might be interesting, whether you can make it in April or not. If there is enough online interest, perhaps we can have some sort of auction pre-bid through the interwebs?

I want to start with Yadesa Bojia. Yaddi commented on this blog years ago. He was (and still is) living in Seattle with his family. He wrote to offer his support and guidance regarding all things Ethiopian. He e-mailed me and told me he was available to help with me with any questions I had. Who does that?

Flash Forward 3 1/2 years, Yaddi is friends with one of my closest friends here in LA. Amy tells Yaddi about the Kambata project, Yaddi becomes my biggest supporter. Yaddi, one of eighteen children in his Ethiopian family (NOT A TYPO!), knows firsthand how important it is to get an education. I am hopeful that he can come to the event in April, and tell everyone his truly remarkable story.

Yaddi has another great story about how he learned that his design was chosen for the Flag of the African Union. He sent in a drawing and then three years later, while watching CNN, saw Kadafi sitting in front of his design.

Yaddi's work was just featured on Marcus Samuelsson's website too.

Yaddi designed our poster.

Yaddi is donating a piece for our auction. I burst into tears when I opened the attachment. It is an incredible painting. Wanna see it?


Here it is:
'Nebab'- (means reading)-18x24, Acrylic on Canvas. Starting bid- $1000.**

To say that I am happy about this donation is an huge understatement.

Thank you Yaddi. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is a beautiful, beautiful painting.

**The artist has the only right to reproduce and use for print media or other reproduction rights. According to California Civil Code 982.

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, January 22, 2011

State Department Conference on Ethiopian Adoption

I thought folks might want to know about this:

Ethiopia Adoption Notice
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

The Special Advisor for Children's Issues
Ambassador Susan S. Jacobs
invites you to attend Ethiopia Adoption: Solutions into Action.
January 24, 2011. 9:00a.m. - 3:00p.m.

To participate via teleconference, please dial:
 tel. 888-363-4749
 Access Code: 6276702

"How do we move forward to ethically and transparently protect children, birth families and adoptive parents in Ethiopia? Join us to discuss this important question with other participants, including government agencies, UNICEF, adoption service providers and NGOs."

And, a waaaaaay less important issue...

Is my new Blogger Header blurry or am I just drunk?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fundraiser - YOU are invited!

I think I mentioned that I was planning an event in Los Angeles to raise money for the school and library. I am excited to share the details with you now (and my apologies to my Facebook friends who have already heard all about it).

A Book in Their Hands …A Benefit for Ethiopia Reads & Tesfa.

Imagine never holding a book. Imagine never having the opportunity to go to school.

Join us on April 17th as we come together to make sure books and education are a reality for one community in the Kambata Tembaro region of Ethiopia.

Food, drinks, music, live performances, and silent auction.

WHEN:   April 17th, 2011, 6:30 pm
WHERE: The Electric Lodge
                 1416 Electric Ave, Venice, Ca. 90291
                 PH: 310-306-1854
Tickets: $50, Adults only. Purchase Tickets HERE. (You can purchase tickets as donations too, if you can't make it in person. But really, you should come! Jane Kurtz will be there, The 17th is her birthday! It's the day after mine! What are the chances? I love this woman!)
More Info: Contact Julie at
For event updates, including artist lineup, go to the Facebook Event page HERE.

The Electric Lodge is a great spot right in the heart of Venice. Melese really likes those "yittle guy," "shiny man,"angels all over the place. 
Did you see the poster? Wow. It is designed by Yadesa Bojia (who needs his own post). He is an incredible artist who has generously offered to donate a painting for the silent auction. INCREDIBLE! He may also speak. I just adore his design for the evening. I am hoping to make some T-shirts and posters, and sell them at the event and here on the blog.

So C'mon! Spring! Venice Beach! Ethiopia Reads! Art! Music! Tesfa! Food! Booze! ME! The theatre only holds 120 some people, so get your tickets soon! (You know there will most likely be an embarrassing ugly cry or two from me, surely you don't want to miss that?)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The School

 The Tesfa folks are in Ethiopia.

 They have been promised the above land for our school.

 It is in Meazi and Melese's village.

It is almost impossible to describe what it feels like to receive pictures like these in your morning e-mail, among the Baby Center newsletter, and an ad for a Lucky Brand sale.

With the average fertility rate of six kids per family, many of us have extended family 9,000 miles away.The idea that M&m's brothers and sisters, and cousins and friends, may have an opportunity to go to this school, is almost too much for me to comprehend.

Forgive me for asking before, now, and over and over in the future. For me this has become a sort of family emergency.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is the Way We Go to School

Isn't she beautiful? You can just tell that she loves learning. I got this picture from a lovely couple who spend all of their time volunteering for Ethiopia Reads. I think this picture will be the one I use for the fundraiser. If you don't already know, the fundraiser will be April 17th, in Venice, California. I am setting up a link for tickets, and hope to have it available by next week. I hope that you can come.

I received an e-mail from another lovely couple, Matt and Louise. They live in North Carolina and have two beautiful daughters.

They have generously offered to MATCH ANY DONATION MADE TO TESFA FOR THE KAMBATA SCHOOL between now and the last day of January, up to one thousand dollars. Cool huh?

Thank you Matt and Louise! 

If you make a donation to Tesfa in the next two weeks, will you let me know? That way I can keep track of the total for the match! Thank you.

Woo to the Hoo!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The amazing Laura has found a very cool way to help us raise money for our school.

From Laura: I am running the Miami 1/2 Marathon on January 30th.  It's my first 1/2 marathon and the longest distance I will have run in my life (so far I've only gone 8 miles...over 5 miles to go!). I am a NON-runner. Stay tuned to see if I make it to the finish line!

I have 3.5 weeks left to train and would like to make my pain someone else's gain.  Thus, I'm using this event to fund raise for a very special project.  Ethiopia Reads  is a really incredible organization that is committed to increasing the literacy rate in Ethiopia and establishing libraries and donkey-drawn bookmobiles all over the country.  UNICEF estimates the current adult literacy rate to be approximately 36%. Less than 1/2 of the adults in Ethiopia can read.  Less than 1/2. Take that in for a moment as you reflect on how the skill of reading has affected YOUR life.  Where would you be if you could not read?

Ethiopia Reads has agreed to build a library in Kambata, the small region where our daughter Konjit was born in Southern Ethiopia. Many children adopted from Ethiopia come from this area, as it is hard hit by poverty. A blog friend, Julie, has spear-headed this project as her two children are also also Kambatans. I'm am excited to share that Ethiopia Reads has partnered with the Tesfa Foundation to not only build a library, but to establish a school near Konjit's birth place!

$45,000 is needed to build this library and school.  That's a lot.  The good news is approximately 1/2 of what is needed for the library has already been raised!

Would you consider sponsoring me as I run the 13.1 miles of the Miami 1/2 marathon in an effort to raise the literacy rate in Ethiopia by donating whatever you can (I know we are on the heels of holiday gift giving) to this project?  Maybe consider sponsoring me per mile...knowing that each mile I am to run has a dollar value will get me to the finish line.

Because we stand to make a difference in Konjit's birth area, this is a cause that is very dear to us.

If you're interested in making a donation you can either paypal me at lcsummerhill(at) gmail (dot) com or donate directly through the Tesfa Foundation site, found here:

If you'd like to read more about Ethiopia Reads see this site:

Hey, thanks for reading and for considering my plea. Here's to a happy 2011!


How amazing is she? Thanks Laura, and thanks to everyone who has sponsored her, and to everyone who is about to sponsor her. ;)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Melkam Genna!

 How lucky are we to have this community?

Hope everyone had a Happy Christmas.
Are the holidays over now? I'm exhausted!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Melkam Lidet Melese!

Unexpected Gifts

Happy New Year!

It is midnight and Steven and I are both awake! It is a miracle. We went to sleep with the kids hours ago, but somehow managed to wake up in time for the actual stroke of midnight.

I can't stop thinking of a strange and wondrous thing that happened this evening. We had spent most of the day at home. Steven working on Melese's cake.

We managed to take a 'tiny train' (a tram actually) to see some clear views, and lovely pieces like, 'Tiny Man Broken'. (Melese's new favorite adjective is, obviously, tiny). I was cold and crabby, and sure that Meazi was going to knock something over in one of the very crowded galleries. We had planned to go downtown to one of our favorite restaurants, but the kids seemed dangerously close to meltdown mode. We chose a place closer to home.

Low blood sugar Meazi just needed some lasagna to return her to her adorable daughter status. We ate and ate, bread, salad, and pasta. The waiters brought Steven a slice of cheesecake with a faulty candle. We all sang Happy Birthday to Steven. We were getting ready to leave. The waiter brought over the bill and said that a man at another table had paid for our dinner. The person was no longer in the restaurant.

I remember seeing a man and two women. They were probably in their fifties. I didn't really ever make eye contact with them. Melese had been very exuberant throughout the meal. He yelled, "YUMMY!" when the waiter brought him his penne with butter. Meazi had been crying at the beginning of the meal ( she was hungry, and tired). I had picked her up and taken her into the next room for a hug and a talk. The kids were surprisingly well behaved for the entire meal.

At first I thought, how cool, that guy bought our dinner because it was Steven's Birthday. That is so nice! What we realized later is that that trio was long gone when the cake came out. They didn't know it was his birthday. They just bought our dinner. Unheard of. Steven's next theory was that they must have been from Wisconsin (Wisconsin is playing in the Rose Bowl here tomorrow). We all know how nice people from Wisconsin are. They weren't wearing red though, and they didn't seem like they were from out of town.

We will never know. Maybe they have Ethiopian grandchildren? Maybe they always wanted to adopt? Maybe Melese's enthusiasm for cheese charmed them?

I hope your new year is filled with unexpected gifts like this one. Amazing.