Please Help Me Build A School

To donate: (tax deductible!)

In Bonga, Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, young students, so eager to learn, sit in dank classrooms where tropical rains turn dirt floors to mud.   Because it’s a tough place to learn, the people of Bonga have made rebuilding their school a priority.  Brick and mortar will replace cracked walls and dirt floors.  Solar light bulbs will replace cracks in the ceiling that now let both light (and rain) in.

This local project has global significance:  A forest near Bonga is said to be the birthplace of coffee.  Coffee here grows wild, and it grows everywhere.  From these areas, Arab and Italian traders first tried coffee, and brought the roasted goodness to the East and West. The forest here is called “Kaffa,” the origin of the word “coffee.”

While providing the world with a beloved staple, most Bonga villagers are impoverished.  Coffee pickers earn less than a dollar per day.  Unemployment is high.  For those who dream of a life outside of farming, education is the key.  Despite their poverty, the town of Bonga and its villagers have come together to donate over $6,000 in cash and labor toward rebuilding their school.  We can all learn from their selflessness and generosity. But for all their efforts, another $9,000 is needed to rebuild the school.

I am a Peace Corps volunteer who sometimes teaches English in these mud-caked classrooms.  I am connected here just as I am connected to you through family and friends.  This is why I turn to you all to help make a huge improvement in a village that gives so much and receives so little.  A couple of you might give $300 or $500, but it is the sort of project where $25 or $50 makes a huge difference.   It’s hard to imagine that $15,000 will rebuild nine classrooms, but money goes a long way here.  For an understanding of how donations will be spent, please take a look at the breakdown at the end of this post.

My goal is to raise $9,000 by May 15; we have already raised several thousand dollars.  Meeting that goal means construction will start and will be finished so that students will be in new classrooms in the Fall.   You will be donating to a wonderful yet desperate town where students are eager to learn, the community is committed to help, and the children are as beautiful and pure as the coffee.  The Peace Corps has fully endorsed this as a priority project. I will be in Bonga to ensure its completion

Michael Waidmann

To donate (tax deductible!):


For a better idea of my life, my work, and my village check out:

A video of my girlfriend Carly and I as we travel around Ethiopia and work in Bonga: (I apologize for the shirtlessness)