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Bracelet Sales to Aid Africans


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bracelet Sales to Aid Africans

By Matt Gomez

Mountain View Telegraph

Journee Bradshaw and her two sisters, Meya and Maree, have lived for the last few months in the East Mountains.

Before that, they had spent their lives a seven-hour car trip south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city, in a region described as the poorest part of the country, said the girls' adoptive mother, Katie Bradshaw.

In July, Katie and her husband, Calvin, adopted the three girls and by mid-August the girls were in Cedar Crest.

Journee, Meya and Maree, ages 9, 8 and 6, respectively, according to their birth certificates, had to leave their father behind, Katie said.

"Their mother had passed away about three years ago in childbirth and (their father) had seven children and made the decision that they were the youngest and that this is what he felt was best," Katie said.

The transition has had its challenges, Katie said. The girls miss their family, friends, food, school teacher and choir, they said. But despite the many differences, they really seem to enjoy living in America.

"Good— people, everything, I like everything," Journee replied when asked what she thinks of America.

"It's alright," Meya said. "I like people— the same!"

Although Journee and Meya both seem to be adapting, they haven't forgotten their roots. It didn't take long for them to undertake a project that would help them give something back to Africa.

Katie read in a magazine about Heifer International, which works to provide animals and agricultural aid worldwide in an effort to end hunger and poverty.

"I showed Meya and she got really excited ... and she explained to Journee and they were both very eager to take on the project," Katie said.

The girls are now making and selling bracelets to raise money to purchase a cow for an African family.

A cow can provide nourishment and financial aid— a family can drink the animal's milk and sell what it doesn't use— and the cow's offspring can later be given to another family in need, creating a sort of "pass it on" mentality, according to the group's Web site.

Journee and Meya both said they remember the poor conditions in Ethiopia.

"Africa's people— no food, no money," Journee said.

The price of a heifer through Heifer International is $500. The bracelets the girls are making sell for $6 apiece, and they hope to eventually sell 100 to raise enough money.

Before adopting the three girls, Katie and Calvin had two children of their own— Luke, 2, and Hannah, 3.

"I guess I was still wanting our family to grow and so then we decided there are so many older children waiting (for adoption) that we just decided to go that avenue. It really has been great," Katie said— adding that adoption was "a very tedious process."

Making the transition from school in Ethiopia to school in America has been a breeze, Katie said. Journee and Meya both had about two years of English lessons before their adoption.

"Everything has been wonderful, the classes have been completely accepting and the teachers have been wonderful," Katie said.

Not everything has gone so smoothly, however. Meya, in particular, has had a hard time adjusting to the food Americans eat, Katie said.

Meya lost about five pounds after moving to America, Katie said, because she disliked the food so much. But Journee and Meya were able to list a few foods they do enjoy: bananas, oranges, pizza, chicken, french bread.

Journee's favorite food is pancakes, she said, while Meya prefers ramen noodles.

Journee and Meya so far have sold 51 bracelets through the family Web site and have sold six at two Cedar Crest businesses: A Hair Salon at Natural Indulgence and Home Sweet Home Consignments— both owned by Diane Yancey, a family friend.

Bracelets are still available at the two businesses and on the family's Web site: http://bradshaws-familyofseven.blogspot.com.

2006 Dec 14