Do you know where my missing classmates are today?

Authorhouse

Paperback
294 pages
ISBN:
1-4251-0529-7
Price: £8.99

 

 

News

Book Talks

25 August 2013

FeminismandReligion.com has been a really great find, where women of all beliefs post stories about faith, religion, rituals and ancient history, from a feminist perspective. They invited me to post about my own discoveries. Enjoy!

5th May 2012

A very good friend, Pam Gonsalves, is one of the founders of Goanet- Femnet, launched in April.

It’s an an online network where women can educate, inspire and empower other women to help one another around the world.

Pam told them about the book and they included a feature about it. Thank you to Betsy Nunes and the team!

I hope that some browsers will click through to the old class photo to see the smiling face of Celina Fernandes, another Goan. (Second row, second left)!

I think their site is well worth bookmarking, and I’ll be visiting it regularly for inspiring stories and lessons. Why don’t you too?

2nd March 2012

The Concept of “Enough”

Today is the International Women’s Day of Prayer, where we get together in a 36 hour prayer circle to pray for the world and one another.  This year’s theme is “Let Justice Prevail.”  An apt one, at a time of huge anxiety about jobs, housing, equality, religious diversity and tolerance, everywhere.

Earlier this week, the Occupy London demonstrators were finally evicted from the front of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I think the eviction was wrong.  The occupation was a useful reminder to tourists and passers-by that Christ had stood for social justice and had spent his time with people whom many would call ‘losers’ today: lepers, the blind, lame, mentally ill, beggars and prostitutes. 

I had visited the site twice.  Yes, it was somewhat chaotic, and there was a wide divergence of opinion, but they mostly represented the ethical face of British society.  And the Occupy movement won’t go away, whatever the critics say!

Life is a lot less certain now, and we have to accept that reality, with technology and 7 billion humans vying for resources on our beautiful and fragile planet.   This calls us to become a new humanity, one that is appreciative, caring and sharing.

Since 2002, I’ve focused on being grateful for what I have right here, right now.  From breathing, and my body’s health, to the peaceful atmosphere at home, the snowdrops outside the kitchen window, and the blackbirds’ song in the garden, to cooking good food which I can share with family and friends, to spending time with people who are really down.  (And that’s been me too.)

 I call this the ‘Concept of Enough’. 

I wrote about it nine years ago this month, at a time of enlightenment.  Here it is (chapter 29 in the book).  I hope you enjoy it!  Feel free to share it with others.  Let me know what you think

5th July, 2011

One of the best ways we can help improve prospects for people in the developing world is through education. I was lucky enough to meet Hanna Alemu in 2004, at the Abebech Gobena Orphanage, where she was a 15 year old orphan and did all the translation between me and Abebech. She was very good too!

From that meeting, we kept in regular touch by email and in 2006, she asked me whether I would sponsor her through university, as her dream was to become an English teacher. I did, and this is what she wrote in a recent letter:

I was an orphan, after both my parents died. Thanks to the will of God, I was given a home with Abebech Gobena in Addis Ababa, where they cared for me very well, providing good food, a safe place to live and a good education. I met Annette when I was in grade 10, and she stayed at the orphanage for a week. From that day on, Annette has never been out of my life. She supported me through my university studies. I believe that I would never have been successful without her.

Today, I am working at a private school “Phase Academy’ in Addis, teaching English to grades 3 – 6 (8 – 13 year olds) and earning a good salary, with my own accommodation. Annette has taught me to be independent, kind, patient, faithful and generous to others . She is all I have that the Lord has given me as a precious and wonderful gift.

Hanna Alemu


14th October 2009

USA: The summary

The weather was hot & steamy, and Chris and Yodit in Washington were great hosts. They made me feel part of the family for ten days, in the midst of Yodit’s younger brother’s wedding preparations. But the turnout at the Ethiopian embassy talk was low – I was disappointed that none of my former classmates were able to attend. And the New York talks were similar.

But those that turned up were very interested and surprised by what I’d achieved, with readers in 21 countries and all the endorsements. In the Big Apple, I met Dr. Haile Seyoum and Tsion, who graduated from Nazareth School in ’86 and promised to help track down some of the ladies, thanks! Thanks to Annette Sheckler, in Washington; Fay Bennett Lord at the Community Church in New York and Magda and Amie Kiros for hosting and arranging the talks. I appreciated your support.

It was much easier when it came to radio interviews. The Talk Show hosts loved the story – I was interviewed by stations right across the US, intrigued by a Brit doing something for water, especially when most of us are so fearful of what’s next for our families & companies with the global recession. My favourite host was Joey Reynolds, a caring, ethical journalist who gave me a lift back to the brownstone Indigo Arms where I was staying at 3 am (the interview had been at 2am!) It turned out the Joey lives in the neighbourhood. Another world traveler and host was Kathryn Raaker, who has a weekly show called “Let’s Just Talk” which is nationally syndicated.

Whilst in Harlem, I popped into Hue-Man, Harlem’s favourite book store. There I found my classmate Salome Yilma’s ‘‘Ethi Dolls’ on display near the front door – an amazing connection! (The dolls are beautiful, by the way – real collectors’ items).

Harlem had great, edgy energy, and I encountered nothing but kindness and friendship, just as I have everywhere. So, all the love and energy is out there, with this journey and the book. It’s now time for a return to work, and preparing a book proposal for the whole amazing 60,000 mile journey: 1995 – 2009 , with a major publisher behind it this time.

This journey and book demonstrates the astonishing interconnectedness between human beings, when we use our hearts, rather than our fearful minds, to pull us towards our destiny. It’s amazing that, in pre-Facebook days, hundreds of men and women took me on trust to track down former classmates. Thank you all!


14th September 2009

Lots of interest!

Coming to the US was really the right decision. There has been a lot of interest from Americans. The radio hosts who've read the book are all calling the Odyssey a 'must buy'. The no. 1 interview that's coming up is an in studio live interview on the Joey Reynolds late night show on WOR Talk radio on 22nd September. http://www.wor710.com/ Joey is the 'King" of late night talk shows, so a great coup to be on the show. Book talk at 4pm tomorrow at the Ethiopian Embassy, so will be preparing tomorrow. Joey's show is broadcast to 100 stations and he has 4 million loyal listeners. This looks like the media break I've wanted for 3 years now - fantastic!


7th August 2009

Book talks & radio interviews in the US:

Next month, I will return to the US to give some more book talks. This time is different: I have readers organizing them for me, which is awesome. The first is on 15th September at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC, hosted by the ambassador, H.E. Dr. Samuel Assefa, who knew my classmate, Hiruth Girma. His executive asst., Annette Sheckler, taught another classmate, Etenush Tsige!

In New York, I’m giving book talks on 20th September, the first at the NY Community Church, and later that day at Piatto D’Oro, New York arranged by Aimee Kiros, owner and aunt of my friend, Magda! Other opportunities will emerge, I’m sure. Just as important, I will be doing some Talk Show radio interviews throughout my stay, and will hopefully be meeting some literary agents. There is a lot of energy in the US for this book, which is just great!


2nd April 2009

With the G20 Summit's agreement to continue helping the developing world, and my return to Addis last week, it was an appropriate time for me to visit President Girma of Ethiopia, who is the father of one of my classmates.

Meeting with President Girma

We're pictured in his office in the National Palace, formerly Emperor Haile Selassie's Jubilee Palace. We spent an hour together, a very special opportunity. Earlier that day, the book had been front page news in 'The Daily Monitor' an English language newspaper.

President Girma retired in 2013, but is still very active in various projects including trying to broker peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.


20th March 2009

www.ekklesia.co.uk

March 22 is World Water Day, so I wanted to mention a remarkable book by a good friend of Ekklesia (and an Ekklesia Partner) Annette Allen...


25th November 2008

£1,000 for WaterAid!

On 25th November, I presented a cheque for £1,000 to Alan Machin, WaterAid's National Head of Fundraising at their London headquarters. This is enough to fund lasting clean water and sanitation for 60 people - a life changing act for them.

Water Aid Presentation

It's a big milestone for the 'Odyssey', as it shows the power of dreams, and your support and purchase of the resulting book. And in October, cheques for £250 and £160 were donated to Christian Aid and the AGOHELD charity, respectively. The Christian Aid money will go direct to their work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I hope that there will be many more cheques in the future, although that still depends on landing a major publishing deal. (With the current global financial crisis, readers are finally ditching misery memoirs, so I'm more hopeful for progress in 2009!)

This week, I'm also being interviewed by Radio Salaam Shalom about the book,
an internet based radio station, which encourages dialogue between Jews and
Muslims: http://www.salaamshalom.org.uk/#SlideFrame_1

Finally, I have three book readings between now and the end of January, including one at work.

Perhaps 2009 will indeed be a Tipping Point for this little book?

Have a wonderful Christmas, however you celebrate it.


12th April 2008

Goa Herald
British author in search of Goan classmate...


1st December 2007

Coventry Telegraph
Dream that led Annette to write a book...


17th September 2007

Interviewed by Diane Bailey, UN Radio

Listen here [MP3 13MB]

 


January 2007

InspireMagazine.org
Book on Ethiopia inspired by dream


February 2004

Authentic Business Article
An Ethiopian Odyssey


 

Book Talks

News

5th April 2011

Jeni Ellis Halliday, whom I’d met at a recent workshop, had invited me to give a talk to the St. John’s Wood Women’s Club. Its members are mostly ex-pat ladies whose husbands work in London, and are widely travelled.

They were astonished by the journey. A few cried, and lots clapped when I told them that I am the only self published author to have given a book talk at the UN. Afterwards, a few shared stories of their faith: by talking about mine, I’d made it OK to talk about theirs.

Yes, there were connections, as there always are, when we’re open. Shelagh had lived in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, two streets from my parents’ final home. Over lunch, others told me about uncanny coincidences that they’d experienced. Which is how Life really works!

Best of all, Margot Sappern has offered to help find my American classmate, Kathy or Kay Miller, last seen 47 years ago. She is intrepid and determined, and I know she will unearth her. Thanks Jeni and Margot!


14th February 2011

On Valentine’s Day, the Rotary Club in Buckingham had invited me to give a talk about how Buckingham people had helped the quest for my former classmates. I had expected the room at Tanlaw Mill, Buckingham University, to be full of men, and was surprised and pleased to meet two women. They’d given me the after-lunch slot, but I realised with dismay there was neither the space, nor time to do a slide presentation.

Anxiously I thought about how I’d get the message across. Help was at hand in the form of the club secretary, who mentioned a local event for RAF Halton, the base where my father had been an apprentice technician in 1936, aged 16! So, abandoning the need for formality, I opened with this story, making many sit up (like me, they were all ‘baby boomers’.) In ten minutes, I’d related how interconnected people and events in Buckingham were, leaving some shocked and astonished. Yes, I did sell a few books, but most of all, I made the provision of water in Ethiopia personal. Rotary already fundraise for WaterAid, so hopefully it will encourage them to do more. Water is, after all, life.


1st June 2010

Book talk: Soroptimists International - Rugby branch

Soroptimist International is a vibrant and dynamic women’s organisation. They are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual potential, realise their aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong and peaceful communities worldwide. They are the only women’s organisation affiliated to the United Nations.

I’ll be giving a book talk about the “Odyssey” to the Rugby branch, arranged by Desiree Lambert – thank you!


12th December 2008

I gave my first talk at work, to a group of interested and multinational people at PRS for Music, the UK’s main music licensing and broadcast society, looking after the royalties and rights of musicians from new bands to the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox.
One lady, Magda Kiros, even brought her father along, as he’s a baby boomer liked me and remembered his time in Addis too! Each asked interesting questions and they were open to the idea of someone embarking on a journey of faith, discovering all kinds of connections across the world. So unlike how the media portray us these days!


31st October 2007

Women’s Institute, Thornborough, Buckinghamshire.

Tea was being brewed as I walked into the Women's Institute meeting in Thornborough village hall on Hallowe'en Home made biscuits were carefully laid on plates: gingerbread, macaroons, flapjacks, shortbreads, and Viennese fingers. All looked delicious and my tummy rumbled, as I'd had to rush back from work to give the talk. When the hall was full to bursting - almost 60 members from all over north Buckinghamshire - the meeting was declared open and we stood to sing "Jerusalem", that wonderful hymn with lyrics by William Blake, with which the BBC Proms finishes each year. A complete contrast to the giggling witches, goblins, ghouls and Frankensteins knocking on doors and running from house to house, trick or treating!

The focus for this audience was the local angle: how people in Britain had helped in the search for missing classmates. There were sharp intakes of breath when I revealed that through the 'Buckingham Advertiser' I'd found Jack Atamian, the second cousin of one of my classmates, and the support of my church, SS Peter & Paul. I told them about the talk at the United Nations and the letter from Gordon Brown, which made many sit up. But best of all were the questions - "Why were your classmates so elite?" "How did you manage to fund your journey?" "In what way is your life different today?" I told them of the joy I felt, knowing that I was finally on the right track, and the ability to discover and appreciate the connections across the world, as I continued the quest to reunite all my missing classmates for book 2. Over a third of the audience queued up afterwards to buy a copy, including some for early Christmas presents.


12th September 2007

UN book talk highlights

The day dawned with a clear blue sky, a good omen. I got up an hour before I needed to, to go through the presentation, and to visualise feeling calm, when it was another momentous step on the journey. I needn't have worried - the Ethiopian ambassador, H.E. Negash Botora, was charming and very well briefed about the book, and made me feel at ease. There had been a short item in the UN Journal - the daily briefing sheet which all UN Missions and reporters read - which was helpful. Almost 30 people attended, representing 13 different countries. I was delighted to meet the Armenian ambassador and one of his attaches, along with attaches from the US and Egyptian missions. The rest were people who were interested in news about the UN Millennium Development Goals and Ethiopian supporters. The introduction from the ambassador was very poignant, as he read out one of the dreams I'd included in the book, as the introduction and then for the next half an hour, people listened, nodded, laughed and gasped.

Sarah Dobsevage from WaterAid America, speaks

Ambassador Botora Introducing Annette

How can I get the book

Smiles on their faces

 


10am, 12th September 2007

Conference room A, United Nations, New York

His Excellency, Negash Botora, Ethiopian ambassador to the United Nations, will be hosting a talk in conference room A at the UN Plaza, New York. Ambassadors from all the countries whose citizens helped me have been invited, along with leaders of faith groups, former classmates and the media


26th October 2006

Addis Ababa launch: Nazareth School for Girls

Addis was experiencing unseasonal rain during my stay in Ethiopia last week, but Thursday 26th October dawned bright and sunny. Nazareth School’s library was the venue for the book launch there – a promise I’d kept to Sister Weynemariam, the head, and Marta Asrat, my former classmate and school secretary, who sadly died in March 2005.

Addis book display

A rapturous welcome

Over 40 people were there, along with a TV crew and the local news agency! President Girma received a rapturous welcome from the school – it was the first time they were honoured with a visit from him. Bernd Dreesmann had made a special trip from Cologne – Hiruth Girma, my classmate and the President’s daughter, had worked for him for a year in 1974. Sister Weynemariam welcomed him and the guests, before handing over to me. I succeeded in keeping my talk short – 30 minutes – and afterwards there was time for book signings and a few sales.

Sister Weynemariam welcomes the guests

Answering questions

There was a poignant moment when Addisalem (New World) stood up, the youngest of Marta’s daughters, who’s now in the ninth grade there. I gave her a special signed copy in memory of her mother, and donated three books to the library, so students can enjoy the story. All the school turned out for my departure – an amazing and wonderful moment. I could get used to the cheers!

Discussing the book with President Girma and Bernd Dreesmann

A proud moment for the school

Very good media coverage:

The following day, the book made the front page of The Ethiopian Herald – the English language newspaper, and it was on TV. Many people are interested in buying a copy, but I need to find a good local printer so it’s affordable for Ethiopians.

And now it’s time to promote the book in the UK. More news soon!


22nd October 2006

An Ethiopian Odyssey signing at SS Peter and Paul

A signing at my church, SS Peter and Paul, in Buckingham. There was a real buzz amongst the congregation that morning, as many had followed my journey from March 2004.

“And that lady there is Fanaye, my classmate”


20th October 2006

An Ethiopian Odyssey London Book Launch

The London book launch took place at the Globe Theatre and was a great success:

A proud moment, standing by the directional sign at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Ken, my former boss, with Fanaye, my classmate from Cologne and I


 

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