You can make plans but plans can change

I have always been impressed by people taking the time to manage a blog while traveling and therefore never attempted to start writing myself. But with the time passing by and because the pictures are not always able to tell the full story I would like to take this trip as a new challenge for myself.

In the beginning of 2016, I planned to take part in the ASApreneur program and get involved in a climate protection project – setting up a CO2 neutral hiking and renewable energy education path in Nepal. The project is set in Kathmandu and I was intrigued by the opportunity of supporting the local community in reconstructing the area of Helambu District which was hit by two earthquakes earlier this year destroying a number of 600.000 households and taking the live of almost 9.000 people.

After an interview with the project Partner atmosfair, which is a climate protection organisation working in the field of carbon dioxide reduction and emission offsetting, guess what… It turned out that I wasn’t chosen to support this project. But they asked me to support the implementation of Solar Home Systems in Ethiopia.

After a short period of regret about not seeing the mountains in Nepal, I started to inform myself about Ethiopia and the new project I was about to take part in! With a year of ongoing demonstrations involving the two biggest ethnic groups of the country (The Oromo representing up to 30 percent of the population and the Amhara as the second largest group) who were fighting for their rights of political codetermination, the situation was anything but easy and safe. Nonetheless, I started working at the atmosfair headquarters in Berlin and prepared myself for the project. Only a couple of week before my departure, the governmental suppression reached its peak by violently shutting down a number of demonstrations all over the Oromia and Amhara region and more than a hundred of people were killed in one day. The region I was supposed to work in was no longer safe. So, two days before my actual departure to Ethiopia, I cancelled the flight and changed my destination in a very spontaneous moment: To Lesotho.

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My sister giving me a farewell hug at the airport

And here I am. I did end up in the mountains but on a different continent. Lesotho is a landlocked enclave in the East of South Africa and roughly of the size of Belgium. A country also called kingdom in the sky for being the only independent state lying impressive 1.000 metres above sea level and famous as a hiker’s paradise. As part of the project “Efficient Cookstoves – Lesotho” our main goal is to reduce the consumption of fire wood using the Save80 stoves. Since the project has already started five years ago, it´s an interesting time to join in: We’re now organising the new NGO, the Save80 Climate Protection Group. It will consist of a group of 10.000 stove users taking action in new climate change projects supported by atmosfair and is set up by our project partner Solar Lights based in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. And also my project partner Michael Hönes couldn’t be a more intriguing character, but more on his work another time.

I arrived in early October and so far, I’ve been learning something new every day… I just needed a gentle push from my better half to start blogging about it 😉

By Sebastian

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Me and Michael at the Lesotho UN-Day

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