Today is New Year’s Day in Ethiopia. Melkam Addis Amet (Happy New Year) to all of you!

Why do I know this or mention this? In October, I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia with ONE Moms to make connections with Ethiopian mothers and share their stories. I’ll be with a group of ten influential women and we’ll travel to Addis, Tigray and other communities, to meet with women, farmers, school kids, and visit health clinics. We’ll visit organizations and projects that have benefited from foreign assistance and share what we see though the lens of women and families.

I’ve written about ONE Moms before but in case you missed it, it’s an arm of ONE.org, a non-partisan organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. They never ask for money, but they do want your voice! ONE.org & ONE Moms work to change policy at the government level.

I’ve done a bit of traveling lately, but this trip feels very different. Instead of going as a tourist, I’ll be visiting as more of a student. I’ll be there to learn. To learn about what’s happening there. What’s working and what’s not. And I’ll report back to you. That said, the tourist in me still can’t help but be excited to visit Ethiopia and experience its beauty. It’s a country I know so little about!

When I was invited, the first thought I had was a flashback to being a 4th grader and listening to Band Aid on constant replay. (Raise your hand if you had the same memory). Clearly, I’m embarrassingly under-educated about Ethiopia and as part of our trip prep, ONE Moms has been sharing book titles and articles and having conference calls where we can ask questions. I can’t get enough! Visiting a country I’ve never been to before always opens my eyes to new and different perspectives. I’m sure this will be true in Ethiopia and I’m really looking forward to learning as much as I can.

Teach me, Friends. When you hear about Ethiopia, what comes to mind? Have you ever visited the country or tried Ethiopian food? Read any good books or articles with Ethiopia as the subject? Tell me everything! And please, if you feel touched by the ONE Moms mission, I hope you’ll consider lending your voice to the cause by signing up.

P.S. — The image of Meskel flowers is found here. During Ethiopian New Year, the countryside is carpeted with them. So pretty! Since September always feels more New Year-ish to me than January, I can already tell I’m really going to like Ethiopia.