In the course of meeting and talking with several women and girls throughout the course of a long day, Kendall finds much to be inspired by and thankful for.

Today was a looonnggg day. Our morning started with a 4:30 a.m. wakeup so that we could pack and be on our way to the airport by 5 a.m. for our 7 a.m. flight to Gondar. When we arrived in Gondar, our driver took us to our hotel so we could check in and get changed into hiking boots for our first day in the field. Gashaw had told us that we had a six-hour hike ahead of us because the trucks and bota-botas couldn’t make it to the sites due to mud.

Thankfully, Gashaw was wrong. Although it’s currently the rainy season, we had no issues reaching the sites and were greeted by the most cheerful faces! With a traditional welcome, we had people singing, dancing, and clapping while we walked up at almost all of the sites we visited.

Madison and I had the chance to talk to quite a few women throughout the day. The one thing one of them said that really stood out to me was, “you American girls are very lucky”, and she is so right.

Atitegeb and her children

We met girls who were 20, a year younger than us, who were already married with multiple children. For example, we interviewed a young woman named Atitegeb who was 20 years old with 3 young children. She got married when she was 14 years old.

Another lady we met told us she had gotten married when she was 12. To us, it’s unimaginable. But to the women in these rural communities, it is often their reality.

So today, I am thankful that I am an American girl, getting an education, and able to use  my education to help these women. Us American girls are very lucky, and it’s very easy to lose sight of that – so let this be a reminder to the American girls. We are very fortunate to live where we do and have so many opportunities available to us; women elsewhere aren’t so lucky.