County Executive Isiah Leggett forged ties with Gondar, Ethiopia, when he signed the sister city agreement on Sept. 27 during his trip there last month.
At the Taye Hotel in Gondar, Leggett and Getinet Amare, deputy mayor of Gondar City, signed the partnership agreement, said Bruce Adams, director for the county executive’s Office of Community Partnerships.
Daniel Koroma, the liaison to African and Caribbean communities in Montgomery County, said the county is interested in working with Gondar’s clinic, which serves about 250,000 people in the Gondar area. He said the building cannot accommodate the number of people in the area and does not have enough equipment for everyone. Koroma said the county is seeking community partnerships to send medical equipment to the clinic. Additionally, he said the county is trying to locate a medical transport vehicle for the clinic to bring people from rural areas to the clinic to receive the care that they need.
Koroma said the group brought 20 computers for a Gondar secondary school’s computer lab. The computers were purchased by the community in Montgomery County after fundraising, and Koroma said the county is looking at ways to donate math and general science textbooks to the schools.
About 10 people from Montgomery College accompanied the county executive, and Koroma said the college is looking into possibly developing a study abroad program or a staff exchange program with the University of Gondar.
Koroma said the county also is looking into fundraising efforts to drill a water well in Gondar.
“Adequate or clean drinking water is really difficult [to get] during the dry season. Sometimes women and children have to walk a long way with empty gallons,” which Koroma said they have to carry sometimes a mile or two to their home.
He said the construction of the well itself would cost about $20,000.
There will be a small debriefing for the community about what happened on the trip, which is tentatively set for Nov. 1. A larger community reception will be held at a later date.