POV

For One Empty Plastic Bottle

A Glimmer of Hope is an organization that was formed by Donna and Philip Berber to help people in need in Ethiopia.

Story and photos by Ozgur Kiyat - ozgurkiyat@hotmail.com
Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

While driving around the sunny Agean, I received a phone call from my cousin who is working for a non-profit foundation called A Glimmer of Hope, based in Texas. She told me that they needed a photographer for the project they run in Africa. A Glimmer of Hope is an organization that was formed by Donna and Philip Berber to help people in need in Ethiopia.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Accepting the offer, I was very excited and I thought it would be the experience a lifetime to join the crew. As an adult who mostly grew up in well-developed places, I was mentally preparing myself way before my flight. As I landed to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian people seemed to be very friendly and helpful.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Going to the fields and visiting villages, the rough times started. The bumpy roads and the bumpy flights we took from region to region were challenging. I saw kids running after our trucks for so long asking for empty plastic bottles. When we asked the reason why they wouldn’t accept water, one of the elders told us that they would have to fight to drink it. They would generally fill the bottle up with water and try to sell it for one birr, which is obviously equivalent to less than one dollar. We met kids who’d walk great distances to go to school, if they were lucky enough to receive an education. We saw kids and women carrying full buckets for miles to bring water home.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

A Glimmer of Hope finds donors who give charity for those people to have schools, water wells and health centers. I was lucky enough to meet a valuable and a wealthy family on the second week of our trip, the Portnoi family from London, one of the donors to the organization. A family that really enjoys helping people change their lives. Unlike the fake politicians asking for votes and trying to advertise what they do, I could easily tell the Portnois were providing that help with their hearts. They were also trying so hard to find more donors for those people to live in better conditions.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

The Ethiopian people embraced us with open arms. They had great respect for us and seemed to be overexcited and happy for all the assistance. Even though they lived in such tough conditions, they had a very positive vibe. They would welcome us with traditional dances in each village.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

I was so glad to have had the opportunity to be in Ethiopia for such a great purpose. In twenty years when another Ethiopian athlete wins another gold medal, he’ll probably have been one of those kids who ran after our truck for an empty plastic bottle. A champion that was strong enough to go thirsty instead of fight.

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

Photo © Ozgur Kiyat

3 Responses to “For One Empty Plastic Bottle”

  1. Gebrehaweria says:

    Thank you Ozgur Kiyat that is a nice description.

  2. Gülçin SAN says:

    Çabalarınızı kutluyorum.Resimler her şeyi anlatıyor

  3. Ebru Ozaydin says:

    Great story and pictures. Congrats.