African odyssey

Locally-based grassroots organization Motherland International Relations has an impressive roster of goals:

“• To facilitate educational community-based programs in West and East Africa that support sustainability through agricultural and appropriate technologies.
• To organize educational programs focusing on the history and culture of Africa and the Diaspora.
• To establish, maintain and support resource centers in North Carolina, Ghana and Ethiopia for area residents and visitors.
• To provide economic assistance through scholarships for Motherland International Relation’s program participants.”

This year, Motherland International Relations is in the process of raising $34,000 to sustain the14-month African residency of co-directors Christopher Keiser-Liontree and Debra Kiliru-Liontree.

The Liontrees, along with their two daughters, will travel to Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia where they’ll work on projects including: Documenting and collaborating with Aprotech “to increase access to appropriate technology tools, training and income generating programs”; “volunteer with Heritage Academy in the classroom, on the soccer field and with their new agriculture program”; and building a “700 gallon water cistern at an orphanage and school for HIV+ youth.”

The Liontree family writes, “We will be sharing our story as we venture into the next chapter of our lives. We live with our daughters daughters Jahniya and Ondessa and our two cats Coco and Zazu (aka Mango) in the North Carolina mountains. As Co-Directors of MIR, we are getting ready to embark on a quest. Starting in July 2012, we will live in Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia for 14 months. We will be working, growing, building and collaborating in community. We welcome you on this journey that will not only write the next chapter of Motherland International Relations work in the world, but will also be an inspiring experience for our family.”

More information about Motherland International Relations’ programs can be found here and here. Follow the Liontrees’ journey here and donate to their project here.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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