The Konso location was chosen for the second school because Scott Batie & Amy Batie found out the birth mother of two of their adopted children lives in the village of Lehaite.
On a mission to help educate children, two Tahlequah residents traveled over 8,000 miles to a small village in Ethiopia.
John Yeutter and Pam Moore went with Rise Up Inc. founder Scott Batie to the community of Konso to break ground on a school there.
“Konso is kind of like ‘Muskogee’: It’s a region, a language a tribal culture, and the main village is also called Konso. There are nine clans,” said Yeutter, an associate professor of accounting at Northeastern State University.
Rise Up is a Tahlequah-based nonprofit started three years ago by Batie, a Hulbert Elementary School teacher, and his wife, Amy, a Cherokee Elementary School teacher. The mission of Rise Up is to provide “educational spaces, opportunities, and learning resources to rural, developing, and indigenous communities around the world,” according to riseuped.org. The group has already completed one school in Ghana.
The Konso location was chosen for the second school because the Baties found out the birth mother of two of their adopted children lives in the village of Lehaite. She had given up two of her five children after their father was killed in a car accident and she could not afford to take care of them all.
“I generally travel alone. I was happy they went along. The winter and fall were pretty stressful. John and Pam ended up being my saving grace,” said Batie. “It was a super-emotional trip.”
Yeutter is the treasurer for Rise Up and he
invited Moore to accompany him to Africa. He didn’t even have a passport when he decided to go.
On the airplane, they were each allowed a carry-on bag, and two bags weighing 50 pounds or less. One of the 50-pound bags was packed with their personal belongings, while the other was filled with donations – shirts, shoes, school supplies, deflated soccer balls, and soccer uniforms. The soccer uniforms were donated by Tahlequah High School soccer coach Greg Hall, Northeastern State University women’s soccer coach Chase Wooten, and MTSC United in Tulsa.