News / The Homeland

‘Zemene’ tells tale of survival and hope for Ethiopian girl

By GAIL ROSENBLUM,  StarTribune    MAY 15, 2015

Melissa Donovan, Zemene Tiget, Dr. Rick Hodes and Tiget’s uncle, Menormelkam Endashew. (Eduardo Patino)

“Do good stuff.”

I don’t know if Dr. Rick Hodes contemplated before he crafted this succinct response, or if his generous words rolled out like a mantra.

I’m betting on the latter.

It was 1:45 a.m. in Ethiopia, 7,600 miles away, when the good doctor answered my first question — What is our optimal objective on this planet? — plus a few more via e-mail from his small home office.

There’s little time to contemplate, or sleep, when you’re Hodes, medical director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, recipient of four honorary degrees, adoptive father of five young men and the subject of a biography and three documentary films, including the affecting, award-winning “Zemene,” which will make you want to do good stuff.

The movie, which follows the lifesaving transformation of an Ethiopian girl born with a devastating spine deformity, will be shown in Minneapolis on Sunday at a fundraiser for the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Pathways to Children.

Hodes joins the film’s star, Zemene Tiget, for a question-and-answer session, followed by a live auction and dinner. The public is invited.

Pathways was founded in 2008 by Grace Strangis, who partners with reputable organizations in Ethiopia, India and Colombia to improve the education, health and job prospects of children and their mothers.

Read the full story on StarTribune

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Copyright © 2015 StarTribune

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