On October 29th, the doma medical team left for Ethiopia. The team consisted of 7 people – 1 nurse practitioner, 5 nurses, and a youth pastor. After a minor hang-up in the Orlando International Airport involving the police and unmarked vitamins, we were off! We arrived in Addis Ababa on October 30th around 7pm. We were greeted by Alli, our in-country host. We then quickly discovered that out of the 14 bags we checked, we were missing 6 of them – 4 of which contained the medications. Ugh. We also quickly learned that we would not be able to take any of the medications with us that night – we would need all bags to be there and then to be cleared by customs. Double ugh.
Once the medication situation was fixed and we had all our bags, we proceeded with the purpose of the trip – setting up primary care clinics in various locations. During our trip, we were able to see 530 people in these clinics in 4 different locations – in Addis Ababa (the capital city) and in southern Ethiopia. We were able to provide education to moms about infant/child development, feeding and caring for an infant/child, and ways to encourage growth and development. The moms loved the education and even asked us questions! It was wonderful! We were also able to provide education for the adults of the community about basic hygiene, proper lifting, and stretching (a lot of aches and pains!).
When we headed to southern Ethiopia, we learned just how beautiful Ethiopia is – breathtakingly beautiful. Once we were out of Addis and into the countryside, we were able to see green mountains, small huts, and children running and playing. Amazing.
Our final clinic location (Bora) was the most adventurous…we had to hike over 3 mountains for 3 hours at 10,000 feet elevation. Cars could not reach this village due to the lack of roads. Our luggage was strapped to mules and carried up the mountains. We set up our clinic on the top of one of the mountains – it was an incredible view! We did a half day of clinic and then we slept in one of the huts. For dinner, Israel (our guide) and I cooked spaghetti in the village “cooking hut”. We slept on banana leaves – snuggled together for warmth – as it was only 40˚F! It was an incredible experience – sleeping in a hut on top of a mountain in Ethiopia!
During this clinic, we saw a woman that desperately needs further help. After giving birth to 3 children, she has a prolapsed uterus – I will leave the details of this out but if you google it and find pictures, beware, not for weak stomachs. Surgery is the only way she can have this corrected – surgery in Addis, which is a 3 hour walk and an 11 hour drive away. She told us that she has no way of paying for the surgery or of getting to Addis. Doma has decided to help her. We need to raise $1,000 for her surgery, hospital stay, and travel to Addis. Will you help? You can make a donation right on doma’s website or mail a check in (made payable to doma, P.O. Box 21987, Columbus, OH 43221). Thank you in advance!
Ethiopia is a beautiful country and the people are so warm and friendly! Interested in joining us for another amazing experience? The next medical trip to Ethiopia will be April 14 – 26, 2010, and we are looking for team members!! We need nurses, non-medical people, and doctors/nurse practitioners/physician assistants. If you would like more information, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org