Note: Team 2 has made it safely to Ethiopia! They will be joining Team 1 at Project Mercy tomorrow before Team 1 starts their journey home.
Well, today we wrapped up an amazing week and a half at the hospital, and as usual, I did not want to leave. We have been able to work with a wonderful group of doctors, nurses and environmental staff, and we have cared for the most grateful and genuinely happy patients. The relationships we have built with the staff culminated in a coffee ceremony tonight after work. We were able to spend the last few hours with them talking, laughing and taking many pictures…and, of course, drinking wonderful coffee and eating snacks.
As a new member of the Ethiopia team I have been able to witness the great mutual respect between the returning members and the hospital staff. I can say wholeheartedly I am proud to be a part of this team that has laid such a strong relationship foundation. I did not just sit back and watch these relationships, but I jumped right in too! I did NOT want to miss out on the fun. And, boy did I have fun! If you know me, you probably know my laugh. I believe it was heard often mingled with the hospital staff, usually due to my poor Amharic as I tried and tried to get it right. Dr. Fekadu and his wife, Tigi, were often in and out of the recovery room, and we were able to have many conversations and English/Amharic lessons; one very hilarious one included all of us trying to say the English tongue twister: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. And then Rosie adding: How many peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Awel, one of our environmental services staff in the OR came in often in his soft-spoken way and his big smile to practice his English and ask us questions. Some consisted of what was our favorite American food and what kind of food is grown in the US. He even came in on his day off on Monday to say hello!
Zegebra and Kalu, OR nurses were always offering big smiles, laughter at our Amharic attempts and saying the simple words we just could NOT get, over and over again. Their patience and kindness was much appreciated.
Belay is also an OR nurse. She was a quiet woman, but always so kind and helpful, especially when I had no idea what I was looking for in the OR supply room! She also prepared for and performed the coffee ceremony for us. The team remembers her doing this last year as well. She was so sweet to go to all the work for us and so humble in accepting our thanks for it.
I don’t think our work here would have been as successful without Senait, the new volunteer nurse administrator for the hospital or without our interpreters Beza and Tesfaye. They have all answered our many Amharic and cultural questions, helped to bridge the English-Amharic gap with staff and patients and have just been a joy to work alongside. We truly count them as our team members.
There are so many special moments with the staff and with the patients, too many to write here. I hope, God willing, I am able to return with Global Partners again next year to continue the great work Project Mercy and the hospital are doing for this community and to build on the relationships we have started. My prayer is God will unite us again here in Ethiopia, but in the meantime that He will keep us healthy, focused on the work He has called us to and on Him who loves these people so much He gave His life for them.
As a side note, I did ask that since my Amharic is so good (I am pretty much fluent) if I could stay for another 6 months. Tigi thought it was a good idea, but Zegebra didn’t think that was a good idea, and she said I couldn’t stay with her! Ha! Well, I have a year to work on the 10 words I know and I will dazzle them next year!!
See you all soon!