I have been working all night and so far I only have pictures from our first 2 or 3 days up. Feel free to check them out here.
They chronicle some of our time spent in Addis Ababa, where we prepared for our trip to Assosa by shopping for food and supplies. We stayed at the Axum Hotel, not too shabby, although we traveled to the Hilton to eat amazing food for a few lunches. We also ate at the Sheraton on our last night in Addis. I was not expecting to eat such great food. Too much. My stomach was not happy.
What else did we do in Addis? Visit churches! Doctors Giving Back was teamed up with another group from Colorado, called Touching Africa, made up of a pastor, Mike, (preached at churches during our time), his wife Anne (took care of feeding us in Assosa), their daughter, Tiffany (worked in the medical clinics and put on puppet shows for the children, their friend, Alice, (prayed with people at the medical clinics). Belizza, a sweet young singer who is very well known in Ethiopia was also apart of the group and she performed in the evenings during their services. Dan, a business man from Livermore who has been to Assosa 2 other times was apart of the medical team, but he also spoke at some of the churches. (I'll write more on my thoughts and feelings concerning this aspect of the trip when I have more time.)
No room to stand as 15 giant hockey bags filled with meds, toys, and shoes piled high in my hotel room at the Axum Hotel in Addis Ababa. We spent 5 days in Addis. The city was overflowing with out of work Ethiopians who fled their villages in hopes of a better life. People flock to our vans asking for food and money, children running after us as our van drives off into the crazy streets. Although I enjoyed my time with our van drivers, interpreters, and the children Imet, the people in the streets and their disapproving glares at me and my camera had me anxious for our plane to Asosa.
We set up the clinic on our first day in Asosa in a small building on the grounds of a Full Gospel Church. Then we were off to the Asosa Hospital for a tour. The Asosa Hospital, the only hospital around to serve the needs of roughly 1 million people in the region, runs on an annual budget of $64,000. Broken syringes scattered on the floor, rust stained walls, shattered windows, and pipes that no longer deliver water; the perfect location for a horror movie. We spent four nights at the hospital scrubbing the walls and applying "broken white #217" paint to 11 rooms. Two woman died in the hospital, along with their babies the previous week due to the lack of a doctor and resources to perform safe c-sections. John was painting with us on the third night. He hadn't performed a c-section in 15 years, but with no other option, as the rest of us returned to The Bamboo Paradise Hotel, after a long day of clinics and painting, John and his wife, nurse and founder of Doctor's Giving back, Jana, stayed behind and performed a successful c-section. It was Jana's birthday, and she thanked John for the best birthday present she'd ever received.