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.