On Friday, September 11th Ethiopia began its new year. They are on a different calendar so it is 2002 in Ethiopia! It makes it very interesting when we are trying to do reporting. Plus, there is a six hour difference in time. So, if we have missed anyone’s birthday or other special date… sorry… we are 7 years and 6 hours behind you. 🙂
Today (Sept 20) is Eid ul-Fitr the conclusion of Ramadan which is the Islamic month of fasting. Participating Muslims don’t eat, drink or smoke from dawn until sunset. Many Muslims don’t even swallow their saliva during Ramadan. We have had a lot of spitting patients at the clinic! This morning we were woken up by canons being fired announcing the end of Ramadan. We don’t completely understand it, but somehow the end of Ramadan isn’t known exactly until the day of – so no one knew of the holiday would be today or tomorrow until the canons went off at 6 am. Then the parades began!
There were hundreds of beggars in the street. This particular man just broke our hearts. We was obviously crippled and he had placed his mat right in the middle of the parade, so the people had to march “over” him. Below are chronological pictures…
We were also struck by the enormous amount of disabled people that are out and about in Addis.
On a lighter note, we enjoyed hosting “Team Ridiculum”, a team of six women from Texas and Tennessee. They were so much fun and we pretty much laughed for 10 days straight – therapy for our souls. When they got here, they announced all of the ministries they were capable of… dishwashing ministry, joke ministry, spanking ministry, fridge cleaning ministry, painting ministry… and so much more! What talent. Two of the girls (Jenny and Jodie) are pediatric nurses, so they were invaluable at the clinic. None of us at the clinic specialize in pediatrics, so we learned a lot from them. Another one of them (Miranda) is a child life specialist and we asked her to spend some time at Manna Abdii assessing the babies and observing how the caregivers worked with the babies. Miranda also hosted an inservice for all of the Manna Abdii employees and taught them some new ideas of what to do with the babies to help them developmentally. Michelle, an amazing photographer, spent a lot of time with Hannah teaching her the art of photo taking. Hannah loved every minute of it. Justine focused on helping us get our house organized. Amanda pitched in wherever he was needed. It was wonderful to have so many helping hands. They even got to do a drama on hygiene for the opening ceremony of the first outhouse in the community that Laura (the community health nurse here) helped build. Pretty hilarious – milk duds as a prop for “poop” – you can imagine…
When “Team Ridiculum” was here, we wanted to give them the full cultural experience, so we asked one of our local friends to give them a donkey cart ride to go get sugar cane. Together, everyone was too heavy, so we took turns riding. Moses also got to drive the donkey cart which he absolutely loved. We bought sugar cane and hung around talking to the locals while we ate.
Miranda figured out why Bedatu (from Manna Abdii) had been failing to thrive for so long – she can’t swallow liquids! Miranda quickly got her on some thickened food and now she is thriving and catching up after not gaining weight for almost 10 months. Thank you Miranda!
E – (thiopia) Harmony
Team Ridiculum has asked us to take advantage of our blog-viewing audience in a desperate attempt to get them dates. We have included photos and profiles of these lovely women. If you are interested in finding out more, please email us and we will take it from there. (firstname.lastname@example.org) A small “matching fee” may be charged…
Name: Miranda (aka Chewy)
Profession: Child Life Specialist
Likes: good teeth and Jesus
Dislikes: bad teeth and Satan (and bowling)
Best Quality: eyes and sense of humor
Requirements: must be breathing w/o assistance, not living with mommy, God fearing, funny (but not funny looking)
Interests: traveling, sarcasm
Favorite book: I Kissed Dating Good-bye
Dowry: none required!!
Name: Jenny (from the block)
Likes: yoga, yogurt, ice cream, volleyball
Best Quality: intelligence, all-American
Requirements: tall, has a job, bald by choice, uses deodorant
Interests: baking, dogs
Favorite book: How to Get Married Before you Die
Dowry: one donkey
Name: Jodie (aka The Quicker Picker Upper)
Likes: her therapist, carrots, Brawny paper towels
Dislikes: sleep apnea machines, head lice, men in white pants
Best Quality: risk-taker, ability to laugh at self
Requirements: tall, large and in-charge
Interests: reading self-help books, hunting warthogs
Favorite book: He’s Just Not That Into You
Dowry: two warthogs
Name: Amanda (aka Tex-Mex)
Likes: crying, sleeping, purple popsicles
Dislikes: tomatoes, hairy backs
Best Quality: easy-going spirit, patience
Requirements: must love Enya, tall enough to ride rides at Six Flags
Interests: Panchos (the restaurant), camping, lawn darts
Favorite book: Everybody Poops
Dowry: two burros
Profession: Video Producer
Likes: spanks (aka girdle), puddle jumping, all-you-can-eat buffets, fanny packs
Dislikes: flies, halitosis, gingivitis
Best Quality: ability to jump high
Requirements: practically perfect in every way
Interests: photography, beaches, sunsets, dogs
Favorite book: It’s Called a Breakup Because it’s Broken
Dowry: one horse and one dog
Likes: watching football, riding motorcycles
Dislikes: shopping, spending money, being late, asking for directions
Best Quality: pretty much perfect
Requirements: must like skydiving and wakeboarding
Favorite Reading Material: Sports Illustrated
Dowry: too late – she’s taken
We had a great visit with our good friends Mike and Heather Hall. It was so great to be able to catch up with them and introduce them to our life in Ethiopia.
We took Mike and Heather to Tayiba’s hut for a coffee ceremony which was a total blast. Remember the ongoing story of the card for Challa? Well, Allyson thought it would be great to bring Tayiba an example of an American greeting card… but then she thought it would be even funnier to bring a musical card. It was hilarious! Allyson brought up the subject of greeting cards again and told Tayiba she had brought one to show her. She handed it to Tayiba and as soon as Tayiba opened up the card and the music started, she screamed, threw the card on the dirt floor and ran out of her hut. Then she was peeking in from the outside as some of the other people inside were trying out the card. It was a card Melanie had sent us that played the “Chicken Dance”… so, of course, in the end we had to teach them the chicken dance. What a hoot!
The morning we were all leaving to drive Mike and Heather back to Addis, Allyson looked out the kitchen window and saw Mike outside barfing! Poor guy hurled all the way up to Addis – a 5 hour ride! Every once in a while he would motion, Shane would pull over and Mike would get out and throw up surround by a bunch of curious Ethiopians. Sorry, Mike, but it was pretty funny – at least in hindsight. Judging by the pictures below, maybe he just had a little too much fun…
In our “Then and Now” blog, we told you about the history of our station and the story of the Beuheidel family who helped start Camp Langano. Andrea Beuheidel, wife and mother of 3, died while serving here. Her daughter, Priscilla, came back to serve as an intern at camp this summer. It was wonderful to be able to get to know Priscilla and to be a part of her journey to reconnect with her past. Priscilla’s mom died when Priscilla was only 5 years old, so Priscilla has very little memories of her. Throughout the summer, people in the Langano community were excited to hear that Priscilla was here. They all had such great memories of her family. We asked Priscilla what she would think if we organized a get-together for people in the community to come give her a “gift of words”, a time of sharing memories of the Beuheidel family, and especially memories of her mother. She was really excited about the idea and her dad ended up surprising her and showing up for the meeting. Many people from the community came and shared their stories of how they had been impacted by this family and their sacrifice. It was a very special time for all of us. For Priscilla and her dad, it was a wonderful time of reconnecting with the community. For the rest of us, it was just such a special time of encouragement. It just felt like such a privilege to be serving at Langano in the wake of such an amazing family.
A quick review of the past month…
-Sports Friends Camps have ended and we sure are tired! The last week of camp we finally got a working generator! So much for timing. The camp cook, Yeshi, did an excellent job and pretty much saved our bacon. The kids have really enjoyed speaking in Amharic with her while helping in the kitchen.
-Dan and Kim Scheel are back, so Allyson’s work at the clinic should become more manageable for a little while until Dan and Kim leave again in December – HELP! It is wonderful to have them back. Langano doesn’t feel quite the same without them.
-Shane ran over his first goat a few weeks ago. The brakes (and horn) went out in the car on his way to Arsi Negelle. A baby goat ran out in front of him and there was nothing he could do, but try to avoid him with the tires. He had about 400 Ethiopians in the car with him so as soon as he hit the goat he stopped and everyone piled out of the car. Then about 400 more Ethiopians surrounded them. There were two delegations – one was petitioning on Shane’s behalf (mostly guards/ teachers that work at Langano – his posse) that it was an accident and the other delegation serving as intermediaries between Shane and the owner of the goat. Shane’s posse kept saying the goat was only injured since his legs were twitching and his eyes were moving. They kept trying to lift the goats head to prove their point, but since it was unconscious its head would just flop back to the ground. They would then try to stand the goat up and hold it legs in place, but as soon as they let go it would collapse. It was pretty absurd. The other faction was arguing that the goat would not live. The issue was solved when one of them pulled out a knife and slaughtered the goat right there beside the road. It was definitely not alive after that. Shane finally told his guys to talk the owner of the goat directly and pay him whatever he wanted so they could go. The owner said it was an accident and that he wouldn’t take any money. This is very unusual that they would not demand payment. The intermediaries insisted we give them money since they did a good job of calming him down. It was ridiculous, but one of the Ethiopians with Shane started fearing for his safety so Shane paid them 10 Birr (about $1). They then completed the trip with no brakes (using only the emergency brake)- going to the health office, the local market, plumbing stores, bread store, soda store, and about 15 local shops looking for ajax. Thankfully the goat was the only casualty.
-We got a knock at our door early one morning. One of the guards had found a baby baboon and he had brought it to our house for the kids! Can you say rabies? Of course, we didn’t let our kids hold it, but they did enjoy the up close encounter! The little guy was awfully cute. Eventually, the guard was able to reintroduce him to a troop of baboons as they passed through later that morning.
-Remember MuluAlem, one of the nurses at the clinic and our good friend? Her mother came for a visit from the states and ended up dying about 6 weeks after she got here. As she was dying, her mother expressed her concerns about MuluAlem living in such a remote place and asked MuluAlem to please resign from her job. Ethiopian culture is interesting in so many ways, and there is much to be learned from their values. Even though MuluAlem loved her job and really felt called to be here at Langano, her mom had asked her to quit, so she did. While we understand the obligation she had to her mother, we are also very sad to have lost a great nurse and friend. MuluAlem has been invaluable in our learning of the Oromo people and their cultural practices.
-Allyson got called down to the clinic for an emergency in the middle of the night. It was a 7 year old girl with malaria. Her father and uncle had walked over 5 miles in the pouring rain in the middle of the night to get her to the clinic. Allyson tried everything she could, but within 45 minutes, the little girl had died. The father just sat in the room with his head in his hands crying. It was so frustrating to Allyson to have such limited language to be able to comfort this man and explain to him some of what happened. Thank goodness, hugs and a gentle touch translate in both cultures. After wrapping up the little girl’s body, the father and uncle stayed with the little girl in the inpatient room until morning when Allyson drove them back home. Driving up to a hut with a patient who has died will always make our hair stand on end. The family instantly knows that when a car drives up to their house after they have sent someone to the clinic, it’s a bad sign. The minute the family sees the car they start wailing and people in the community just start streaming in from everywhere. It is so surreal. Life is very raw here.
-Both Hannah and Mia had been begging Allyson to take them to a delivery, but with most of the deliveries being at night, it hadn’t worked out. A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, Allyson got called to a delivery, so it was the perfect time to let the girls come. They were so excited. At first they both wanted to be involved in every part, so Allyson had them agree that this time, Mia could help with the delivery and Hannah could help clean and dress the baby afterwards. Then the next time, they would switch roles. So, Mia got her gloves on and got down on the floor with Allyson to do the delivery while Hannah sat in the background and watched. Allyson could hear all these sound effects coming from Hannah… “uh… oh my… yuck… eeew… uck!.” Just then the baby delivered and Allyson was giving the scissors to Mia to cut the cord and Hannah says, “Mia doesn’t want to do it!!”. Mia nodded hear head that, yes, she wanted to do it, so the deed was done. As soon as the baby was “disconnected”, Hannah went over to start her work on the baby. It lasted all of about 10 seconds. Hannah tried to put on the little hat, started breathing really deeply, said she was stepping outside, and by the time she got to the door, she announced she was headed home! When Allyson got home, Hannah said the entire way home she was praying that she wouldn’t pass out. Lunch and dinner were hard for Hannah that day! So… Hannah doesn’t beg to go to deliveries anymore and she is pretty much convinced that she never wants to do anything medical!
Allyson with a labor patient.
Shane and Jake fixing a generator YET AGAIN!
Hannah and her friend Marta.
A very scary lion…
Allyson assessing a patient with an unknown illness.
Hannah and Shane hanging out with Bedatu at our house.
Moses with his friends Abiti, Timeskin, and Daniel. (Moses is the one holding the bird – he kind of blends in, doesn’t he?)
Allyson doing a sonogram with Mia at the clinic.
Gemedi – a patient at the clinic that is 16 years old and weighs less than 30 pounds! Pray for him. We are trying to get him healthy enough for an orphanage to accept him into their program.
-In our last blog, we offered for you to ask questions and promised to answer them in our next blog. We only got one question… from our friend Dr. Jim in Uganda… so Jim, your question was “How are you doing spiritually during all of this time?” Thanks for asking! We think we are doing well, but at the moment we are completely exhausted and kind of numb from surviving the whole summer and its craziness. We definitely have a new dependence on God and we are learning to trust Him to meet our needs every day. Since we are unsure where we will be after our two year term we are having to just trust Him one day at a time. We are not sure if we will extend our term, head back home, or something else. It’s a stretch for us since we have historically been planners. We know we are at God’s mercy, we are just anxiously awaiting guidance about where we are to be next. More than anything, we want to be in His will. Figuring that out can be hard!
We will leave you with a few quotes from the past month:
Allyson – “That was a great delivery except for the demon possession.”
Moses – “If you tickle a chicken under its wings will it laugh?”
One of our children whose chooses to remain anonymous – “Once I had diarrhea and I sneezed.”
Shane: “I was chatting with Yeshi (our cook who only speaks Amharic) and telling her how surreal it is that camps are over.” (Shane doesn’t speak Amharic)
Allyson: “Wow, how did you ever communicate that deep thought?”
Shane: “I said ‘No people.’”
Patient at the clinic – “I am worried because I have a case of yellow urine.”
Labor patient at the clinic when asked how long she had to push with her last delivery – “4 days.”
Mia (in the middle of watching a tooth extraction at the clinic): “Mom, I think I have a fly in my throat. It feels funny when I swallow.”
Mom: “Are you sure it’s a fly? You’re probably about to pass out! Quick, sit down!!”
Mia: “Well… I thought it was a fly, but I think you’re right.” (as she turns white as a ghost)