PictureAfter a multi-media devotion led by Cindy and a nourishing breakfast of scrambled eggs, mango and Ethiopian doughnuts -- yes, doughnuts -- the team leapt into the bus for our final full clinic day. Today’s destination was the SIM project office in Lideta, the nerve-center for the Addis-based HIV/AIDS care and treatment project.

PictureWe arrived in Lideta to one of Addis’s regularly scheduled power outages. However, thanks to a donation from MPPC after our 2008 trip, a generator was available to power our laboratory, so patient care didn’t miss a beat. The generator also allowed us to dip our toes ever so gingerly back into the world of email for the first time since leaving the USA. It felt a bit like eating my first big ice-cream sundae in a year: mmmm good.

Today’s patients skewed elderly. We met some remarkably hearty and hale 70-somethings and even the occasional octogenarian. Amidst the “I ache all over” sort of complaints common to primary care everywhere, we encountered significant pathology of the sort not found in Menlo Park. For example, the child with inability to move one eye laterally (we’re hoping to fund corrective surgery) and a young woman unable to walk: X-ray reveals an invasive lesion destroying the pelvis and hip – probably undiagnosed tuberculosis.

PictureWe enjoyed the usual Wynshet-supplied four star picnic lunch followed by the now expected macchiato dessert at a café across the street. Afternoon clinic wrapped early – a first -- so we even had an hour to leg it down the street to browse for souvenirs.

Tonight we are packing and preparing for a move. The morning will bring our last clinic, a half-day in Lideta. At Noon we’ll be joined by our returning Dessie teammates for lunch and a visit to the Fistula Hospital (details in tomorrow’s update). Then we move to a larger guesthouse for a day and a half of retreat to decompress and absorb all that we’ve experienced. Friday night we’ll begin the 9000 mile journey back to the states.

Time has flown by this trip. We are blessed to have a great team, wonderful Ethiopian colleagues, and beloved family and friends back home praying for us.

See you soon.


Celebration meal in DessieOur team woke up this morning for our final day of health screening in Dessie with another bright morning but no water or electricity.  This is the second day of our stay without electric power, and the second day in a row without water.  However, our Hope Enterprise hosts trucked in water last night so that most of us could take showers and for cooking, and our Hope hosts have once again set up a portable generator to provide power for our medical equipment.  We will see what happens later today.  The story we have gotten is that the main pump for the water system in this part of Dessie is broken.  It is not clear how soon a replacement pump can be installed or repairs made to the current one.

Following our day of screening, we plan to hold a “celebration” meal tonight with our local interpreters and medical team mates. They all have worked hard; we anticipate that we will have screened over two hundred children during these final two days in Dessie.

More Celebrating in DessieTomorrow morning we are scheduled to fly back to Addis Ababa to join those members of our team who stayed in the capital to provide medical care and home visits.  Our entire team plans to spend our final two days in Ethiopia at a retreat site in Addis sharing our experiences and preparing for our reentry into US culture and life.  The contrast will be dramatic, and part of our hearts will remain in Dessie with these precious little children who, despite their lack of good nutrition and creature comforts, exhibit an incredible joy.  Nevertheless, it has been hard for us to see the chronic wasting, stunted growth, and sickness that so many of them experience due to malnutrition and lack of good hygiene.  It has been a humbling experience, but we trust that the Lord has allowed us to give them hope for a better physical and spiritual life through medical attention, our sharing of God’s Good News, and our love!

We thank all of you have prayed for us, and we look forward to sharing with you in person!  Because of the lack of power and internet connectivity, we have not been able to share as many pictures with you via this website as we had hoped.  We promise to do that upon our return.