Windows down, hot air plastering dust over smiles, the traffic is chaos with horns blaring as we pull into the city of Addis Ababa. We have returned to Ethiopia. Danny, our taxi driver, shouts over the mix of local hip-hop and Michael Jackson, inviting us to a bunna bet or coffee ceremony at his sisters café.
Soaking in the bustle of morning, a chaotic paradise surrounded by mountains and high risers. Goats awaiting fate with their brethren chickens anchored by the side of the road. Christian and Muslim families alike make their way through the city. So begins our journey.
Stumbling over broken Amharic, laughter erupts from all sides as we try to assimilate our ferengi smiles into warm and welcoming crowds. The faces seem familiar as we return to our old hotel.
Last night in Addis, dinner was shared with old and new friends from Gimbi. Jay was excited to hear about the Street Boys he spent so much time with. The Podoconiosis project he filmed lives on and many of the first patients now have normal size legs, ankles and feet. We spent hours talking about medicine, Africa, the pros and cons of humanitarian efforts and the realities of poverty. I am exhilarated to be back, where my passion for medicine and Africa fuse, this is where I belong.
The roosters have been crowing, waking before the sun, bringing the city slowly to life. Our Ethiopian coffee sludge awaits, I must remember to ask for bunna weuteut, coffee with milk.
Nine months ago we left Gimbi Hospital in Western Ethiopia with a desire to return and further our volunteer efforts. Since then we have joined forces with Joni Kabana and Dr. Philippa Ribbink in FootSteps to Healing. Our purpose is multiple, including volunteering for four weeks in Northern Ethiopia with the Mota Governmental Hospital teaching Emergency Obstetrical Services to local doctors, health officers and mid wives. Jay and Joni area heading south to the Omo Valley to document the tribal medical facilities and services, as well working on a film project for Merci Corps.
We are thankful to everyone who has donated to FootSteps to Healing, Darcelle’s raised over $5000 and combined with other efforts we now have over $ 11,000, nearing our goal.