Korah / Alert Leprosy Hospital / KVI / 2000 Habesha for Emily’s Birthday
Today was again pretty similar than the last two days. For some reason we all agreed that there was far more screaming today. I don’t know if it was because there were more children or what, but it was another tough day. I was helping a 25-year-old guy today who happened to be right next to the window for both his shots and extraction. His friends were all right outside the window. As much as I think I was helping him by holding his hand (he was squeezing mine SO hard!), I think that added to the laughter of his friends. These guys are supposed to be so macho, but they are in extreme pain and they have these girls guiding them through the procedures. He was sweating profusely, and I’m sure he got an earful from his friends after they saw me wipe his brow while he recovered from getting his tooth pulled out. Oh well, I’m sure they all had a good laugh together once his pain subsided!
Luckily Mike and Pam Mycoskie joined us today. He is a physician and they are the parents of the man who started Toms shoes. We had two different incidences that we may not have gotten through without them. There was another 25-year-old guy that came in. After he got his shots, he was sitting next to Mike in the waiting area and just passed out on the floor. I saw it happening, but the part that was most noticeable was how hard his head hit the cement floor. Some people said he was having a seizure, but I’m still not sure exactly what happened. He was in rough shape for a little while, but we got some fresh water and some snacks in him and he ended up just fine. It turns out that he hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours because he had no food to eat. I’m not sure if he was more grateful for the two bananas and peanut butter crackers or the dentistry.
Later another mother and baby had come in to check the mother’s teeth. It turns out that the baby (only months old) had fallen into the fire (I’m guessing cooking fire?) and had severely burned her hand. We unwrapped the extremely dirty cloths wrapped around the baby’s hand and that’s when most of the people had to turn away. It was literally black and infected. Unfortunately, we had absolutely nothing to help her clean it (or no knowledge of how to do it). Pam was able to grab a taxi and bring the mother and child to a local clinic, and paid to get the wounds properly cleaned and dressed. The difference in how the hand was obviously striking and I can only imagine the long-term effects of that one small gesture.
We finished up the day at about 2 pm and headed to Alert Hospital, which is the main medical facility for Leprosy in Addis. The reason it is always a stop in the itinerary (we had come here when we came four years ago) is because these men and women with severely deformed hands make the most beautiful linens and crafts and sell it in a gift shop on the hospital grounds. Last time I came we bought tablecloths and napkins, etc, and this time I got a very cool wooden necklace and some Christmas ornaments. The women are SO happy to have visitors and to just hold your hand and have you help spin the yarn. One woman pointed to her friend sitting next to her and motioned that she was blind. She kept gesturing to me to kiss her blind friend’s cheeks. I think these people have little to no human contact. Just grabbing her head and kissing her two cheeks may have produced the biggest smile that I have encountered on this entire trip!
|Glenda learning how to spin the yarn|
After our busy day we all prepared for Emily’s 40th birthday celebration at 2000 Habesha, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. For some reason I haven’t had Ethiopian food for a long time (we don’t have many good options near us) and I was thinking that I didn’t like it. I was wrong – it was delicious! I had the benefit of going through the buffet line next to a native Ethiopian, so I managed to skip over the raw lamb and other things that didn’t really appeal to me, so that might have saved me. Normally I find the injera (the spongy, sour, pancake-like bread that also serves as your utensils) to taste too much of vinegar, but this was so good. Luckily, it is totally acceptable (and expected) for you to sop up every last drop of your meal with the bread because it would have been hard not to!
We were entertained by traditional Ethiopian dancing, which involves moves that don’t seem physically possible (especially for the neck) and the attempt at traditional Ethiopian dancing by many of our teammates. All kidding aside, anyone who got up in front of everyone did a great job and I’m just glad they took one for the team (Matt included!). We all got to sing to Emily as her birthday cake arrived with candles that seemed more like full-on bottle rockets! Many of the men (ok, and women) were awed by the presence of Liya Kebede, a supermodel in the US that is originally from Ethiopia, who joined us for dinner. It was kind of funny to see everyone wanting pictures with her – she was so gracious and a great sport!
|Tamara, Holli, Glenda and I on our way to the birthday feast|
|Carys & Matt|
|Happy Birthday Em!|
|Our incredibly gracious hosts - Emily & Moody|
Anyway, after lots of fun, we all went home to crash and prepare for the last few days.