I know it’s only been a few days since my last blog but I wanted to share some pretty heartwarming experiences I’ve had over the last two days.
I hope you enjoyed the lighter side of life in Ethiopia which I highlighted in my last entry. I ask your forgiveness again this week, as I will postpone my assessment of the healthcare system to share the amazing efforts of a woman whom I am proud to call my friend and colleague, Aadde Obse Lubo. Most of you already know who she is and her work in Nejo but I feel it on my heart to show my admiration of her accomplishments and goals. Not to worry, after she returns to the States, Obse herself will be sharing her experiences from the Medical Relief Foundation project in Nejo, but with her permission, I will divulge tidbits from our recent lunch together. Enjoy!
Listening to Obse talk about the medical project in Nejo filled me with a sense of excitement I’m pretty sure I haven’t felt since the 2008 U.S. presidential election. “When someone tells me an item is in stock and not to worry about it…I ask them to take me and show me where it is to make sure it is really there,” said Obse explaining some of the uncomfortable encounters she’s had. Wow, I thought, this woman means business. The only word I can think of to describe her vision, ambition and dedication is amazing.
For those of you who don’t know Obse, she is a registered nurse from the U.S. who over the past three years has come to Ethiopia first to volunteer her skills and most recently to coordinate the delivery of medical supplies to Nejo hospital.
On a recent Thursday, we sat together over lunch, with another friend, and shared stories from our hospital experiences but something was different from my conversations with others. It was hope. I sat in awe listening to her speak with such conviction and so genuinely that it truly restored my faith in hard work, progress, and change.
Next in line is the development of the Nejo Diagnostic and Imaging Center which Obse announced on her Facebook page. As it stands now, any patient needing diagnostic imaging more sophisticated than x-ray must travel to Finfinnee to obtain such services. Depending on the patient’s illness this kind of lengthy travel can be dangerous in countless ways. The establishment of such a facility will prove to be beneficial for towns even as far as Gidami. Please stay tuned for information about fundraising and updates, as this will surely be a large effort and require all hands on deck.
Along the same lines of Obse’s work, I learned yesterday about two physicians from Denver, CO who are arriving in the country tomorrow for the last leg of what has been an awesome feat. The children of former missionaries in Dembi Dollo, these doctors have headed up a two-year task to organize donors, collect equipment and ship fifty…yes, 5-0, containers of medical equipment to Dembi Dollo Hospital via Project C.U.R.E. I stood overcome with emotion as I viewed the inventory list: OR tables…3, gurneys…..7, etc . According to the coordinator of the project from the Dembi side, a supply of this magnitude has not come to the hospital in some thirty years, since it was taken over by the government.
Well folks, this is what I’ve learned – that amidst the darkness of poverty, injustice and misfortune – there are beacons of hope. Shining through, illuminating the path for others, those like Obse and the doctors from Colorado are slowly initiating change and making believers out of those they cross paths with. Seeing the living conditions and understanding the complex social situations here is more than easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed but if we humanitarians stand together for a better future, persist and never lose hope, it will inevitably come.
On a personal note, I am incredibly grateful to Obse for being an inspiration not only to those she is helping in her community but to our community as a whole that anything is possible with determination, without fear and with the help of God.
Stay tuned for my next blog about Ethiopia’s healthcare system, medical education and plans for the reformation of both.
Other series from Observations from ‘the Motherland’ blog :
Part I : http://bit.ly/txnj1r
Part II : http://bit.ly/rtJdQS
Part III: http://bit.ly/tfe0cX