Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas Greetings from Ethiopia

The 2005 Xmas Mother and Baby
I had a really interesting day on Sunday. For a start, I wasn’t woken during the night, and when I went to the Ward Round there were plenty of people waiting to go, but no problems. So I went home and was reading my Kindle in the sun when Ibrahim turned up. Hes the young man from a poor but hard working family that lives over the fence from the hospital – he has a beautiful smile, and I mentioned him in a post last year when  he shared the bread I gave him with an even more poverty stricken old man, saying to me “He is poor person”. We chatted in the sun for a while – his English is poor but we manage – then he said he had to go and when I asked why he said “to take cows for water”. This sounded like fun so I asked if I could come with him, and of course he said yes. His family own half a dozen ox – one is a mother with a one year old calf, - plus a mule, and with the help of Ibrahims whip we moved them across a field of recently harvested teff to a waterhole half a mile away. Two small kids, a scruffy boy and girl followed, each carrying a rough basket on their backs – they were looking for animal dung and when we came across some, they  scraped it into a ball and added it to their basket.
Looking for dung for the home fire
On the way back a family of six girls went by, each with a large and heavy container of water on their backs – they had collected it from the river and were trudging barefoot back to their house in the village. Such hard work – but they were cheerful and friendly.
 Taking water home from the River
Later still I had coffee ceremony with Shewaye and her mother and two sisters, and a couple of neighbours who dropped in, and for a special I treat bought the two little ones an ice block, called Beredu, theyre sort of home made frozen cordial on a stick and cost about 1 cent each!
Tigiste ended up with two somehow.
From their place I continued on to the Sports ground to watch a game of soccer between the Hospital Team and the Team from the Health Centre. We lost four Nil. It was a wild game with a lot of what I would  call “smash and hope” with huge kicks of the ball which often headed for the moon, and not a great deal of passing and tactical running but it was entertaining. For most of the time I was there a small crowd of boys surrounded me staring, with the occasional brave one who would say “What is your name?” or ”What is the time” Every so often an adult passing by would wave a stick or shout at them and shoo them away but they would slowly creep back and encircle me again. They didn’t watch the game – they just stared at me!
The game started later than it had been supposed to, so half way through the second half when we were down 3 Nil I decided to head back to the hospital – and just as I got there I had an urgent call about a baby in distress needing help. We did a straightforward forceps and the baby was fine, so I came home and chopped up one of my pieces of chicken, fried it with onions, tomatoes and cabbage and some ginger, and ate it with boiled rice. Afterwards I had two lollies for desert.
Great kids! 


  1. Once again we are treated to reading about the different ways of the world, and how different they are! Keep these interesting posts coming David.
    Merry Xmas.

  2. Hi David!
    I'm doing a research project about maternal welfare in Ethiopia and would love to ask some questions about your work and what you think are the major issues with the matter today.

    Please email me if you are interested (
    Best regards