Greetings from rainy Addis Ababa. Rainy season has started–though it could be said that it never stopped when it should have last September! We had an amazing hail storm a couple weeks ago; the ground was covered with hail stones and the noise on the tin roof was deafening! As promised in my March update, I’m going to introduce you to my Ethiopian colleagues in this update. I thought I had pictures of all of them, but I don’t. And when I copied this from Word, the pictures didn’t copy, will have to work on that later.
Teddy Alemayheu is the Project Manager. He is a nurse and a social worker, and is now studying project management. He is an amazing person, extremely gifted in connecting with people. Many of our beneficiaries consider him to be their children’s “father” when they feel their kids need some male influence. He is my go-to person for difficult situations and we have a great working relationship.
Danny Abebe and Betty Tsedeke are the assistant project managers. Danny is responsible for the office in Bole. Danny was my translator on my first trip here 5 years ago, so he has had a special place in my heart. Betty is a social worker and finished her Master’s degree in Social Work last year. She works primarily in the Lideta office and helps me deal with difficult situations.
Achiso, Abebe and Desalegn are the nurses in the project. They keep track of the beneficiaries, teach classes on adherence and compliance to HIV medications, make home visits, fill prescriptions and treat minor illnesses. They keep me up to date on sick beneficiaries and we make home visits together. They are all in school to obtain their bachelor’s degree in nursing.
A’elef, Hawie, Tigist, are our community mobilization officers. They work closely with our women’s support groups, leading Bible studies and teaching the women to support each other through good times and bad. They also help to coordinate our monthly support distribution when all the beneficiaries show up to get rent money, soap, cooking oil and teff (the staple grain used to make injerra, the flat bread eaten here daily.)
Gizaw Meles coordinates all of our visiting medical teams, which is a huge job, especially this summer. He works closely with the Mission to the World office in Atlanta, getting all the professional information on the participants, gets them credentialed here, arranges transportation, accommodations, food and daily schedules, finances, and answers myriad questions. He is theologically trained and leads our Community Bible Study in each of the project offices.
Tsegaye works with the children and youth program and arranges for school uniforms and school fees for our 500 school aged children who are in many, many different schools. He also monitors report cards and works with our child sponsorship program and the men’s support group in Lideta.
Sammy Temesgen is a lab technician, who helps with lab work when we have visiting medical teams. He also makes home visits, helps to coordinate repairs on beneficiary homes and will soon be working with a TB case finding project.
Girma is our office manager in Lideta. He helps Bev with the finances, does payroll, and multiple other things everyday, like running the generator when we don’t have power.
Abeba, Bizaheyu, and Asnakech are our Expert Patients in the Lideta office. They are beneficiaries who have been trained to be peer counselors, because they were found to be managing their own health exceptionally well. They are each responsible for the all beneficiaries in a specific neighborhood and are our eyes and ears in the community. They know who is sick and needs a home visit, will go to the hospital or medical appointments with other beneficiaries to help advocate for them. They are great encouragements in my attempts to speak Amharic.
Genet and Bayoush are our cleaner and shopkeeper in Lideta. Genet keeps our office clean and makes us tea twice a day. Bayoush keeps all project donations except medications, organized and inventoried
So, since the last update, I completed language school in mid-April. I’m nowhere close to proficient in Amharic, but I work at it every day and understand and speak a bit more as the days go by. I try to study at lunch time several days a week.
Just after finishing language school, I went to South Africa for a week for a Mission to the World Eastern and Southern Africa retreat. We were in the Cape Town area, which was absolutely beautiful–ocean, beaches, vineyards.
I’ve been back to work full time since May. It is good to be back doing what I came here to do. I’ve been updating the charts in Lideta, making home visits, seeing beneficiaries in all the offices, occasionally attending community bible study in Lideta when the medical schedule allows, visiting hospitalized beneficiaries and coordinating the TB case finding project, which will be launched by the time you get this. And I’ve been busy preparing for our visiting medical teams coming during rainy season.
Outside of work, I’m keeping plenty busy, but space doesn’t allow me to elaborate much. I’m part of an Inter-Mission prayer meeting that meets weekly with missionaries from several different Christian mission agencies here in Ethiopia. I was part of a Bible Study Fellowship pilot class for 4 months which will resume in the fall. And my “2 year project” knitting a sweater is moving along quite well. I might even finish it in less time. Most of the time, it’s great for relaxing and unwinding.
Praise and Prayer items:
- Good relationships with my work colleagues.
- Faithful financial supporters that allow me to be here, doing what I love.
- Good terminal evaluation by the government of our last 3 year agreement. Pray that the submission of our new 3 year agreement would be viewed favorably.
- Two healthy babies have been born, with several more due soon.
- Renewed work permit for Andy and Bev Warren–it was touch and go for a few days.
- That our TB active case finding project would be useful to our project and government.
- Back-to-back medical teams from mid-June to mid-August–that I and my teammates would rest in God’s strength and not our own during these busy times.
- That our 3 summer interns, Kyle, Lindsay and Sarah would enjoy their work with the children and youth of the project and deepen their walk with Christ.
- Sick beneficiaries, particularly two children with AIDS and TB.
- A trip to the US from mid-October to early November, that plans for seeing family and friends would start to come together.
Thanks, as always, for your encouraging emails, letters, prayers and packages. It means a lot to have my “home team” behind me. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you when I’m home in the fall.