I’m sitting here watching the World Cup sipping a beer… not too bad. The last few days have been nothing short of a whirlwind. The trip over was relatively uneventful aside from Kate’s swollen ankles and lots of salty airplane food. When we landed in Gondar we were greeted by Dr. Getahun’s warm smile in his gray Toyota, which carried us to our place of residence for the next three months. After being wowed by the beauty of the countryside, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our apartment along with the presence of running water and flushing toilets! On our first night we met up with Nancy and Peggy, the co-directors of SCOPE, for a meal and a drink. We, not surprisingly slept very well that night.
Our first full day began at 8 a.m. with a meeting at the University of Gondar Hospital. After meeting Peggy and Nancy we sat Dr. Sisay’s office to discuss financial matters. I floated through the rest of the morning until we met with a group of interested parties from the University of Gondar in the afternoon. This was when the excitement hit. My enthusiasm became hard to contain when we arrived at the Woleka clinic and received a tour from Dagne, the clinic administrator. Walking through the exam rooms and finishing in the birthing room, I had to remind myself that there would be time for all of my burning questions.
The last few days have been filled with meetings, meals and more thoughts than could ever be put on paper. My mind is still reeling as I attempt to digest all that I have seen, heard and felt. In the end I am unbelievably thankful to be here. I found myself thinking, I wish that I had 6 months instead of just 3. Tomorrow we will visit a second SCOPE site and then head out to visit a Food for the Hungry project in rural Gaiynt on Sunday. Now, it’s time for sleep so I can put my full energies toward tomorrow’s activities.
Dagne showing us the flip chart the Woleka clinic uses to teach the importance of male partner participation in antenatal care and HIV testing.