Saturday, 31 December 2011

28th December 2011

I was out at a health post near Homa today and had a very busy morning seeing 18 pregnant women. Most women were fine, although very few actually knew when the baby was due and so I spent a lot of time measuring the baby’s head circumference and giving them an idea of when they were due to deliver. I guess this is helpful for them in that they can perhaps plan the delivery a bit more. Mind you, I don’t think a great deal of planning goes on here; it’s all a matter of deal with it when it happens. After I scanned one woman who was 38 weeks pregnant, she produced 20 chicken eggs and asked if I wanted to buy them. Since our chickens are refusing to lay any eggs at the moment – or they are laying them and eating them – I took the eggs and paid her 25 Birr (£1).
Back at Gimbie, I visited the various babies and found there was an addition to the ‘cheese counter’; a small and rather battered 32 week breech baby that had just been born. There weren’t any nasogastric tubes on the ward and so we had to scavenge around in the Maternity worldwide store cupboard where there was a small stock of donated tubes. It was lovely to see that the nurse looking after the baby had got her warm, wrapped in a sheet and was also happy to insert the NG tube AND knew that she should give 10% dextrose. Considering what was happening 3 months ago when we first came here, this is enormous progress. I don’t know if their experience with Jaba – ie the fact that they can see that these small babies survive if looked after properly – has helped to improve things but I like to think so.

We were just settling down for a quiet evening with a nice plate of bean stew when Roza called (the family planning nurse) on her way back from church. So we shared the bean stew, which was pretty easy actually as there’s always much more than anyone could ever want to eat. To be fair, it was quite a nice bean stew…..or maybe I’m getting used to it. The Roza asked if she could have some help writing an email to Heidi. No problem, I said. It soon became apparent that this was a much larger task than I had thought. First I had to set her up with a Gmail account and then I had to spell out all of the 16 words that she wanted to write. ‘It is not so easy?’ She pointed out after we had spent over an hour composing the very short email to Heidi. So Heidi, I hope you appreciate her efforts!

The final task for the day was to roast the coffee beans that we had painstakingly been preparing over the past 5 or 6 days. Having peeled the fleshy outer covering, they were dried in the sun for a few days. Then the next harder covering was removed (whilst watching an episode of the mentalist – it’s a very dull task), then the beans were washed and roasted ready for consumption tomorrow.


  1. Its amazing - how much more you must appreciate your cup of coffee! Like so many of the things that we take for granted.

  2. A very happy new year to you both, we think of you when we enjoy the simple things of life such as a full English breakfast! Hope the photos come back a they really show how it is