I don't have a lot of expertise in the medical area, but was able to assist Gwen by taking notes. I also tried to be an empathetic presence for the patients, but I'm not really sure how effective that was since I don't speak their language. (however, we all smile in the same language! Corny but true)
Probably my favorite experience of the whole trip was the river baptism. Dr. Haile (pronounced highly) is a vet by profession, but in the last couple of years has spent most of his time as an evangelist. His family lives in Addis Ababa, but he lives in Tulegit and travels to nearby villages and witnesses to native people.
Our last Saturday in the bush, we traveled to nearby Maja and witnessed the baptism of 62 individuals whom Dr. Haile has worked with. It was SO COOL. We left Tulegit, in the Nissan Patrol (which seats 4 comfortably, 9 uncomfortably on bucket seats) which had probably at least 12 people in it. There was also a trailer attached which had about 25 people on it. The baptism is a big deal, everyone wants to come and join the party!
Once we arrived all of the natives were singing, dancing, drumming on water jugs, and waving huge feather-like plants. It really was a party! We all walked down to the river where the festive singing and dancing continued while John and his assistant baptized the 62 newborn Christians by dunking them each in the river.
The next day we went to church in Tulegit. My favorite part of the service was listening to the children's choir. Some of them can really sing! I also got to hold Kite's baby which was fun. He didn't even pee on me!
|Aaron gave the message and Matthios translated for him.|
Another highlight from the trip was our last day in Tulegit- cattle day! Since my dad operates a feedlot (for those of you who don't know) we happen to have A LOT of cattle vaccines. Usually at the feedlot vaccinating cattle is a fairly straightforward process since you can line them up in a confined area and load them into the squeeze chute one at a time, and it only takes a few seconds before you're ready for the next one. Not the case in Tulegit. It would take three or four guys to hold onto a critter while Dad, Aaron or Dr. Haile would quickly but carefully approach to give the injection.
It was so chaotic. haha. I thought it was funny and entertaining for about 30 minutes and then started to get a little stressed that someone was going to get hurt so I had to leave. You're probably wondering why we even bothered. Well, it's difficult to explain except to say that cattle are a BIG deal to the Suri. It's a sign of wealth and power and the boys there take such pride in their herds. Oftentimes cattle constitute a bride price as well. And of course, cattle can provide people with things like food and hides. But Suri people just really like the animal itself, from my understanding.
|And this is when I decided to leave. Although I do laugh a little at this picture.|
The next day, still on the way back to Addis, some friendly baboons approached our vehicle on the road. John threw some bread out to them, but one clever baboon noticed that John still had some bread in his hand, so he jumped in the window and was probably 2/3 in the car until John was able to shove him out. It was hilarious. Unfortunately, it all happened too quickly to get a picture.
|People were selling roasted corn along the road! It was kind of dry and charred, but it was fun to try!|
One more post to come about Ethiopia and how it related to my Chicago experience! Thanks for reading!