The first few weeks have been filled with activity. After some brief excitement over missing our flight from Addis to Gondar, we were met by a very patient and welcoming Adino. He got us to the guesthouse and made sure we were settled in for the night. Lorenzo and I spent the next few days learning our way around Gondar and getting updated on the political events that transpired the day of our arrival. It was a period of mourning for a lot of people in Gondar and I’m thankful that events have stayed so calm despite the violent nature of the initial offense.
Once internet came back online at the hospital, Lorenzo and I had meetings with Dr.Getahun and began digging into some of our activities. I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on general information about maternal and neonatal health here in Ethiopia in order to better situate myself and understand what the goals of the Ministry of Health are as they relate to the work that SCOPE is doing. I’ve also read through the IRBs for the FLAME and LAUNCH projects and all of the accompanying materials that are associated with those projects like the FGD guides, surveys, training manuals, SOPs, etc. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grasp on how I should continue on and how my work will fit in with the rest of the work of SCOPE. I’m also looking forward to meeting the University of Gondar fellow and learning a ton more from her/him.
More personally, I feel pretty settled in. I’m still adjusting to the stares, catcalls, and unwanted attention that comes from being a foreigner, but really am blown away by the kindness and helpfulness of the SCOPE staff here. Everyone has been going above and beyond to help us start our work and feel at home. We actually got to celebrate Desta’s (Adino’s wife) graduation last week and it was such a wonderful day of food and chatting and was a really sweet gesture to let us enjoy that special day with them and their family.
We’ve just finished up a lot of work on the guesthouse (thank you SCOPE!) and it is all clean and organized. In the end the workers plastered a bunch of cracks and some holes in the ceiling and then painted all the walls and ceiling. It’s nice and fresh. I’m currently on the hunt for some pretty fabric to make more decorative curtains.
We’ve also found some good lunch spots, close stores for staples like bananas, tomatoes, eggs, bread, onions etc., and bigger shops for items like honey or bleach or oatmeal.
Since it’s winter, the weather is cool and rainy (which I love) and Lorenzo and I have been running a few times a week in the morning before work. It’s especially fun to see Ethiopians running too and chuckling a bit as we pass. We just did more of a hike than a run the other morning with some help from Nati and saw a cool view and a really pretty church on top of a big hill near the University. I’m excited to keep exploring new places and eventually make it out of the city on the weekends.