All together and ready to roll – Ethiopia spring 2018

Our team has safely arrived at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia! Team members hail from eight different states, but today, after nearly 25 hours of travel time and an overnight in the capital city of Addis Ababa, we are all together in Bahir Dar. Many team members are veteran CSI volunteers; eight volunteers are new to CSI. What a treat it is to welcome enthusiastic new volunteers.

Joined by our incredible partners at Taitu Tours, Bahir Dar University and Felege Hiwot hospital, it’s going to be an exciting week. This is the third CSI trip to Ethiopia, building on previous relationships with local professionals. Our team members will be working side-by-side with local surgeons and nurses, and our CSI nurse educator will be leading classes all week for local students and possibly families.

A few team members met with local hospital administrators and clinical supervisors today to discuss the details of the week, making certain that they can accommodate the patients we will be seeing and the care they will be receiving. We understand that our work may challenge their resources, as they are already extremely busy meeting the needs of their own patients. We are honored to be the guests of Bahir Dar University Hospital – Felege Hiwot. This teaching hospital is associated with the university and serves 5-7 million people in the Amhara region.

About 80 children have been identified by local surgeons as potential candidates for surgery. Tomorrow is screening day, when we will evaluate these children and determine which are ready for surgery this week. We are excited to be doing both ENT and urological surgeries. We also plan to deliver much-needed tools and equipment to our surgical and medical partners items essential to performing these surgeries that are readily accessible in the U.S. but not in Ethiopia.

Sunday is a rest day and a chance to explore the beautiful city of Bahir Dar and some of its rich history, including the open-air markets, Lake Tana and more. This is an arid environment, located on Lake Tana at the headwaters of the Blue Nile River. The weather is lovely, sunny and about 85 degrees.

This week in Bahir Dar is all about transforming children’s lives and empowering local medical professionals through education and training. Life-changing surgeries will allow children to flourish in their communities, without the stigma that often accompanies birth abnormalities. Working closely with medical and surgical professionals will allow the work that has begun here to continue even after our team leaves.