Hamlin, Happiness and Hair

I was invited with my mum to a huge event, the gala dinner for the 40th anniversary of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital and celebrating 55 years of the work of Dr Catherine Hamlin at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. What an event and what a night, we were among dignitaries and singing stars and of course Catherine Hamlin. What a night! What a tribute to a couple (Catherine and Reg)! What an inspiration!


Then a few days later Catherine Hamlin drove out to see me and the aunties at Shamida, there was happiness all around. The aunties were so excited, there was coffee ceremonies, some good old fashion soup for lunch and some great cheese and crackers (all the way from Dubai). Catherine was delighted, Harriet (an amazing friend of mine from the Hamlin Fistula Hospital) was thrilled, and then we had Joni Kabana, an amazing photographer who took some amazing photos join us too…there was definitely happiness all around. Joni’s pictures to come soon 🙂

And of course, the hair, the hair that was not there a short year ago and has since been cut twice and dyed more times than I care to count (due to the encroaching greys) was again dyed for the big events…what a week, what a life I get to live, what amazing people I have around me to encourage, support and advise (which I am forever grateful)…most importantly, my friend, my inspiration and my fellow Aussie, Catherine, who understands the importance of drinking tea from a fine bone china, thin lipped tea cup, to you I am forever grateful and full of happiness that we met and get to have these moments together.


So as I sit here thinking of the last week with great happiness, hair dyed and Hamlin moments, the kettle is boiling and I am going to get some of that left over cheese and crackers and take 20 minutes to myself and be grateful.



Pampering, paperwork and problems

I’m literally sitting her typing whilst bathing in a luxurious pedicure. I am meant to be reviewing the final Volunteers Guide (thanks Tas and Karen) but thought a break from that and the 18 page policies and procedures draft (thanks Philippa, Elisha and Julie) was well due and a blog post was more important….

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I have a big event on Sunday night and I don’t want to spoil it but lets say the next post will have some great photos.

So here I sit, trying to think of the hardships to tell you about but the Bellvue Hotel makes it hard for me to think of those (apart from the boiling water that is in the foot spa…right now I only have first world problems).

You know what, I don’t miss it at all! I don’t miss the weekly pedicures, someone to clean, cook, wash and iron for me daily. I don’t miss the flashy cars, the big malls, the great roads to drive on (well, that one I miss a little). I do miss my friends and I miss my dog (who is back in Australia with my sister). And instead, I love my new life, the new language I get to learn, the new people I get to meet, the new and amazing experience I get to have daily!

Thanks to everyone who is supporting in all the very different ways, it is all appreciated, the emails, the financial support, the Facebook messages and text messages….keep them coming, it helps me to remember why I am here.

And watch this space, some exciting news on the way and some special events we get to go to all the way over here in Addis Ababa!

Now it’s back to reading documents and being pampered…unfortunately no tea has been offered yet and I even have my own Tetley tea bag on hand ready and waiting!

PS. I got some tea by the time I posted this so the world may continue spinning on its axis as all is right wight he world again!


Training Aunties and Potty Training

We have had some phenomenal women come and join us at Shamida. These women are ex-patients from the Hamlin Fistula Hospital here in Addis Ababa and have stories that will shake you to the core!

One married at 12, one had 5 days of labour, one had all the possessions taken, one has seen too much death and ALL have lost babies, ALL have survived indescribable labour and ALL are still smiling. It puts me to shame, I have nothing to complain about and I MUST remember to be grateful EVERYDAY.



And then there is the potty training…sigh. But I am grateful I have a healthy and happy 2 year old I can potty train and clean up her “whoopsies”.  I have had some great advice on this part of parenting…most important, dresses work better than leggins!!


And P.S. those are baby dolls that the Shamida Aunties are training with 🙂



Scabies, scammers and success!!

I have had a little vacation from Ethiopia and blogs so now I am back into the swing of it thought it was definitely about time to write. Thanks to all who have emailed me and told me that they enjoy the posts…I sometimes feel like I am just writing to myself and in saying that, it is very therapeutic to write.

So back from my holiday abroad and within a few days I develop scabies…itching, scratchy, want to ripe my skin off, scabies and I have discovered the wonders of tea tree oil. I always knew it was good but man, it kicks scabies butt!!! I am defiantly not posting a photo of scabies but google it for fun…

Things have progressed in my absence which is great (thanks to Gaile Jenkins), one step closer to finalising the project agreement. I’m excited about so many things and sometimes too excited that I am taken advantage of by scammers. I am not going to go into detail except to say that I am wiser and smarter (yes, even smarter) to life.

And then there is the success…stay tuned for some really exciting news. Some amazing people are coming soon to work with me and remind me that I have so much to be grateful for, so many to love and be loved by and most importantly these people have taught me how to smile at everything, good and bad.

A friend posted this quote on Facebook:


And then I re-read it today (as I had saved it) and I thought why? Why is it just children that need these things the most? So when I read and re-read this saying I change out the first line to read “What we ALL need most…it’s just that children know how to do this stuff the best…”

I am sitting here with my cuppa tea (again!) wondering how to end this post and all I can say is that today I am going to need to play most!