My new normal is not that normal!

So it’s paper work day…a long day coming. The plan is always there but these days something seems to crop up like, babies to doctors, babies to hospital, out to Desta Menda (the rehabilitation arm of the Fistula Hospital) to hire new nannies, broken windows to fix, Christian Christmas, Western New Year, Ethiopian Christmas, visitors from overseas or basically anything that means I can get out of doing the dreaded paperwork. But here it finally is, and while I am still looking for excuses all I can think to do it write another blog post. Last week, the day before Gena (Ethiopian Christmas) is always fin, there is a feeling of excitement in the air and the dreaded trip to the markets for me to buy some chickens for various people including the guards here in the compound Shamida is located. I was reminded of how comical my life can be when I was visiting another orphanage (Care for Children) and took some ingredients to make the local doro wat for Gena. It’s never a straightforward thing when beginning a conversation. I just wanted to hand over some chickens, but first we had to say hello:

Me: Salam new Jerry? (Hi Jerry)

Jerry: Selam new, danaesh? (Hi, how are you?)

Me: Egsabir Meskin? (Thanks be to God)

And so on and so on as the greeting goes, then the next part that was overheard by a western lady visiting:

Me: Jerry I brought you dead chickens as I didn’t want to buy live ones and have it to be a huge pain to kill and clean for your cooks.

Jerry: They will appreciate that Karen.


So, in the background I hear this lady laughing, and then I realized how crazy this everyday chatter is and yet how normal it seems to me now.

My new normal is dead and live chickens, helping nurses look for veins in babies and children (I’ve learnt that nice and straight are easiest), checking the oxygen levels of babies and praying it is over 90, painting cubby houses, visiting embassies to apply for grants, Amharic lessons and driving in loads of traffic and through crazy streets watching for donkeys, horses, cows, people or trucks coming towards me AND always making time for a few coffee stops along the way. Plus the copious cups of tea when I am home at night.


My new normal is my new way of life. Shamida is my way of life.

I look at things to buy and always compare that to how many cans of formula or visits to doctors or prescriptions of Augmentin that could buy for a sickly child. My new normal is how can I help that young boy out the front of that coffee shop who is washing cars and not in school.

My new normal is not that normal and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

Now, back to sorting some receipts for the auditor…and another cuppa tea!



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