Well, it’s been months, and in that time I’ve had a few Christmases, a New Years and a couple of Easters – with no chocolate for me, by the way!

We have had volunteers, sewerage running through the back of Shamida, water leaks, and power problems. All in all, a ‘typical’ few months in Ethiopia!

We have some great news; babies are at Shamida! Well, one baby, but it’s started, and this is what has been keeping me very busy, finalising all the paperwork.


So, as I sit at the Ghion hotel waiting to meet some people and sipping on my cuppa (albeit Ethiopian tea and not Tetley tea), I am overwhelmed with the thought that we have done it. It seems surreal, exciting, and scary, all at once.

The next step is having the container shipped from Dubai to Ethiopia – four days travelling time and 25 days in Ethiopian customs. But I think if we’ve waited 17 months for the first baby to arrive, we can wait another few months for the 60 cubic square-metre container.

I will keep the posts up-to-date. If anybody is thinking of coming to volunteer over the next few months, and is good at unpacking, sorting and putting Ikea cots together, please contact me.

Back to my cuppa!

Timket, Tree and Triumph

Melkam Timket!

One of the most revered holidays for the Orthodox Christians is in full swing, what a colorful parade and it’s only just begun. Today the Orthodox Christians have paraded through towns, villages and the city to take the Tabot containing the Ten Comandments to an open area to gather. Even in the sleepy town of Legetafo (where I live) they paraded behind my home and Shamida. Although, I cannot lie, I was out walking with Ruby when they paraded down and my friend Xanthe took the photo you see below.

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The tree, most of you will find this trivial however, here it is…a cow wandered onto my front lawn and squished a tree. Now, I have 7 growing along the front of my house, bottlebrush trees to remind me of Australia and this week I finally go around to replacing it.

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And finally the triumph, I have some amazingly exciting news and while I know you are all on the edge of your seats reading fast to see what the news is, you will just have to wait! I will let you all know when the triumph is full blown success.

Time for another cuppa tea, windows open, cold night breezing coming in but I get to listen to the celebrations on the street and its another reminder that I am lucky to live in one of the most culture rich countries in the world. It makes the power and water issue disappear.

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Knitting, knives and knowing 

Ruby and I came home from a Christmas party for the kids at the British embassy and a successful party it was…Ruby was not crying when Santa came near her. He gave her a pressie and she was pretty cool, yes…a little nervous but no tears! It’s the small steps that are sometimes the greatest.

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Anyway, I’m sidetracking from the knitting! So, we came home and saw the lights on downstairs at Shamida, this is not unusual as the aunties often sit in there and do their crafts into the night. I stopped to tell them what time we would be leaving in the morning and saw Regassa inside too, it was a cold night and didn’t think anything of it. Then I took a second and third glance and yelled for Regassa, as he came running out I started laughing and so did he as he was running out with knitting in hand. The aunties have been teaching him to knit! So when you come to Shamida to look at the goodies we have for sale, some may have been knitted by Regassa. Gomez Regassa Gobez. This guy will try ANYTHING and that’s what I love about him.


So I came home, bathed and fed Ruby and she went to bed. Now I love tomatoes and there is no better meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) than fresh tomato on toast with some salt and pepper. My mouth is watering as I type this! And my mum has found the worlds best tomato knife, the most amazing, it glides through the tomato and makes those meals more delicious. So, I had this amazing dinner after the hectic Christmas bash.

And as I sat eating the tomato on toast (and yes, with my cuppa tea), I realised this meal is made even tastier knowing that you are in the right place doing the right thing. Sometimes knowing is scary and sometimes knowing is a relief and the strangest feeling of all is when knowing is these two feelings at the same time. 

So the next time you eat a fresh tomato (which you will never know the real taste of until you visit me), think of me, think of what your doing and how great it is to know what your doing right now is right for you! 

Off to get another piece of toast in and another cuppa brewed!

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!


Life is short…


I was walking around the area on Saturday with Ruby, having one of our afternoon strolls (or actually “it’s not raining stroll”) and came across many many many cars at a place just up the road…everyone was going in and out of this house where a young family lived and had their two small children. Being who I am I started chatting to some of the “guests” going in an out and found out that the mother had passed away and left two small children and a devastated husband.

A very good friend of mine died earlier this year and she is constantly in my heart especially when I cook  (she loved cooking) or when I just am free and enjoy life. My friend lived life to the full and she also left behind two children and a husband.

Then last month, my uncle died, he was not well and it was not unexpected however still so sad and he too leaves a hole in the heart of the whole family.

What this year has taught me is that life is short…dance in the rain, sing in the shower, take risks and most importantly LIVE YOUR DREAM.

So when I turned the corner to go home, I saw this lone yellow flower…the end of the rainy season is near and this little bright flower tells me this and simply makes me smile!




A post about nothing…

I feel like there is nothing much to blog about as the paper work war continues, I get to fight it from home, sitting on my bed as my daughter runs in and out with different toys.




And while the paper work war continues I am also answering a never ending amount of emails of friends, family, people I’ve never met (who are definitely friends) and strangers offering me support and encouragement and just being there! So to all of you, I say thanks. Thanks for being there, through the rough times and the good times, “thick and thin”.

I am reminded of a saying, not sure who to quote for it…”My true friends are there, not just to cheer me up BUT to cheer me on”. So for those that are always cheering my up by cheering me on, remember this is all of our dream, not just mine!





It’s never too late to live happily ever after…

So, it has been a few weeks (okay more like a month) and here I am again, back at the dinning room table, culpa tea to my left, Shamida out the window to my right and at my back the local taxi rank (horse and carts).

I came back from Dubai yesterday, had some Dubai work to finalise. You forget about things when you are away from them like, hot and humid temps of over 40c, heat rash, how good cold feels when you walk inside after coming indoors and how cold it feels when you have been inside too long. You miss things too when you are away for a week or so like…the rain, the ability to be outdoors for more than 10 mins at a time, the solitude, the green, green, green grass and trees, the smiles of locals and the power outages (well, I don’t miss them too much).

But as I sit here with the power out, with Ruby snoozing on the couch and me, just enjoying another cuppa tea I realise it’s not too late to live happily ever after and I think at the age of 42, I’ve finally done that!

Anyway, back to unpacking and sorting the aid and luggage from Dubai and preparing for some more volunteers next week.