I’ve had a busy couple of days visiting health centres and health posts and showing some MW visitors around these community projects. It’s quite an odd feeling being the ‘resident’ here, but it’s fun to show people what I have been up to over the past few months and to introduce them to all the people that I work with. I took the visitors to a typical ‘restaurant’ in one of the villages and ordered them injera and shiro (a ground bean mixture that you eat with injera). I think they quite liked it, although I suspect they may have enjoyed the experience of having it more than the actual taste. I guess it wouldn’t be your first choice of order at a restaurant in London.
Injera being made in the restaurant
Injera and Shiro (the bread is added especially for the faranjis)
One of the key things that came up in discussions with the health centre staff was the difficulty of transport for patients. As I have said before, there is a bus that goes form the villages to Gimbie but this takes around 2 hours and you may have to wait a few hours for one to arrive. They are also not particularly reliable and have very thin tyres and so you it’s not the safest journey for a pregnant woman. Indeed, along the journey back, we saw a bus that had clearly taken a corner too fast and was now in a ditch. Who knows what happened to the passengers. The other problem with the bus is that the driver is reluctant to take anyone who is ill and certainly anxious about taking pregnant women in labour and so they may to pay a considerable amount of money to get a lift. A normal bus fare is 40 Birr (£1.60) but if you are in any way ill or in labour, you can get charged 1000 Birr (£40.00) Given that most people in the rural areas earn around 600-700 Birr a month, the bus fare is unaffordable. I’m not sure what can be done to improve the situation, but think that it should be a priority area for organisations like MW.