Kari and Asle's Ethiopia Diary
Kari and Asle are very excited about being in Soddo now and are very thankful that so many are interested in following their work and daily experiences. As the electricity is not stable and they actually only have electricity a few days a week, Kari has decided that the best way to keep in touch is for her to write in the form of a travel journal. She will update the journal as often as possible but they will be short updates that we will post when we receive them from her.
We who are working with them on this project are truly excited and welcome any readers with questions or comments to go to the section Contact Us and you will see how to email us. Enjoy this fantastic trip we are starting on!
|Jump directly to:||Newsletter 28th September, 2012
Newsletter 9th December, 2012
Newsletter 5th March, 2013
Older Newsletters have now been moved to the Archive!
Kari, September 2012, Awasa, Ethiopia
I have had a very long and good summer vacation. I spent the time both in the United States and Norway, it was fantastic. Asle also got to spend 3 weeks in Norway and we were able to among other things participate in the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, General Assembly Convention. We have now been back in Ethiopia a couple of months and the time has gone so incredibly fast. It has been so busy as we have started this new chapter in our stay in Ethiopia. We, Asle and I, have a 150% position with the NLM. I have a 70% position teaching the Norwegian missionary children. Asle has an 80% position as the project leader for the RMM-Project (Reducing Maternity Mortality) in eastern Ethiopia.
Having worked now for a month's time in the school, I have to admit I have developed a deep respect for the teaching profession. I will go into more detail about this in a future update.
This time I want very much to give some attention to all of you who have been there for us, helping us financially now so that we could do the much needed work on the house we moved into 3 days ago. It has been a long process and it was wonderful this morning being able to shower in our own bathroom, not the rusty public shower. And having our own bathroom and not have to go out to the "utedo", outside bathroom. We have a wonderfully refurbished house and we are so thankful for all of you who helped to make it possible.
The repairs and all the work took so much longer than we had anticipated. I must admit it was a good test of patience! However now that we are in the house and all is very nice we can let go of the past 3 months of frustrations and be truly grateful for the nice results.
The old shower (on top) and the old kitchen
We started in early February with emptying the house that had basically been there for 50 years with almost no upkeep. At first it almost took my motivation away seeing the condition of the house. Now I am very glad that I did not give up, and worked hard. All of the ceilings inside had to be removed as there had been bats living there for years. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, full of dirt was taken out. Next the kitchen and bathroom had to be torn out. The old pipes had been clogged and grown over with roots. Drainage was so slow that the floors had to be torn up. It became a much bigger job than we had first anticipated.
Another part of the old kitchen
The old bathroom
This evening, Maria and I are sitting here looking out the window on the beautiful lake. We hear the hippos calling us and watch the amazing birds that live here in the area. There are also some playful but often annoying monkeys. Yesterday one came in the kitchen window and stole some bananas that were out on the counter.
The exterior of the house after the renovation
We sit here with deep gratefulness to God and to all of you who have helped to make this possible for us.
Thank you again for your wonderful support and prayers. Kari
Below are some more pictures of the interior of the house after the renovation:
The new kitchen
The new kitchen
The new bathroom with a new sink and shower
Another picture of the new shower
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Asle, December 9th 2012, Awasa, Ethiopia
One cesarean section; 24 hours' drive east.
From the mountain plateau of the Bale region, the lowlands to the east seem endless. During my early morning runs in Ginnir I've seen the lowlands stretched out below me and wondered what exists beyond the horizon. According to maps, the flatness extends eastwards until the African continent ends in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes what lies east of the Bale plateau. Together with my friend Thorleif, a Norwegian surgeon, I ventured into the unknown hoping to make it to a small, remote town in the Ethiopian Somali-region called Haregelle.
We had planned this trip for a while, looking for good maps and asking people about the road conditions. Were there rivers to be crossed? How long should we expect to travel? Answers to our questions were limited, so we were forced to leave without much knowledge of what to expect.
The goal of the trip was to reach the small hospital in Haregelle. The facility is trying to provide emergency services for women in labor, which is something it has not previously been equipped or staffed to do. We wanted to support our health-worker friends in this effort. We also hoped to assess how we in the future might link the obstetric services in Haregelle to the maternal health project we run in remote areas of Bale.
The first leg of the trip was getting to Ginnir at the edge of the mountain plateau in Bale. Early the next morning we descended into Raytu in the lowlands and continued into the uncharted wilderness beyond. Our hope was to make it to Haregelle while still daylight.
Below I have tried to capture some of the experiences, both expected and unexpected, we had on the trip.
From the highlands of Bale
Coming down to the lowlands that stretches all the way to the Indian Ocean
Houses along the way
The main street in Haragelle
We got to help out with the first cesarian section ever in Haragelle
We got stuck in the mud on our way back home
Here's Thorleif - one and a half hour later...
This traveller did not get stuck in the mud!
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Kari, March 5th 2013, Awasa, Ethiopia
Hello again. It has been quite a while since my last update. As a teacher for the Norwegian students in Awasa I am now rather tied down and that means more days which are routine and also seems like there is less to write about. Sorry that there has been so little information coming from us.
"NLM-retreat" is the new name for the compound
Last week however, we had the annual NLM conference here in Ethiopia and that gave much needed inspiration for writing to you all. We were all in all 50 missionaries gathered together, adults and children, and we had to live in all the available spaces. The houses were full so some guests had to sleep in tents. Staying in tents can be great though. It is quite social and many preferred to camp.
Some preferred to live in tents.
We managed to clean and fix up the swimming pool on the vacation grounds. It is now freshly painted and was very pretty when it was filled with a combination of faucet water and well water. Too bad it doesn't last long. We have neither a «creeper» nor pump to circulate the water but it sure is fun while it lasts!
Trying out the new swimming pool
Guests came from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Kenya, so there were many new acquaintances who came to our terrace for a cup of coffee and a friendly visit. Much to talk about. It was very stimulating for this lady who so greatly enjoys meeting people. Each one was open, friendly and talkative. The new strategy for our work goals here was approved for the next five years and it was great to see the enthusiasm the missionaries had for working here. The goal is to reach as many as possible with the Good News who has never heard it.
We had many stimulating bible studies which were led by the Secretary General from Denmark. The theme of the conference was "By faith", and has to do with giving our work to Gods hands. We must live a Christian life which is seen by others and that is not always easy in this world.
There were children's programs from the morning until late in the afternoons. Two volunteers from our school took on most of the responsibility for this. They were tired but also very satisfied with the results. The children presented a program one evening of Noah's Ark. There had been many hours of preparation. They had made costumes, and background scenery, etc., the whole week. It was a magnificent presentation and even Asle had a small role in it as the dove that was sent out by Noah.
A culinary feast also. We had "catered", which is local food made by Ethiopians. It was tasty and varied. We consumed 25 cases of sodas and water. The participants got enough liquids during these hot days. The temperatures were about 30 degrees Celsius or about 86 degrees Fahrenheit....and NO air-condition.
I was a leader for the committee that helped the participants with whatever practical problems they had. It was busiest before the conference opened but we all were satisfied. The guests were
thankful for the work done and no one complained at all.
All the missionaries at the 2013 conference
Thank you so much to each of you who remember us in thoughts and prayers. It is so important for all of us but in particular for Asle who is traveling a lot and so busy with the new programs. He will be writing again when he has a chance. He also is so very thankful for you our friends who follow our work.
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